Education about gang culture, bullying and knife crime is being brought to hundreds of school children in the Wellingborough area through the use of drama.
The productions, delivered by The Solomon Theatre Company, have been organised through the recently launched Good Citizen Programme.
About 750 students at three secondary schools in Wellingborough – Wrenn School, Weavers Academy and Sir Christopher Hatton Academy – have been visited by the company and have seen the drama ‘Skin Deep’.
Skin Deep, which deals with the messages of grooming, gangs, prejudice and violence, tells the story of a young woman who is groomed and exploited by an older man.
Good Citizen Programme organiser Shaun Johnson said: “I visited the schools to introduce the drama and explained a little bit to the students about what they would be seeing.
“I have to say, the pupils were captivated throughout and I fully recognise the importance of using drama to deliver these important warning messages about how young people can so easily be groomed and absorbed into gangs.
“These productions force students to sit up and take notice, raising awareness of the warning signs they need to know about in order to help keep themselves safe.”
The Good Citizen programme is led by the Arson Task Force (Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and Northamptonshire Police) and supported by partners including the Wellingborough Safer Stronger Neighbourhood Partnership and the North Northamptonshire Community Safety Partnership.
Organisers have also arranged for the same theatre company to visit six primary schools in the Wellingborough area in April.
Hundreds of pupils at these primary schools will be shown the drama ‘Safe’, which deals with the story of a nine-year-old bullied by some older boys. Its themes include bullying (and how to get help), the importance of friendship and the dangers of carrying knives.
The productions in schools have been made possible by the Good Citizen Programme’s funding and sponsorship from the Percy Hoskins Award and Crimestoppers in Northamptonshire.
Magnus Wallace, Vice Prinicipal at Weavers Academy, said: “This was powerful and so relevant to students in the current times. It really raised awareness of the dangers facing our young people, but it was also great guidance on how to stay safe.”