‘Winter Bear,’ Coming to Nome, Channels Elder’s Mentorship Into Suicide Prevention

The Winter Bear, a suicide prevention play, is coming to Nome next week. Playwright Anne Hanley spoke with KNOM about the theatrical production, which, she says, despite its dark subject, is overall an uplifting story about culture and wellness.

The play is a work of fiction, but it was inspired by real conversations between Hanley and Sidney Huntington, an elder who spent much of his long life mentoring young people and advocating for education. In Galena, where Huntington spent the last years of his life, the local school was named after him to honor his contributions.

Besides bringing the performance of Winter Bear on April 15, Hanley and her cast will bring workshops to Nome Elementary and Nome-Beltz High schools centered around promoting kids’ creativity.

Playwright Anne Hanley with Sidney Huntington on tour in Nulato in 2014. Photo: David Moode, used with permission.

Music in this piece is “Enaa Baase” recorded by George Holley for The Winter Bear’s curtain call.

Image at top: A performance of “The Winter Bear” in Nenana, on April 7, 2016. Photo: Richard Murphy, used with permission.