Wednesday, 12 November 2008

I found this story on the GMTV's website about a woman who named and shamed her own son inregards to binge drinking, the full story is shown below:

Warning for teen bingers Binge drinking

Sue Strom has named and shamed her son for binge drinking as a warning to others. Would you do the same?
A mother has released a photograph of her seriously ill son who at just 13 could barely breathe after drinking up to a litre bottle of vodka in a park. Sue Strom, from Brighton decided to release the picture as a warning to other youngsters and their parents. Jack was very close to death and his mother wants to warn other parents and teenagers of the perils of binge drinking.When she arrived at hospital, Jack was attached to an oxegen mask and was fighting alcohol poisoning and hypothermia. She has been a wreck ever since and is having trouble sleeping at night.
Sussex police issued a warning to all teenagers and confirmed they were trying to trace and prosecute the person who purchased the drink.
They have been cracking down on underage drinking and last week a local Tesco Express store was banned from selling any alcohol for a month after being caught selling to 15 and 16 year olds.
Since Labour have been in power, the number of children being treated for alcohol-related illnesses have increased by a third, with girls and boys in their late teens that are being treated for cirrhosis.

Binge driking Research


A group of MPs are calling for curbs on Britain's booze culture by banning happy hours along
with minimum alcohol prices. Email us
A group of MPs called for a ban on "happy hour" drink promotions today. Supermarkets should also be prevented by law from selling alcohol at a loss to encourage people into their stores, they said.

Citing research that showed the real price of alcohol has fallen dramatically, the Home Affairs Select Committee urged ministers to clamp down on irresponsible bars and pubs. They found the "whole focus" of police resources was in targeting booze-fuelled and football violence, meaning officers were "hitting their targets but missing the point".
Chairman Keith Vaz said: "We cannot have on one hand a world of alcohol promotions for profit that fuels surges of crime and disorder, and on the other the police diverting all their resources to cope with it." He also called for previously voluntary codes of conduct for the drinks industry to be legally enforceable. Last week a senior officer said police did not need new powers to tackle errant licensees.

Compulsory code
Simon O'Brien, who speaks for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) on pubs and clubs, said those selling drink irresponsibly were a "minority". Ministers are reportedly considering a compulsory code for pubs and bars that would outlaw discounts and happy hours. The rules could also ensure cut price offers extend to soft drinks, and put cigarette-style health warnings on alcohol. The report also called for police to be given electronic notebooks to speed up the recording of crime. Officers could then file reports without having to return to the station, the MPs said.

Child drinkers
Government figures released today reveal a child under 10 is admitted to hospital due to alcohol problems every three days in England. Over the past five years, a total of 648 under-10s were hospitalised because of alcohol. The figures, contained in a parliamentary answer revealed by the Liberal Democrats, also showed that more than 24,000 children under 16 were admitted due to alcohol over the past five years.Some 12,500 young people aged 16-17 were admitted to Accident and Emergency because of alcohol problems over the past five years - an increase of 95% from 2002 to 2007.The Liberal Democrats highlighted the figures ahead of the launch of their strategy to tackle underage and binge drinking tomorrow.Lib Dem culture spokesman Don Foster said the Government had "completely failed" to tackle Britain's "growing alcohol problem".

Shocking findingsHe said: "For so many children of such a young age to be hospitalised is scandalous. Ministers must conduct an urgent review of the systems in place which are meant to be ensuring that young children cannot have access to such harmful substances. "Only a complete change to our drinking culture will prevent a whole generation of young people from being condemned to serious alcohol-related illnesses."The figures from the Department of Health also showed that just over 600,000 adults were admitted with alcohol problems to English NHS trusts over the last five years. Some 85,000 over-18s were admitted in 2002-03, while 153,000 were hospitalised in 2006-07 - an increase of 80%.
Hospital admissionsOn average, 130 children under 10 were admitted to hospital each year between 2002 and 2007, equating to an admission every 72 hours.The hospital admissions related to episodes where one or more of the following three diagnoses were mentioned: mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol use, alcoholic liver disease or the toxic effect of alcohol. A total of 36,585 under-18s were hospitalised due to alcohol over the last five years.

