FCJ College Benalla’s year 8 and 9 students were treated to an interactive play and workshop on Wednesday, which highlighted the dangers of underage drinking.
The Smashed Project is an initiative run by the Gibber Theatre Company, which is being presented to kids across Australia.
Studies show children are drinking alcohol far less frequently than previous generations, and those who start are doing it when they are older.
Gibber actor Dom Nimo said while these figures were encouraging, it was important for initiatives such as the Smashed Project to take advantage of this momentum to help those who still had the potential to start drinking at a young age.
‘‘The Smashed Project is an innovative and powerful thea- tre and education program,’’ Mr Nimo said.
‘‘It’s dedicated to breaking the culture of underage drinking.
‘‘We go into schools, it’s a one-hour project divided into two parts.
‘‘For the first 30 minutes we do a play, which is pretty hardhitting and powerful.
‘‘It follows the story of three teenagers who binge drink down at the local park.
‘‘At first everything is fine and, without giving too much away, something quite horrific happens at the end, which then sparks a conversation for the students to have afterwards.’’
It is this interaction that makes the Smashed Project a bit different from other inschool theatre programs.
Following the play the actors start by asking the students who they thought was respon- sible for the happened.
‘‘That bit of interaction gets the kids talking and interacting with us,’’ Dom said.
‘‘We then do a role-playing exercise with the students where they’re able to change what happens in the play.
‘‘They can make decisions and change the story prior to the horrific incident.’’
The program, which has been extremely successful, started in the UK in 2004 and his since grown to a world-wide audience.
This is the first year it has been trialled in Australia and Mr Nimo said it had been fun putting an Aussie spin on the play.
‘‘It’s great to see how it’s worked overseas, we take what is already there and do our Aussie take on it,’’ he said.
‘‘And the feedback we’ve had has been amazing. bad thing that
‘‘It’s all really positive and what we’re told is that the interaction makes the difference.
‘‘We encourage the kids to have very positive conversations, and we’re just there to guide them.’’
Throughout the Victorian tour, more than 5500 year 8 and 9 students from more than 26 schools have taken part.
Audience evaluations have demonstrated a positive effect among teens across a range of key learning objectives.
96 per cent were confident in knowing where to get help with alcohol-related issues — up a significant 38 per cent on preperformance numbers.
85 per cent said they were unlikely to drink alcohol underage.
97 per cent enjoyed the performance and workshop and 98 per cent thought it was a good way to learn about the dangers of underage drinking.
Making a difference: The Gibber theatre company present the Smashed Project to FCJ College Years 8 and 9 students.