Celestial Being play aims to teach Sask. children about autism

Vancouver-based production company Green Thumb is bringing the play to 12 different Saskatchewan elementary schools.

Two-man play will visit 12 different communities between Feb. 1 and Feb. 13

Celestial Being is touring Saskatchewan to teach students about autism and acceptance. (Submitted by Green Thumb Theatre)

Have you ever felt like you are from another planet?

Celeste certainly has.

She's the main character in a play called Celestial Being touring Saskatchewan elementary schools to teach students about autism. 

"It's about a young woman, character, Celeste who has Asperger's [syndrome] and she's having a hard time at school and she can't seem to make any friends in her class. So she decides she must be from outer space," explained Marianne Woods of Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils, who brought the play to the province. 

Celeste believes there are people like her in space, so she begins to build a rocket ship to return to her home. 

"And that's when she meets Martin, a new boy at school, who wants to help her build the rocket and the adventure takes a new turn," Woods said. 

The play stars Lauren Jackson and Jordan Jenkins and is produced by Vancouver-area production company Green Thumb Theatre. Woods said this particular company has a history of making issue-based theatre and in the past has done plays on bullying, eating disorders, and addictions. 

"Theatre is also a great way to present these issues because people just get it right off the bat. I think they realize, 'Oh well, we have to make connections with people who have disabilities.'"

Lauren Jackson is the actor who plays Celeste.

She said she loves the message that the play sends to young people. 

"With this particular project, I really appreciated how it celebrates how we're all different and how people of various challenges can also be seen through their exceptionalities," Jackson said. 

After the production, Jackson and her colleagues meet with the student audience to discuss the play and answer any questions they might have. 

She said she's impressed with the accepting and welcoming conversations.

"It's been absolutely beautiful to hear the reactions and the thoughts and ideas that come from the students that we're doing the show for," she said. 

Celestial Being was performed in Kamsack and Langenburg on Monday and will continue to travel to several communities across the province including Weyburn, Lumsden, Moose Jaw and Stanley Mission.

Click here for a full list of Saskatchewan schools showing the play.

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