PUPILS in a Tameside secondary school have been given a dramatic lesson in the dangers associated with alcohol.
‘Smashed' is a theatre education programme that highlights the consequences of alcohol misuse. And it is currently touring schools across the country.
It includes a hard-hitting drama about three friends whose misuse of alcohol ends in tragedy, followed by an interactive workshop, where young people go on to question the characters' decisions, examine their motivations and explore the consequences of their actions.
On Friday, Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds joined a group of 150 pupils at Alder Community High School, in Hyde, to witness the project first-hand.
And following the performance, Mr Reynolds said: "This was a really innovative way of getting young people to engage with the questions that surround alcohol.
"It can be difficult to encourage young people to consider these issues - but using drama and workshops had a really positive effect.
"Of course the law says that young people shouldn't be allowed to buy alcohol until they are 18. But in reality we know that they are often able to get hold of it when they are much younger. And that's why it's important that these issues are highlighted much earlier.
"Addressing these questions means that when young people are ultimately faced with the choice of drinking alcohol - whatever age they are - they have the facts that will enable them to make a responsible decision."
‘Smashed', which has been sponsored by Diageo, has been developed by Collingwood Learning, in consultation with young people. And it will be performed in 80 schools across the country this year.
Following the performance, Chris Simes, from Collingwood Learning, said: "Drama is a brilliant way to engage students around a topic and the ‘Smashed' performance powerfully portrays the message of responsible drinking to young people.
"We have found it can genuinely hep to transform their knowledge, attitudes and behaviour. The interactive workshop helps students to get under the skin of this issue, helping them explore, question and ultimately have a voice in influencing the outcome of the way the story ends."
Commenting on the production, Alder PSHE teacher Lauren Browne said: "This was a fun and exciting play with a powerful message about the consequences of drinking alcohol irresponsibly.
"The play was effectively followed by a hot seating activity where the audience were able to interact with the characters directly."
Published February 16, 2011.