Surviving bullying through art

(Book Sadprasis\The Aquinian)
(Book Sadprasis\The Aquinian)

Esther Soucoup sits perched on the edge of his seat in a turquoise sweater, a black skirt and thigh-high stockings. His skin is like a doll’s – fair but in perfect contrast with his wavy, deep-red hair. In any and all manner, Esther is the epitome of art.

“Theatre is the path that I can take and it is the thing that I can do.”

Soucoup is a talented poet, director of STEEDS (St. Thomas University’s Early English Drama Society), and an actor majoring in English with a concentration in Drama at STU. He has the mind of a poet, the intonation of a seasoned actor and the hand gestures of a director – he’s going places. Born in Adelaide, Australia, Soucoup moved to Canada at age 12.

He has always been enthusiastic about art and participated in theatre from a young age but has had his share or troubles. Upon being verbally bullied for being a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Esther was inspired to express his feelings through poetry.

“I wrote about being in high school, I wrote about being trapped and I wrote about being in love,” he said. He ended up presenting his poem for the talent show at his high school, and the bullying slowly withered away. After the show, other LGBTQ victims of bullying thanked him for standing up.

“It was a healthy way for me to let go of my rage… I took this really terrible thing that was happening to me and turned it into something that was productive.”

Later, he won the provincial championship for slam poetry.

As far as presenting the poem in front of people, he wasn’t scared, in fact, he’s never afraid to get on stage.

“You have to do the things that scare the living hell out of you and [if it scares you] that’s how you know you’re doing the right thing.”

After his voice teacher told him to pursue theatre at STU, he left St. Stephen, New Brunswick and settled in Fredericton.

“I’ve always had a want to be somewhere else. I guess I’ve got itchy feet…going to STU is like another adventure.”

He has a keen taste in poetry; among his favourites are To This Day by Shane Koyczan, and E.E. Cummings’ Somewhere I have never traveled, glad beyond.

These voices often influence and inspire his own works.

After graduating, Soucoup plans to move again, perhaps to Montreal, Europe, or back to Australia to reconnect with distant family members; although, he does love Fredericton and it’s welcoming environment— despite the chilly weather.

“I love it. It’s small and it’s rainy all the time, but that’s kind of nice, I guess. It’s a good first step.”

Soucoup feels that, although there is great potential for the arts in Fredericton, more money must be invested for Fredericton to succeed in the art industries.

“There are some really incredibly talented artists in Fredericton trying to make it, and they can’t. There’s a great potential for artists in New Brunswick, but they need money to live,” he said.

He remains hopeful, however, that the government will follow through on its promise to invest in the arts.

As the seasons progress and turn into years, Soucoup will continue to create and inspire.

“I think that’s the most powerful thing art can do—take a position where you’re most vulnerable and inspire you to do something that doesn’t make you feel vulnerable anymore—something that empowers you.”

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