Lib Dem recommendations :

  • Stop irresponsible drink promotions by introducing a minimum price for alcohol
    Put an end to the sale of alcohol to minors by imposing a "one strike and you're out policy
    Provide educational resources for parents so that they can teacher their children how to drink responsibly
  • Increase funding for alcohol treatment services
    Protect A&E staff by ensuring that drunks who are disruptive in hospital A&E departments are dealt with
  • Give local authorities the power to target irresponsible premises and make them pay their fair shareHelp local authorities to share best practice from their experiences
    Support the roll out of pilot schemes that help the police such as identifiable barcodes for off-licence sales
  • Promote choice in bars by re-introducing smaller glass measures.

    A group of MPs are calling for curbs on Britain's booze culture by banning happy hours along with minimum alcohol prices. Email us
    A group of MPs called for a ban on "happy hour" drink promotions today. Supermarkets should also be prevented by law from selling alcohol at a loss to encourage people into their stores, they said.

Citing research that showed the real price of alcohol has fallen dramatically, the Home Affairs Select Committee urged ministers to clamp down on irresponsible bars and pubs. They found the "whole focus" of police resources was in targeting booze-fuelled and football violence, meaning officers were "hitting their targets but missing the point".
Chairman Keith Vaz said: "We cannot have on one hand a world of alcohol promotions for profit that fuels surges of crime and disorder, and on the other the police diverting all their resources to cope with it." He also called for previously voluntary codes of conduct for the drinks industry to be legally enforceable. Last week a senior officer said police did not need new powers to tackle errant licensees.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Yard Gal Review

EVENING STANDARD newspaper 03/11/08

Yard Gal is astonishing By Fiona Mountford
It is a rare and delightful treat to encounter a production as splendid as this, especially in a lesser known fringe venue. A credit-crunch-friendly £8 buys entry to 21-year-old director Stef O’Driscoll’s revival of Rebecca Prichard’s terrifying look at two teenage girls posturing around the streets of Hackney. From the opening seconds, O’Driscoll’s confidence-packed production has us gripped, as Boo (Stefanie Di Rubbo) and Marie (Monsay Whitney) saunter on and eyeball individual audience members with menacing intent. Thus begins a hurtling 90-minute account of drug taking and dealing, casual prostitution and girl gang etiquette. Di Rubbo and Whitney are charismatic young actors with great futures. They capture with unflagging vocal and physical energy the high spirits and black humour of these lifelong friends, as well as recounting the exploits of fellow “yard gals”, including one who loved fighting so long as it didn’t mess with her hair. All the bounce in the world, however, cannot mask the frighteningly nihilistic lives that Boo and Marie lead. A bigger yard — or transfer to a larger theatre — would be just reward for these astonishing gals.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

My Local Paper

Mitcham & Morden Guardian Paper

Today on the front of The Guardian was the headlines ABSOLUTE DISGRACE about Bishopsford Community School regarding a suspened pupil. I found the article to be of intrest as was about how a boy was seemingly praised for his bad behaviour within my community.


Suspended pupil given jolly at national radio station
by Craig Burnett

A national radio sttion has outraged a Morden headteacher after offering a schoolboy the chance to go behind the scenes on its breakfast show.

Absolute Radio gave a pupil from Bishopsford Community school in Morden the chance to help out on the breakfast show for one day earlier this month, as he was serving a three-day suspension from the school in Lilleshall Road.

The station said a 5am start and "hard day's graft" would make the 13-year-old grateful for life at school- but his headteacher knew nothing of the stunt and said the expereince sent out wrong messages.

The boy's parents intitially called the station's morning show to ask for advice on confiscating their son's mobile phone because of his baf behaviour. When host Christian O'Connell heard their story he offered the teenager the chance to come to the studio for a morning.

