On Wednesday, at The Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, we were treated to two incredible performances from young people. First, the Limelight theatre group, consisting of teens aged 12-16, performed a play about a class of pupils at school after a weekend party. As the details of what happened at the party are gradually revealed to us, the performers managed to keep us laughing whilst never losing sight of the real implications of the events being depicted.
The play encapsulated issues ranging from abusive relationships, drugs and alcohol, and the possibly harmful use of social networking. The performance is performed as a series of flashbacks, whilst in the present we are introduced to Mr. Roberts, a maths teacher who finds himself out of his depth when being asked to teach a sex education class. This highlights an important issue in modern schools – the lack of proper, professional teaching about healthy sex and relationships, an issue which is unfortunately unremedied due to the failure of New Clause 20 to pass on June 11th. All of the young performers in the Limelight theatre group, aside from putting on one hell of a show, showed themselves to be sensitive and serious in their performing.
After the live performance, we all watched ‘Jess’, a short film directed by Jack Woodcraft from Latimer Creative Media, who worked with dozens of young people to produce the film. All aspects of the filmmaking were worked on by young people from the Latimer group, from the camera work to the sound. The film tells the story of three intertwined relationships, centred on Jess, a girl being pressured to send a naked photo to her boyfriend Carl. The film explores abusive relationships with subtlety, never forcing the issue so that it seems unrealistic, and leaving the audience to think about its implications. The cast of ‘Jess’ followed up the screening with a Q&A in which they discussed what it was like to portray the characters depicted. Although the male characters described it as difficult to portray an abusive partner, Jessie, who played Carl, perfectly summed up why performances such as these are so important by saying, “If even one person can take something from it, then that would be incredible.” Films such as ‘Jess’ and performances like that given from the Limelight theatre group are important to provoke young people to start considering their own relationships and to recognize the signs of an abusive one.
Tender is celebrating its 10th birthday! The organization has grown from working in just one youth centre to working with 52, along with 112 schools and pupil referral units. In honour of ten years of hard work with young people, Tender is asking people to pledge Ten for Tender. This could be pledging to run 10km, donating £10, making 10 posters, anything you can think of. Please get on board and help Tender continue its important work.
Jake Curtis is a Year 12 student at Fortismere School in Muswell Hill, who just finished his AS-levels in Maths, Biology, Chemistry and English. His hobbies include watching films, playing guitar and writing three-sentence biographies of himself. Jake joined Tender for the week as a work experience placement because he is interested in charity, especially those that aim to help young people.