"The Winter Bear Project" opens in Fairbanks Thursday evening

Tomorrow and Friday evening at the Downtown Empress Theatre, the Fairbanks community will get the chance to see a very special production before it goes on tour to rural Alaskan villages.

The name of the play is "The Winter Bear Project" and its story centers on a young Native Alaskan who contemplates taking his own life in a dark time.

He is mentored by real life Koyukon Athabascan elder Sidney Huntington.

Although the story is fiction Huntington is a real person who has mentored many youth throughout his life and is now 98 years old.

The Newscenter spoke to the play's author Anne Hanley about the show's main character Sidney Huntington.

Hanley said, “I was asked to do his life and I decided that the best way to do it would be to talk about a fictional character a young man that he had mentored because Sidney himself had mentored many young people over the course of his life. We are so thrilled that we can do it here in Interior Alaska where this story originated, the home of Sidney Huntington, and where the whole idea for the play came from."

The cast members are from all around the state and say they are all looking forward to taking the show on the road to rural Alaskan communities.