In a press release promoting the stunt, an absolute spokesman said the 13-year-old "reported for duty at 6am and was immediately set to work on the very important task of making tea for everyone. After that is was staight on the phones to take calls from the public and help in making sure everything behind the scenes."

The pupil later said he "really enjoyed" the day, while his mum said: "You can't turn down a chance like this - not many people get to do it."

But headteacher Andrew Barker was less than im pressed. "The child should have been at home - it's the wrong sort of publicity for someone who is being punished, " he said.
"There are lots of fantastic kids here who would have loved to have this opportunity as a reward for good behaviour. It would have been helpful if there was some sort of communication with us."
Reacting to the story online, one reader said: "what about all the good hard working children out there who behave, what do they get?" while another said: "I'm absolutely livid about this."
A spokesman for the station said: "He was put through his paces on the show and certainly understood that it wasn't going to be an easy day. We sent him home straight after the show finished at 10am with the full day stretching ahead of him - and with orders to do his homework and start behaving himself."

Placements For The Assessment

Assessment Ideas 23/10/08

Today we talked about possibe ideas for our final assessment. I would like to go back to my high school and run a drama club for the student there. Bishopsford community school is always in the local paper for the wrong reasons, it gets very neggative views and still has not washed away it's bad image desipte having a new headmaster. It is a community based school which mean of a evening it caters for adult classes within the community. I would like to work with Bishopsford schooland at the end put on a production that the community could attend.


PROJECT- Binge Drinking 23/10/08

To produce a Verbatim script about binge drinking.

St Mary's has a noticeable problem with alcohol at the university and therefore we have all been set a project to undertake. We went around the group talking about possible people to interview:

  • Underage drinkers
  • Bar Tenders
  • Bar's/clubs
  • Bouncers on club door
  • Off licences
  • Police
  • Ambulance
  • Cab drivers
  • Family members

Verbatim Theatre

Verbatim Theatre 23/10/08

What is Verbatim Theatre?
Verbatim theatre is a phrase used to describe a type of play that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Verbatim plays are, as the name suggests, written using only the precise words spoken by people interviewed about a particular event or topic.
The playwright interviews people that are connected to the topic that the play is focused on and uses their testimony to construct the piece. In this way they seek to achieve a degree of authority akin to that represented by the news. Such plays may be focused on politics, disasters or even sporting events.
A verbatim style of theatre uses the real words from interviewees to construct the play. Recorded voice delivery is an extension of verbatim theatre in which actors have recorded interviews played back to them during the performance, allowing them to directly mimic the accents and manner of speech, as well as the words, of the people they portray.

All of the above was taken from www.

Exercise one:
Mark asked Simona how to get to a certain place, she started with " emm, right...emm ok so..." which defined her way of speaking, he then asked the same question to another person and they started completely different even though it was the same question. This is perfect example of how verbatim theatre is used. Each person in the class then wrote down how to get to a certain place( Twicknham station), Mark went around and each person read the directions out. This time the direction were more thought through and direct, they also had no characteristics of the person. This therefore showing how being on the spot or just talking convey your personality and the true person effectively capturing a sense of reality and a more realistic representation of that person.

Exercise Two:
The Class split in half A & B, the A people had to leave the room. I was in group A, we was told to walk back into the room when we wanted to and once in the room the A people were only aloud to talk to each other. So basically pretend the B people were not there. We walked in and the B people were just watching us, I talked with Emily for a few minutes then we exited from the room. We then went back into the room and sat down whilst the remaining people (B's) went out of the room and came back in acting out what they had just watched.

Simona was my partner for this exercise, she picked up on things that I am aware of doing but don't realise at the time such as touching my self, in particular playing with the bottom of my top. Simona picked up on this straight away yet she did however over play my character (which she admitted to, naughty simona). But many people said they played on the things they noticed the most which seemingly mocked/Paradise the people they played.

