The Current

'Make the best of times': Meet the 10-year-old writing a musical about coronavirus

Kennedy Coates is in isolation with her family in Toronto, but the 10-year-old isn’t sitting around bored. She’s writing a musical about coronavirus, and with the help of her mom and brother, sharing short clips of it online.

Music videos made with family in isolation are brightening up friends’ days

With her school closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, 10-year-old Kennedy Coates decided to write a musical. 1:09
Listen4:01

Read Story Transcript

Kids across the country are stuck indoors with not much to do, but one 10-year-old is beating the boredom by writing a musical — all about COVID-19.

"It's about someone getting the coronavirus," explained Kennedy Coates, who lives in Toronto with her mom and 13-year-old brother.

Kennedy told The Current's Matt Galloway that she first heard about the pandemic on the news, and decided that a musical would be "a fun way to tell people" about the virus. 

She's already written four songs for the coronavirus musical — including one called Self-Isolation to the tune of Carly Simon's Anticipation.

Kennedy told The Current she's been writing stories and plays since she was eight years old, and gets ideas from the TV shows she watches.

"I like being creative .. it's just really fun," she said.

Kennedy says she has never had one of her plays performed — the idea makes her nervous — but when Galloway asked if her coronavirus play could one day end up on the stage, she giggled and said, "Maybe!"

To pass the time in isolation, her mom, Petergail Williams, helped her film some short clips under the watchful eye of her director and videographer brother Karsten. 

"We just took a little video and I put it up there, and everybody was so happy to see it — so we just kept putting some more up," said Williams. 

Kennedy has been making up songs since she was little, Williams added, and her brother "is very artistic, so he takes it seriously."

She says sometimes she'll try to put Kennedy to bed, only to be told: "I've got to write some pages, I can't go to bed yet!"

The videos have brightened up her friends' days as they adjust to life in the pandemic, she said.

"Everybody's like, why have you not started a YouTube channel?" Williams laughed.

Kennedy Coates, 10, is making the most of staying indoors by penning a musical about COVID-19. (Submitted by Petergail Williams)

Stuck indoors? 'Stay happy,' says Kennedy

Several Canadian provinces are closing schools to try to slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has disrupted life across the globe.

During March Break this week, Kennedy was supposed to be going to camp with friends, but is instead staying indoors as her family joins social distancing efforts. 

"I was kind of happy, because I get to spend more time with family and my dog, but then like, 'Oh, I can't see my friends now,'" she told Galloway.

Instead, she's working on the coronavirus musical, and has another play in the works, called Psycho.

"It's about this kid who dropped out of [college], and his mom died at birth, and when he comes back home, his mom's a ghost and she's trying to protect him from like, evil," she explained.

Kennedy with her brother Karsten, 13. They're both at home off school right now and 'mostly getting along.' (Submitted by Petergail Williams)

She's also spending time with Karsten, and says they're "mostly getting along."

"We like to play on our Nintendo Switch together, and play games," she said, but added she misses being outside, and is looking forward to eventually "going back to school."

For other kids missing their friends during the outbreak, she has this advice.

"Make the best of times, spend time with your family, have a good time — and just stay happy."


Written by Padraig Moran. Produced by Willow Smith.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.