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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 16 July 2007

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Safety Play Hits the Road

THE curtain has gone upon a new play aimed at cutting the number of accidents involving teenage pedestrians.  The play, which is touring secondary schools in the city, is a collaboration by the Council’s Road Safety Team and the Valley Theatre.  It starts with the audience being asked to "Imagine a teenage boy and a teenage girl drunkenly making their way down a busy road to a friend’s party. They begin to play fight and push each other about and finally she pushes him into the road….."

The play, funded by a £13,000 grant for the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund was written and produced by a forum of young actors and writers all aged between 12 and 18 years old. It is based on information that the Road Safety Team provided about the increasing number of pedestrians, aged between 12 and 15 years old, involved in road collisions.

This is the 2nd time the Road Safety Team and the Valley Theatre have worked together. The previous multi-media production highlighted the dangerous trend of young girls getting into cars as passengers when the male driver have been drinking and taking drugs, as well as the dangers of drink and drug driving.

Cllr Mike Storey, Executive Member for Regeneration, said:- ”Using Theatre in Education allows the Road Safety Team to reach a large audience and an audience that can be tough to get through to.  The students can relate to the characters, maybe even seeing themselves behaving like the characters. Hopefully this will influence their behaviour on the roads for the better.”

Students also have the chance to ask the actors questions about the production and the road safety issues it raises and there are workshop packs that the teachers can complete with the students.

Children urged to ‘play’ nicely

TEENAGERS in Liverpool are taking to the stage to encourage other children to think about the potential consequences of anti-social behaviour.  The teenagers have written the drama themselves with assistance from Merseyside Police and council officers in Neighbourhood Services. It will be performed in front of almost 200 primary school pupils from across the area.

Councillor Colin Eldridge, executive member for community safety, said:- “When children are in a group together during the summer holidays, it is very easy for what can look like a relatively harmless act to spiral out of control.  This play uses drama to send out an extremely powerful message to young people about the potential consequences of anti-social behaviour.  The students can use acting to bring situations to life in a very realistic way, and other children are much more likely to take it seriously because the message is coming from their peers.”

The scenarios featured in the performance include a look at what can happen if you smoke and drink in a park, and how an anti-social behaviour order can affect a person’s freedom.  The project has been funded by partners of Citysafe - Liverpool’s Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership: Liverpool city council, Merseyside Police, Merseytravel and Lee Valley Housing.

Inspector Steve Melia from Merseyside Police said:- “The programme is about giving consistent messages on anti social behaviour and citizenship as well as informing young people about the different agencies operating in their area.  The 3 themes of the project were; Rights versus Responsibilities; Alcohol, Drugs and Anti Social Behaviour and ‘What if it was you’ - a look into victims of crime and the impact on their lives.  I would like to thank the school as well as all the children and partners involved in putting this excellent production together.”

The play is one of a series of Citizenship initiatives designed to raise children’s awareness of personal safety, and encourage them to understand how their behaviour can impact on those around them.  The performance has been timed to coincide with the school summer holidays, which begin later this month.

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