I found it very interesting to watch but how you could recognise yourself as well as other people , for example Emily was easily recognised as she has tendency to stand on her heels as soon as the person playing her done that I thought to myself 'that's so Emily'.

The aspect of Verbatim theatre I liked was the enjoyment of watching it, to begin with when I entered the room I kept thinking how dull and how boring the people watching us must be? but when they re-acted us even though there was nothing in particularly interesting happen it was interesting to watch. I like the idea that you do not create a character or language as they are already given to you. Yet it is the way in which you interpret what you have watched or been told that creates the piece. Basically taking someone and responding to them as accurate as possible.

Examples of Verbatim Plays/texts:

Black Watch by Gregory Burke. (I found a useful website about this play and his work.)

Talking To Terrorist by Robin Soans.

Cancer Tales by Neil Dunn (Contain Video links to people talking about dealing with cancer and their stories)

“The Cancer Tales workbook is a valuable new method to inform and teach healthcare professionals to help patients with cancer through their experience. It has already received good feedback from palliative care specialists, which I feel is well earned.” Lukas Radbruch – President of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC)



with regards to th elast lesson i decided to do some research into why abortions cause so much debate. I found somw intresting sites that explain religious reason against as well as the right of a woman, and also why abortion is sometimes the only optoion.

I found this site( in particular intresting as it actually show's pictures of abortions upto 22 weeks. I was very shocked by the content of the picture especially the image of the 22 week old abortion which looked like a perfectly formed baby. This site aslo has true stories of girl facing having abortions, people against and for abortions aswell as reviews and debates, I strongly recommend this site if you are intrested in how abortions raise debate.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Cardboard Citizens and Augusto Boal 'The Family'

Group Discussion about Cardboard Citizens and 'The Family' by Augusto Boal 16/10/08

The class had group discussion about The Help which brought up different views within the group. To begin with we talked about the name of the company. Cardboard Citizens: this was taken from a small community of homeless people who lived on the streets near Waterloo. This has since been Stopped and therefore communities of homeless people has disappeared, now they tend to be isolated and alone.

The main discussion point was about 'offending' the cast due to their situations, such as homelessness. Of which stemmed a debate within the group. Personally I understand why people were worried about offending the cast because I myself was concerned about offending them. But on reflection I can see how patronising that can come across, because you can only offend someone if you consider yourself more fortunate or better then that person? such as feeling better than the homeless people acting? which I doubt anyone felt. But people are still scared of offending people and as Mark said it is very British Manner to be polite and politically correct. However I feel that in the process of not trying to offend someone you often do, as you tend to make a divide by stating a difference, in this case the fortunate Vs the less fortunate (ie homeless people).


  • No Drama training or background in performance- We talked about the difference between professional and armature acting. Does it matter? Does it change the performance? The majority of the class said that due to this aspect it felt real and i think this is due to the element of truth within the production. The cast have all been homeless or facing homelessness at one point, they all have stories, they all have been through the things they are acting. which allows the audience ti engage better and care for them. As in a Musical or production at The National Theatre I as an audience don't care for the actor? I may relate to the character they play but because I no its acting I don't feel compassionate towards the actual actors whereas I do with The Help.

  • Stereotyping- We talked about the dander of stereotyping someone and then paradise them? such as NIE, who joke and mock but in a controlled and pleasant manner such as allowing everyone yo join in on the joke and making the audience aware hoe ridiculous the Paradise actually is.

  • Divide socially- cultural differences, status difference ect. If start to see yourself as different or better, it is then you run the risk of offending people.

THE FAMILY by Augusto Boal

The Family is 'a playscript used durning the mandate as a basis for Forum sessions.' Which is play involving six characters:

MARIA DA GRACA (youngest daughter)

MARIA DA GLORIA (elder daughter)


BETO (brother to Graca & Gloria)

ORLANDO (father)

GRANDPA (grandfather)

The play tell the story of a lower-middle-class household who discover the youngest daughter Graca is pregnant. The play raises many issues such as:

  • Teenage pregnancy- Graca

  • Gender struggle- The men in the family do not seem to work or help the women.

