"It's changed the way I think about homeless people because you don't know what they've been through to be homeless": Year 9 response to hard-hitting play about homelessness and it' related causes and consequences
This term, our Year 9 students have been exploring their futures and how decisions they make today can affect them in the short- and longer-term. We were lucky enough to have the ZEST theatre company come in and perform "Until It's Gone"; a play that is centred on homelessness and the issues that are linked to it. The production does not shy away from some of the hard-hitting issues facing young people in Britain today, and it is all based on true stories from young people whose lives have been affected by homelessness - whether directly or indirectly.
The play follows Craig, a student whose choices of actions and words towards his friends and loved ones sees his life spiral into a tangle of homelessness, parenthood, crime and drug abuse. The play explores the importance of communication in all of this. Our students particularly enjoyed the debrief after the play, in which the cast performed a 'Jeremy Kyle Show'-style exploration of the wider themes of the play a few months down the line from where we left them at the end of the play. During this, Craig and his ex-girlfriend were encouraged to discuss: how Craig had ended up as one of the estimated 150,000 young people who are currently, or at risk of becoming, homeless in Britain; what support he has accessed; how he plans to overcome some of his issues going forward.
To see the trailer for the production, please visit this link:
Here is just a small selection of comments from a diverse range of our students about how this play affected them and their attitudes towards the issues raised:
Thoughts on homelessness
Homelessness "can happen to anyone, any time" and "isn't just about living on the street"
Some said they were now more aware of what they could do to prevent themselves "getting into those situations" and one added, "I want to respect what I'm given more because homeless people have very little".
Thoughts on relationships
"After watching it I want to try and have positive relationships with adults: especially those I live with" and to "resolve arguments with people I live and go to school with by talking about it, rather than walking away".
"It made me think I should be nicer to people" and "to be careful who I hang around with"
Thoughts on drugs and crime
"Not all homeless people are drug addicts" and that becoming involved in drugs, whether homeless or not, can result in a "damaging" criminal record
I'm sure you will agree, the feedback from the students shows just how complex and relevant these issues are and how easily they can come to affect any of us - regardless of our age or background.
For more information on any of the issues raised, there are a variety of sources of help available. Our school website has a page, The Directory, on which you and your family can find links to various charities and services available locally and nationally. Click here to access it http://www.ivanhoe.co.uk/advice-for-young-people-directory
In addition, the ZEST website has links to some of the charities and organisations mentioned in the play and the discussion afterwards. You may also find the following reports from Shelter and Crisis respectively an informative and interesting read: ;
For specific safeguarding concerns relating to any of our students, please do not hesitate to contact Mr G. Bellmore to discuss further.
As always, we appreciate your support as parents and guardians in promoting the physical and emotional development and well-being of our students. We were very proud of our students for showing such maturity during the performance, and in the follow-up work we have been doing with them in class.
Miss Catie Hayward, Subject Leader of Lifeskills
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