Hackney youth drama takes to the stage and sparks debate

What would you do and how far would you be prepared to go if you needed to make money fast?

This dilemma was the subject of a new thought-provoking drama written, directed and performed by the young people of Homerton Youth Forum at Chats Palace in Hackney last month.

Overcoming Barriers was developed after the Forum came together to look at some of the issues affecting young people in the borough and to come up with an idea to help tackle them.

The hard hitting drama, produced in partnership with the Youth Opportunities Fund and support from Hackney Youth Service, dealt with the prevalent issue of young people and drugs.

Nearly 200 young people and special guests turned out to see the story of John Doe, a young man who needs money fast; witnessing the ease with which his life spirals out of control and the resulting repercussions.

Audiences were able to watch the performance for free on two nights, Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th July, and participate in a workshop after the shows, where they debated issues arising from the play including peer pressure and choices to overcome barriers they may encounter in life.

The event was a resounding success, receiving praise from the audience and performers.

“I would have paid good money to see that show and I think it had a really positive message, well done guys,” said a member of the audience.

Performer Jake Boston, 19, added: “I found the atmosphere electric and I found the performance exhilarating, especially on the Thursday. I think a lot of young people got a lot out of it and can’t wait for part two!”

As part of the show, each member of the audience received a goodie bag which included pamphlets supplied by Talk To Frank and information about services for young people in Hackney. There were also T-Shirts for those with the most thought provoking questions during the Q & A section.

Overcoming Barriers has been shortlisted as one of five finalists in a national competition, Good 4 The Hood’, in conjunction with MTV and the Home Office. The lucky winner will get help to take their idea forward and appear in their own four part mini series on MTV.