  • Family valves- Christan family with a teenage girl pregnant before marriage. birth control, abortion.

  • Favouritism- Gloria studies hard whilst Graca is pregnant with a married man's child.

  • Money issues- poor family

  • Disappointment- family disappointed, pregnancy will effect the family name "..never happens in our family...".

  • Abortion- wrong or right thing to do?.

We discussed who's story'the play belongs to, of which it is Graca story. we then looked at points of intervention looking at how the situation could changed/adapted, we came up with the following ideas:

  • Choice of who to talk to? maybe talk to her father as opposed to her mother

  • Try to talk to sister abut how she feels

  • Tell her mother in a better situation

  • How the play is structured

The interesting point in this play is that all of the characters hold a certain values and opinions towards her pregnancy. Therefore there is five different angles and opinions in the play such as father disowning his daughter, brother suggesting abortion, mother against abortion, money worries ect. The main area is ABORTION, which is only mentioned once towards the end of the play and the idea is dismissed within three lines :

BETO: "...she can abort. Take out the baby and that's that."

Sebasitana: "What- abort the child? It's a mortal sin!"

BETO: "what sin? It's perfectly normal in these situations. Loads of girls do it.

ORLANDO: " That's enough..."

Which then opens up an area of debate both in the play and for the audience as the play is set in a deeply Catholic country and the idea of abortion would most differently stimulate debate and difference in opinions. We then had a group discussion about is this an accurate representation of how a family would react? Asking the question:

How would your own mother and father react if you became pregnant?

Various people in group said their mothers would be disappointed, others said they think there mum's would be supportive. Some said they would abort whilst some people were against. There was a mixed response within the class, personally to me I think my mum would be supportive yet if it was done in the same way Graca announced her pregnancy along with the situation(mistake with a married man), that my mum would be disappointed with me and express her upset.


Eleven people(half of the class) wrote down what they are like at their worse. The pieces of paper are then given to the remaining eleven people to act. The aim of this exercise was to see if you could spot yourself. What was interesting is that the majority of people spotted themselves and could see the representation of themselves. We then carried out the same exercise but using what are you like at your best. Of which was harder to spot yourself as the tendency of connoting happiness were very similar.

The Help By Cardboard Citizens

The Help By Carboard Citizen 14/10/02

Cardboard Citizen is a company who specifically use homeless people or people who have been homeless which is seemingly promoted within the name of the company. They performed a piece called The Help in the theatre on 14/10/08. The company normaily perform in hostels, day-centers and community based places as opposed to theatres. They specilise in forum theatre which is theatre that is interactive betwwen actor(s) and audience memembers.
I found a short description on the actual Cardboeard Citizen website which expains Forum theatre plus forum for channge, hostel tours and reviews on the show and work thy do.

Forum Theatre is an interactive theatre form invented (or discovered) in the early 1970s by Augusto Boal. An audience is shown a short-ish play in which a central character (protagonist) encounters an oppression or obstacle which s/he is unable to overcome; the subject-matter will usually be something of immediate importance to the audience, often based on a shared life experience.
After this first showing, there may be a brief discussion amongst the audience, mediated by a figure known as 'the Joker' (as in a pack of cards, belonging to no particular suit, on no-one's side). Then the play is restarted, usually from the beginning, and runs as before - but this time, whenever a 'spect-actor' (active audience member) feels the protagonist might usefully have tried a different strategy, s/he can stop the action, take the protagonist's place, and try his or her idea. The other characters in the piece will react as they feel their characters would react, on a bad day i.e. they will not make it easy for any new tactic to succeed; but if an idea works, the intervening spect-actor can win, the game is not rigged.
Through a session of Forum Theatre, many people will take the stage and show many different possibilities. In this way, the event becomes a kind of theatrical debate, in which experiences and ideas are rehearsed and shared, generating both solidarity and a sense of empowerment.

