Body image play Under My Skin will be seen by 1,100 Central Alberta students during performances of its seventh annual production this month.
Grade 7 students with Red Deer Public, Red Deer Catholic Regional, Wolf Creek, and Chinook’s Edge school jurisdictions are participating in a body image program that includes a half-hour play, followed group discussion and activities.
Bruce Buruma, executive director of the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools, said play, performed mostly by Red Deer College theatre graduates, has been updated through the years to make it relevant to students.
“Body image is a component of mental health and wellness and increasingly that’s becoming an area of concern in so many different realms,” Buruma said on Monday.
“It’s absolutely an issue in schools.”
He said messaging from media and peers that students encounter today are among the challenges they face when it comes to their self-confidence and self-image.
“Body image is a huge issue not just for Grade 7s. It goes across all of the ages. But I think it becomes pretty profound as students are going through their own personal changes and developments, and their body becomes a bit of a focus.”
Under My Skin, put on by Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools and Red Deer Primary Care Network, wraps up performances at Red Deer Public’s Central Campus on Tuesday.
Buruma said the Primary Care Network has sponsored the play tackling body image for several years.
“They consider it part of their programming, and their investment in the community. Physicians see these are issues young people are facing.”
He said the play and discussions complement what is already taking place in health and physical education classes at school.
The play features young actors students can connect with, and the actors represent a variety of body types, he added.
“Kids can see themselves to a degree through those who are helping to share the message.”