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The words of Amanda Todd find new form in multimedia tribute 'Life Reflected'

Carol Todd holds a photograph of her late daughter Amanda Todd signed by U.S. singer Demi Lovato with the words "Stay Strong" in Port Coquitlam, B.C., in an October 5, 2013, file photo. Todd is one of four Canadian females being honoured in the National Arts Centre staging of "Life Reflected." Composers have created pieces inspired by Amanda Todd, CanLit legend Alice Munro, astronaut Roberta Bondar and late Mi'kmaq elder and poet Rita Joe.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
May 18, 2016 - 6:00 AM

TORONTO - Nearly four years after her death, the legacy of Amanda Todd continues to live on.

Her online testimony of bullying, which has had widespread ripple effects beyond the digital world, is now being interpreted for the stage in a musical tribute to the British Columbia teen.

"My Name is Amanda Todd," composed by Jocelyn Morlock, is part of a four-pronged multimedia presentation by the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. The production fuses symphonic works with visuals in paying homage to Todd and three other notable Canadian women.

Compositions inspired by the late teen and pioneering Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar will have their world premieres on Thursday as part of "Life Reflected." The pieces will be presented along with recently staged original works inspired by the late Mi'kmaq elder and poet Rita Joe and Nobel Prize-winning author Alice Munro.

Director Donna Feore said the show's creators consulted with Todd's mother, Carol, in conceptualizing the piece.

The 15-year-old Todd took her own life in October 2012 after being relentlessly bullied over nude photos a Dutch man is accused of posting online after blackmailing her. The Port Coquitlam, B.C., teen garnered international attention with a YouTube video which included a series of handwritten flash cards detailing her harassment.

While Todd's actual video is not featured in "Life Reflected," Feore said the creative team did draw on words she shared on platforms like Facebook and incorporated them in the presentation, which also reflects the teen's love of music and graphic design.

"The one thing that's really, really clear with Amanda is that she searched for a way to communicate and express herself and to be heard," said Feore.

"When she did that video which went viral, she found her voice of being able to say: 'This is what happened to me. This is what's happening. This is what I need.' She felt very powerful with that. And so we've used that same media to be able to communicate her thoughts and maybe carry on her message."

Despite the distinct lives lived by the four women featured in "Life Reflected," Feore said she sees a commonality in their experiences.

"I guess the thread that threads all of these particular women together — for me on this particular piece — is about the voice. And I think it's kind of interesting that it's a piece with music — and that we have an extraordinary symphony — that those instruments also share their voice."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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