Cardboard Citizens has developed a Forum for Change model where Theatre is produced by, with and for a particular community and addresses issues that its members face - often working as a powerful consultation medium. It is an extremely effective way of working with a group as it engenders discussion and debate and enables solutions to be found.
Cardboard Citizens has recently used this model to create Dreams, a dance theatre production with young refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, and a three-part Forum Theatre production, Express, with excluded young people in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.


The Hostel Tour brings a Forum Theatre production to up to 40 hostels and day centres throughout London each year. We audition and hire four Cardboard Citizens company-trained actors with experience with homelessness to perform in the play along with Cardboard Citizens Associate Artist, Terry OLeary, who plays the role of the Joker,a role she has performed to immense acclaim.
Forum Theatre is a uniquely interactive style of theatre. At the end of each play, the Joker facilitates a discussion with the audience about the challenges faced by the characters in the play and asks them what they might have done differently to improve the outcome for the protagonist. After this discussion, the plays are restarted, but now audience members can stop the performance, take the place of the actors (becoming spect-actors), and try out their idea of what the protagonist might have done differently.
Over the last 16 years, we have found that our Forum Theatre performances generate a unique sense of solidarity and empowerment among hostel residents, and inspire them to reach and recognise their potential. With each performance, we never cease to be surprised by the discussion generated during the Forum, and the ability of our homeless and ex-homeless actors to connect with and inspire the audience. After each show, our trained mentoring actors spend time talking to homeless clients and arrange one-to-one follow up meetings, ensuring that the inspiration generated by the performance is translated into a positive referral.


Touring now, October - December 2008 Written by Sarah Woods Directed by Adrian Jackson & Gavin McAlinden
Inspired by true stories, The Help by Sarah Woods presents us with the stories of three different characters. What dilemmas and difficulties do a migrant, a young person fresh out of care, and a hostel worker share? It is difficult enough to care for ourselves, let alone others.
The actors in the play have all experienced homelessness. After the show, you will be able to talk to them about how things might have been different. And for those who want to get involved with Cardboard Citizens projects.


"The night was inspirational with the effect it had on the audience - several recognised their own issues on the stage and asked for help tackling them. Others stood up in front of the audience, laid their life story bare before them and used themselves as examples as to why the younger guys and girls in the shelter should tackle their own issues now, to bring about a change in their lives for the better" - Assistant Hostel Manager, Leicester Night Shelter

"The show is really helpful for homeless people. It says to you go back to work, go to training, stop drinking, pay housing benefit or your rent on time. It also says sort out your problems with your key worker, social services and advice office" - Hostel resident

Forum Theatre links

First Lesson 02/10/08 'What makes a community?'


'what makes a community?'

Hello! I have missed the first two weeks of community theatre, as many people know my dad is ill and for his 60th birthday we all went away during his break from treatment. Therefore I have missed some vita lessons about communities. I have had a look at other peoples blogs and from what I've read the first lesson dated 02/10/08 was about 'what makes a community?' .

About My Community:

I come from a small community in Morden Surrey, south London. I went to a Community high school in the area, which was an underachieving school that the community raised awareness of. Prior to it's re-opening the community complained that they felt unsafe due to the schools reparation. The police were called out every day about fights, abusive behaviour on each other and towards the members of the public. The people within the community also stated that the pupils looked untidy and uniforms reflected the no-hope attitude of both the school and the area. Several meetings took place and in the end it was said a new school would be opened under new rules and teachers. Our community actually designed both the name and uniform of the new school which was to be called Bishopsford Community School. A new headmaster was employed and had two years to bring the school up to standard or it was to be closed down and become flats. The idea of the community working together and having a input with the design of the school was fundamental to our community as it brought people together and it also built up the population of the first year pupils. Despite its negative reparationI left with ten GCSE from A*-D, however the majority of pupils left with little qualifications and added to the ever growing list of underachievers. The high school is still open today but faces the same problems as it did when I was studying there. However within the community, meetings are held to raise problems about the school and since then various problems have been solved.