Theatre is a fantastic way to present a message… Theatre is an experience that encourages some kind of reaction, whether about the quality of the performance or about the story or our own personal reaction to the topics raised. Theatre impacts our thinking and the Pure Theatre in Education Company educates young people through theatre performances by stimulating them to think about topics in a different way.
In school sessions, Pure will usually offer a 30-minute production looking at and presenting issues that affect young people, such as eating disorders and self esteem, pressure, identity, sex and relationships and self harm. Each performance is followed by an interactive theatre session, including theatrical techniques such as forum, hot seating and improvisation.
The sessions provide a safe environment for young people to explore the issues they face, and the performance acts as a springboard to encourage discussion, provoking them to ask questions, and see things from a new perspective.
As many of the issues raised are extremely sensitive we recommend that they are performed to year 8 pupils and above, however this is a guideline only and we will liaise with individual schools as to what age limit they feel would be most appropriate.
Current Productions include ‘I Decide’, ‘Hold Me’, ‘Mirror Mirror’ and ‘Shine’.
I decide has been written and produced to address the issue of identity in young people for whom teenage years are spent trying to figure out who they are, whether they fit in and where they place their sense of self worth.
From the second we are born we are bombarded with information telling us how to think, feel, act and behave. Our family, our friends and the media all play a huge part in this.
School in particular can be a place where the pressure for young people to both conform and stand out from the crowd at the same time can often be overwhelming and confusing. Sometimes we need space to think about where we are and who we want to be (as well as having the freedom to choose how and who we don’t want to be any more). I decide looks at the experiences of four teenagers during a typical day at school where, through a series of events, they are all forced to confront their own personal issues of self worth and the unhelpful pressures that can come upon them. The production uses contemporary theatre, dance and cutting edge media to engage young people and is most effective when followed up by one of our interactive workshops to explore the issues raised in the performance.
‘Hold me’ is designed to fit into the sex education curriculum. It follows the story of three girls as they tackle the pressures surrounding sex and relationships. In the play we see each girl’s individual struggle to fit in, be liked and face the pressure to have sex. This is often not covered by sex education and we discuss how young people often look to sex and relationships to find affirmation and approval, as well as a way to feel loved. The play also touches on abuse and rape but it is dealt with in an extremely sensitive way.
‘Hold Me’shows how even the smallest of decisions can impact our lives, and portrays all the feelings and emotions that come with those consequences.
The reaction of the pupils and their response in the discussion groups showed that they were affected by it … They did not want to stop at 3:20, that says it all’. Mr Woodcock, Maghull High School
An interactive workshop follows Hold Me providing space for pupils to explore and think about their own decisions concerning sex and relationships. The workshop covers topics including; why wait, sexually transmitted diseases, contraception, emotional ties, the pressure to have sex and teenage pregnancy.
Young people need to know that whatever they’ve been through and whatever their past is, it does not determine their future and there is hope for each one of them.
This is a powerful piece of theatre that looks at the issue of body image and eating disorders as it follows one girl’s experience of anorexia. The performance shows both the struggle she goes through and how she begins to overcome it. The play brings this subject to life and is followed by an interactive workshop.
The theme of body image and eating disorders is a key issue facing many young girls today and the play is a powerful tool to show the reality of these issues.
The play coupled with the interactive workshop allows room for young people to react, discuss and respond to their own feelings about body image.
‘It addressed things no one else does. It gave me information on things I really need help with.’ Young person, Salvation Army Summer School.
‘Shine’ is a hard hitting, colourful production that looks at the issue of identity and how we cope with pressure as it follows four individuals who struggle in a different way and who each use various coping strategies to express the pain they feel including, isolation, bullying, anger management and self harm.
This production uses sounds to build-up atmosphere and tension, and is street-dance based, using movement and rhythm to communicate and connect with a modern teenage audience.
‘[Shine] really encouraged me because I could really relate to the girls and their struggles with things that I have struggled with and been through. I think I found it surprising that people really go through the same things as me’. Year 10 pupil CFS Liverpool
Self-harm is a very hidden activity that is extremely prevalent amongst young people today and through this play Pure Creative Arts use theatre to explore the issue in an effective way and provide young people with alternative, positive ways of coping with pressure.