DRAMA USED TO GET MESSAGE ACROSS
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 email@example.com.
Year 10 drama students at Belmont City College.