A class of keen Grade 6 students (who also happened to be taking part in City Hall School) listen intently as Mayor Don Iveson answers their questions.

Students help Edmonton’s mayor reach into classrooms across the city

January 28, 2020 | Arts & Culture, Society
“Today, we’re going to read about Mustafa,” says Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, in the first Mayor Reads video of 2020.

This is the seventh year that the mayor’s office has produced a series of videos featuring the mayor reading books about seasonal events or timely topics, but the first time they’ve been produced by students in MacEwan University’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications.

Four videos filmed in Allard Hall’s Theatre Lab will be shared in 2020, the first of which was released earlier this month featuring Mustafa by Marie-Louise Gay.

“The mayor receives hundreds of requests every year to come read in classrooms – more than he has the capacity to be able to do,” says Linda Hut, who teaches in the City Hall School program. “This is a great way for him to connect with Edmonton’s youngest citizens and share his love of books and his support for literacy on a wider scale.”

It’s also a great opportunity for MacEwan’s theatre and communication studies students, including Sydney Upright, to practice skills including reviewing scripts, preparing sets, filming and editing.

“We’re students and we’re still learning, but we take these projects very seriously and approach them as if we’re professionals,” says the fourth-year journalism major who was one of the camera operators on the project. “It was nice to feel that everybody with Mayor Reads was trusting us.”

Nathalie Batres with the mayor’s office says the experience was a positive one for them too. “It has been great working with this team of MacEwan faculty and students – to see their creative ideas for how to work within the space and the script, and to have such great, engaging production only amplifies the messages these videos share.”

The three additional Mayor Reads videos produced by MacEwan students will be released over the next few months.

Mayor Reads: Mustafa by Marie-Louise Gay

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