28 February 2008
More than 2,500 primary school children will soon be flocking to see the successful anti-drugs play "Wings to Fly", now in its thirteenth year.
Running from 10th-14th March 2008, there will be a total of 10 performances at the Blackwood Miners Institute.
The play is aimed at warning year six primary school children, aged 10 and 11, of the perils of succumbing to peer pressure and taking drugs in the future, which is particularly relevant as they prepare to join their various comprehensive schools the following September. Young actors from local schools, who are also part of the County Youth Theatre, will perform the play.
The forty-minute play forms a theatre-based learning experience aimed at raising children's awareness of the harmful effects of drugs and substance misuse. It focuses on methods children can use to combat peer pressure and refuse drugs.
So successful has the play been in recent years, since 2005 it has been translated into Welsh, allowing children from welsh-speaking schools to access the play also – this years welsh performances will take place at Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni in Fleur de Lys.
"Wings to Fly" is funded by Caerphilly County Borough Council and Gwent Police as members of the Safer Caerphilly County Borough Community Safety Partnership and will be directed by Caerphilly County Borough Council's Arts Development Officer, Joanna Smith.
She hopes the play will pose questions instead of preach, especially with the tempo of the play changing with chart style music being replaced towards the end with reflective monologues on drug-taking. "I think it will have a positive impact on young people," she said.
"Wings to Fly" is also now a key part of the police core schools programme throughout Gwent, and in the build up to the production, School Liaison Officers from Gwent Police are already undertaking drug awareness programmes within primary schools in the area, and making clear links with "Wings to Fly".
Caerphilly County Borough Councils' cabinet member for education, Cllr David Hardacre said, "This admirable production clearly highlights the steps being taken to warn children in the area of the dangers associated with drug taking. Since it began, over 30,000 children have attended a performance of "Wings to Fly", which is an excellent figure – long may it continue."
Inspector Alan Webber, from the Crime and Disorder Reduction Unit, said: "Wings to Fly is a powerful production that demonstrates to school pupils the dangers of taking drugs. School Liaison Officers will then visit pupils who have seen the play to further engage with them about the harmful effects of substance misuse and provide them with helpful information and advice."
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