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Douglas College play tackles social issues

Bullying - and the life-shattering consequences that result - is at the heart of the Canadian premiere of Blackout
The cast of Blackout includes (back row, from left) Christian Krushel, Colin Amor, Hilani Baybay, Kate Rytter and Lexie Butler, with (front row from left) Ashley Chodat, Gil Tongol and Nick James.

A story of bullying and the life-shattering consequences that result is onstage at Douglas College this month.

Students from the college’s theatre department have joined forces with the stagecraft and event technology department to present Blackout, the Canadian première of a play by Scottish playwright Davey Anderson.

The play is based on the true story of a 15-year-old named James and the socioeconomic factors that lead him to commit a crime.

Blackout unfolds in the form of memories, as James wakes up in a prison cell and struggles to recall how he got there. The story – which was told to Anderson by the young boy who inspired by play – shines a spotlight on such social issues as alcoholism, poverty, crime, racism, sexism and bullying.

“I think it will resonate with a lot of people,” said director Deborah Neville in a press release. “There was no one in our cast or crew who hadn’t been touched by bullying.”

Neville noted that theatre can help bring important social issues to life.

“We can all call to mind some local stories of bullying that have led to great tragedy, including Amanda Todd, who took her own life after being bullied,” she said. “We are joined by the Amanda Todd Legacy Society in our dedication of this play to Amanda, and others like her, who have suffered or are suffering under the pain of bullying. We hope our production will bring awareness and an opportunity for discussion on this important issue.”

The cast includes theatre students Colin Amor, Hilani Baybay, Lexie Butler, Ashley Chodat, Nick James, Christian Krushel, Kate Rytter and Gil Tongol.

Blackout runs Nov. 10 to 18 at the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre at the New Westminster campus, 700 Royal Ave.

Tickets are $20 general, or $10 for students and seniors, and can be purchase online at