Real-life stories on how young people feel about their reputation, safety, drug dealing, the police, gangs, bullying and family life were included in a powerful production showcased by Brit School students on Monday night.
The performance – You Choose – was commissioned by the Met police, and is part of Croydon’s Choose Your Future campaign, which aims to unite Croydon against knife crime, and supports young people to make positive life choices.
Croydon police worked with the students and the council to stage the 40-minute anti-knife crime play that will tour the borough’s secondary schools this spring.
The performance will be linked to a 20-minute question-and-answer session and workshop.
Council leader Tony Newman attended the performance, along with Croydon police borough commander, Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe, Croydon MP Sarah Jones, leading councillors, police officers, and representatives of community and faith groups
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council
“This is an immensely powerful performance. It’s not a play, it’s reality for many young people, and shows that – working together – we have the power to stop knife crime.”
Mr Boothe said: “One of the most encouraging aspects of the performance is that young people are expressing their views and concerns with knife crime. It provides them with opportunity to have their voices heard.
“I am excited about the ongoing roll-out of these performances in other schools in Croydon and then, potentially, other areas. We have a responsibility to support young people, and, by working together on initiatives such as these, we can hope to educate and encourage them to aspire to bigger and more positive life choices.”
Community Arts Practice teacher, Lucy Harris, said: “This project is important, emotive and relevant. The young people need a platform to be heard. Let’s give it to them.”
The play and workshop are part of a package of support the council is developing for borough schools. This will include:
- Primary school workshops aimed at year 6 pupils to prepare them for transition to secondary schools, delivered by the youth engagement team. The workshops will be focused on safe travel, resilience, good relationships, resolving conflict, how to deal with problems and positive mental health
- A protocol for managing incidences
- A directory of support services.