The new project is even bigger and more ambitious. Firstly, Great Barr School and Streetly Academy have teamed up to co-produce the new project. Secondly, this time it’s a full length ‘theatre-in-education’ piece which will tour schools in the area and involve children in drama workshops which aim to help them explore and understand the terrible risks of carrying a knife.
The piece makes it VERY clear – you are NOT safer if you carry a knife. In fact, statistics appear to show that you are twice as likely to be injured if you are carrying a knife.
The other key message is that you have a choice. No one HAS to carry a knife! You can choose what you do. You can choose to stay safe and help others to stay safe. Your life and their lives will be better in the long term if you make a positive choice NOT to carry a knife.
On Wednesday 13 June 2012, the project was given a huge launch with a public performance at the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) in Edgbaston. The children spoke movingly of the impact their involvement in the project had had on them. Mrs Hunt, the Head of Performing Arts at Great Barr School who initiated the project back in 2011, said it was amazing how well the children from the different schools had worked together. None of them knew each other before; “now it’s impossible to tell which child is from which school they have bonded so well,” she said.
The tour will involve seven performances involving 400 children in total in schools across the city.
Mrs Hunt said, “Drama is a powerful tool for engaging and influencing young people. We hope that our project will make a difference and help more of our young people to know how to keep themselves safe without needing to hide behind weapons which will only hurt them in the long run.
“It has been amazing to see our children devising a project to teach other children. As the representative of the British Transport Police said, children are far more likely to take these messages seriously when it is their peers telling them.”
Jordan Westcarr, a Year 12 student at Great Barr School and last year’s Birmingham Poet Laureate, said of his involvement in the project, “it has made me realise how devastating knife crime and youth violence can be. It has also shown me how influential I can be in my own community.”
Another brilliant project from our Performing Arts Department. Look out for the reports on ‘Sister Act’, our next full length drama, music and dance production, in early July.