Belfast Telegraph

New collaborative production aims to reduce crime across Northern Ireland

The Lyric Theatre has teamed up with the Department of Justice and Hydebank Wood College for the fourth year to produce a progressive project aimed at reducing crime and antisocial behaviour.

The production, Blackout, tells the story a young man from a dysfunctional family whose personal circumstances and reactions to adversity lead him into drugs and alcohol. The death of his grandfather results in a path of charges, court and a possible custodial sentence.

The production is unique in that it is followed by a question and answer session with a panel of three young people from Hydebank Wood College who have first-hand experience of custody and the judicial system.

Throughout October, performances and workshops will be delivered to schools and community groups across Northern Ireland to encourage young people to ask for help.

Anthony Harbinson from Department of Justice said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Lyric Theatre with their Blackout production. It helps the Department of Justice, through our partners, to make Northern Ireland a safer place by reaching young people, and making them aware of the impact of their life choices. This will be introduced across schools through their pastoral care supporting systems.”

Blackout has been previously performed to over 8,000 young people, teachers and community leaders in almost 100 schools and community venues.  In terms of the production’s ability to change opinions, 72% of respondents said they had changed their attitude towards young people and crime, and 79% of respondents said they are more aware of the consequences of taking drugs and alcohol.

Blackout is currently on a four week tour of schools and youth groups across Northern Ireland including Belfast, Ballymena, Armagh and Carnlough.  It is offered free of charge to schools and community groups.

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