Play it Straight

Play it Straight (2005/2006)was  a collaborative pilot programme  beween the Partnership and Theatre ADAD  using theatre-in-education techniques to engage young people excluded from school and at risk of offending by working in pupil referral units.

Actors worked with pupils and staff using hard-hitting theatre-in-education methods to explore peer pressure and gangs, drugs and alcohol, relationships and domestic violence. New material was developed to look at victim awareness and the consequences of offending.   The aim was to engage pupils directly in exploring these issues and to work with the staff in the pupil referral units to help them to use the theatre-in-education methods and storylines to follow up the key themes across the curriculum.

With funding support from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, our programme extended across the whole of the Thames Valley area, reaching a total of 13 PRUs.    By the end of May 2006, each site had received four visits from Theatre ADAD during the academic year, presenting four different dramas and associated workshops on difficult issues. The programme culminated in the presentation of a brand new specially commissioned piece Face 2 Face which explored the issues of victim awareness and restorative justice and provided a platform for in depth discussion with the young people about the consequences of offending. The drama linked characters across from The Frontline, the third of the presentations, which dealt with peer pressure and gang influences.

Play it Straight built on a long-standing partnership between Thames Valley Partnership and Theatre ADAD – its aim was to target the work very specifically at young people most at risk, ie those excluded from mainstream education.   In particular is demonstrated the very real value of using arts in engaging hard to reach young people in Pupil Referral Units.

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