Gang prevention theatre tours Leicester schools

Tuesday, 11th November, 2008
A new play exploring issues surrounding gangs tours Leicester schools over two weeks from today. Bare Drama has been commissioned by The Y to teach young people about the dangers and consequences of involvement in gang membership and associated crimes.

The play centres on Sparks, Diesel and Asher, three friends hanging out on an inner-city estate, and the decisions they face. The characters are used to raise awareness of the experiences, situations and actions which could contribute to gang membership or crimes. The actors will also deliver educational workshops to the Year 7 pupils in priority areas of Leicester.

Amy Wale, Education Officer at The Y, said: "Drama can be a very good tool to explore complex issues with young people. The workshops encourage young people to question the actions of the characters; thereby developing their own solutions for the problems the characters face."

Whilst Leicester does not have an ingrained gang crime problem, a need for preventative education has been identified. The programme has been developed through local research involving meetings with key partners in the youth justice sector, as well as creative research with young people. The arts in education programme aims to help young people understand and discuss risk factors, while equipping them with strategies, support networks and resources if they personally experience them in the future.

"Concerns about gangs are high on everyone's agenda. We are lucky in Leicester because there isn't the problem here that other cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham have. It is in everyone's interest to keep it this way and the reaction we have had from teachers demonstrates the positive impact this programme will have on Leicester's young people." Tom Wildish, Manager of The Y.

The Y contracted Women & Theatre to produce the Bare Drama theatre in education programme. The play was written and directed by Michael Aduwali.

Funding for the commission has come from Safer Leicester Partnership and Arts Council England. Leicestershire Constabulary, Leicester City Council's Children & Young People's Services and Youth Offending Service contributed to the research and development of the project.

"I am really encouraged by the work being done by The Y in partnership with schools. Preventative work to help young people make the right choices in life is vital to community safety and tackling the issue of gangs and the misery it can cause is both sensitive and a step in the right direction." Superintendent Steve Boulton, Leicestershire Constabulary.

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