25 January 2010
School pupils in Caerphilly county borough will be watching a hard-hitting play next month to raise awareness of the dangers surrounding drugs.
Hugely successful anti-drugs play 'Wings to Fly' will return to Caerphilly county borough, with more than 1,800 primary school pupils expected to go along and watch the thought provoking production.
Now in its fifteenth year, Wings to Fly tells the story of 'Penguin', a young girl who succumbs to peer pressure and ends up trying drugs. The story tells of the dangers surrounding drug taking and the very real consequences of substance misuse.
The fifty-minute play is aimed at Year 6 pupils aged ten and eleven, and raises awareness of the harmful effects of drugs, as well as focussing on methods youngsters can use to combat peer pressure and refuse drugs, which is particularly relevant as the children prepare to join their secondary schools later on in the year.
Young actors from the Caerphilly County Youth Theatre Group will perform the play, which will run from Tuesday 9th February until Thursday 11th February at Blackwood Miners Institute.
Cllr Lyn Ackerman, cabinet member for the environment said, "Wings to Fly is a very powerful production that demonstrates to school pupils the dangers of taking drugs. Since it began almost fifteen years ago, nearly an entire generation of young people, more than 35,000 in fact, have benefitted from seeing a performance of Wings to Fly.
What is especially pleasing is that the issues tackled in Wings to Fly also act as the basis for school lessons when the children return to their classrooms, which helps to further engage with young people on the very harmful effects of drug and other substance misuse."
Caerphilly Partnership Inspector Alan Webber said, "This is a hard hitting play and one that is always well received by the school pupils who attend. I believe the fact that young people play the roles means that the scenarios have even more impact.
After the pupils have attended Wings to Fly, our School Liaison Officers will then go into their lessons at school to follow up on the messages and issues that were raised."
Bethany aged 15 from Caerphilly county borough, who saw Wings to Fly when she was in Year 6 at primary school said, "The issues that are dealt with in Wings to Fly have definitely stayed with me throughout my time at secondary school.
The pressure to take part in drinking, smoking and taking other substances can sometimes be quite strong in secondary schools, but Wings to Fly gave us the knowledge to be able to say no to these things.
It's really good that Wings to Fly is still going strong – I definitely benefitted from watching the production and the follow up lessons in class, and it's great that Year 6 pupils can still do the same."
Wings to Fly has proven so popular in recent years that since 2005 it has been translated into Welsh, allowing children from Welsh speaking schools to access the play also. Welsh medium performances of the production are planned for later on in the year.
Wings to Fly is run jointly by Caerphilly County Borough Council, Gwent Police and the Blackwood Crime Prevention Panel. It is produced and directed this year by Kate Verity and Tony Gallagher.
The play has also been taken up by other local authorities and police forces throughout Wales, and the model of a school based drugs awareness programme, reinforced by the theatre based learning experience is both popular and successful.
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