New musical in Vancouver gives queer and trans youth a Christmas story

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A new Christmas musical running this month in Vancouver seeks to raise awareness about queer youth houselessness and give young LGBTQ+ people a more positive story to tell this holiday season.

“Holiday Out”, presented by Metropolitan Performing Arts in Vancouver, takes inspiration from a traditional form of British community theater called Panto, that uses humor to tackle tough social and political topics.

Playwright Pip Kennedy also stars in the show as a nearly 7-foot tall fairy named Mary Christmas. “There’s a lot of queers in musicals and there’s a lot of queers in theater, but you don’t ever see a show that’s unabashedly queer,” they said.

Director Rusty Tennant agrees. “Christmas can have a tendency to be very hetero-cis normative, but it also has a tendency to be very family-oriented. So getting an opportunity to create a new show, and focus more on the chosen family and also tell some important stories about queer youth, that was all that I needed to want to be involved.”

Kennedy also hopes the show is a beacon for queer youth, “I hope [young queer and trans people] understand that, because it’s coming from their elders, we’re here for them and we’re here to support them and we’re here to tell these stories.”

Sid Socha, a Vancouver teen who stars in “Holiday Out” as Thomas Thompson, a young trans boy experiencing houselessness, feels that the show rises to meet this hope. “Younger kids, like my age or younger, can see that there are people to look up to and that they’re seen and noticed,” they said, “the whole show is about being together and everybody being with each other.”

Metropolitan Performing Arts first formed in Vancouver in 2009 in response to a lack of performing arts education in the Vancouver School District. The company moved into its current location on Mill Plain Boulevard in 2019. With a focus on inclusion, the Metropolitan Performing Arts academy now offers a range of performing and technical theater arts classes. The community theater stages multiple productions a year.

“Holiday Out” is a family show that is “campy, heart warming, full of singing and dancing and a little bit of glitter,” said Kennedy. It opened Dec. 2 and runs through Dec. 17.

by Emily Hamilton (OPB)
Source – OPB