Theatre chal­lenge

DRAMA USED TO GET MES­SAGE ACROSS

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Front Page - Sarah Wa­ters

STU­DENTS at Bel­mont City Col­lege are us­ing theatre to ad­dress the dif­fi­cult so­cial chal­lenges fac­ing young peo­ple.

Since term 2, stu­dents in Year 10 have been work­ing with the The­atri­cal Re­sponse Group (TRG) to look at what hap­pens at par­ties and how young peo­ple can stay safe.

The TRG en­cour­ages young peo­ple to de­velop strate­gies to deal with so­cial is­sues and health pres­sures that af­fect their day-to-day lives by en­gag­ing them in theatre and role-play.

The Year 10 spe­cial­ist drama stu­dents pre­sented Play­ing with Fire at the school's per­form­ing arts cen­tre on Au­gust 12 as the fi­nale of an in­ten­sive 10week pro­gram with the TRG.

TRG arts and ed­u­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment man­ager Danielle An­taki said the play ad­dressed al­co­hol, drug use and peer pres­sure at par­ties.

“The play looked at how young peo­ple work through some of the chal­lenges they face in a so­cial set­ting,” she said.

“It gave kids the op­por­tu­nity to look at the con­se­quences of their de­ci­sions in a safe en­vi­ron­ment.”

Mrs An­taki said young peo­ple and par­ents of­ten didn’t openly dis­cuss is­sues such as ex­po­sure to drugs, al­co­hol, bul­ly­ing and vi­o­lence.

But en­gag­ing them in theatre had proven to be a highly suc­cess­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tion tool.

“It ad­dresses these is­sues in a fun, artis­tic and cre­ative way.

“Stu­dents learn so much through the cre­ative process and at the same time they’re learn­ing about team work and em­pa­thy by hear­ing each oth- ers’ sto­ries. “They can also see how each of their de­ci­sions are played out, which is re­ally pow­er­ful.”

Af­ter the play, au­di­ence mem­bers – in­clud­ing the stu­dents’ par­ents, peers and teach­ers – had the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios that were acted out and talked about how they could have changed the out­come.

The post-pro­duc­tion dis­cus­sion is known as the fo­rum theatre process.

Mrs An­taki said it helped ev­ery­one in the wider com­mu­nity to own up to is­sues young peo­ple were faced with and they of­fered their own in­sight into how to deal with them.

“The par­ents felt their chil­dren were much bet­ter able to deal with tricky sit­u­a­tions af­ter work­shop­ping the is­sues with the TRG team,” Mrs An­taki said.

Among the at­ten­dees was de­tec­tive in­spec­tor Sharon Leonhardt, who said the TRG ini­tia­tive should be on the cur­ricu­lum at all schools.

For more in­for­ma­tion on this and other TRG pro­grams, con­tact danielle@con­sta­ble­care.org.au.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son d442158

Year 10 drama stu­dents at Bel­mont City Col­lege.

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