Three original theater productions created and performed by Billings high school students will be presented at 7 p.m. on Jan. 24 at the NOVA Center for the Performing Arts.
The production, “Let’s Talk Billings,” is part of a suicide-prevention campaign that uses media and arts workshops to reach Billings teens.
A town hall discussion on youth suicide and depression facilitated by a licensed mental health counselor will be after the performance.
The performances are directed by West High drama teacher Myra Nurre, theater professional Patrick Wilson, also owner of “Sacrifice Cliff Theater Company,” and a partnership of international director and actress Jane Lind and Plains Indian sign language instructor Ron Garritson.
Let’s Talk Billings is sponsored by the Montana Idea Network for Biological Research Excellence (INBRE) and Global Health Equity Foundation (GHEF), a non-profit philanthropic organization based in Miles City.
The project is based on a similar effort in Eastern Montana, “Let’s Talk Miles City,” where a group of teenagers reached out to their peers using theater to address suicide and depression.
To create the play, teens chose materials relevant to suicide prevention and wrote their own works about suicide.
As a team, the teenagers and three different theater directors created unique pieces with an overall message that focuses on becoming more aware, speaking up, seeking help, or intervening to save your life and the lives of others.
Let’s Talk Billings is designed to get people in the community more comfortable talking about mental health issues and to provide help for those who are depressed and possibly suicidal.
A website with resources for Eastern Montanans, www.letstalkmilescity.com, already is online.
A similar site for Billings, www.letstalkbillings.com, will launch soon.
Admission to Let’s Talk Billings is free. Donations will be accepted at the door to help sustain the project.