Round of applause for educational performance

Thirty two performing arts students at Leeds City College took centre stage in a digital performance to highlight online issues.

The School of Creative Arts worked closely with the Paper Birds Theatre Company to commission Level 3 acting students in creating performance piece ‘TRANSMIT’ that addressed online safety.

In its third year, the project aims to educate young people on topical issues. As internet usage among teenagers has risen in recent years, many young people are experiencing challenging situations; this performance provides support and gives advice on how to report concerns.

The performance was shown on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 May through digital platform Crowdcast. Over 170 secondary schools, teachers, students and parents viewed the performance.

Danielle Bailey, curriculum leader at Leeds City College, said: “During lockdown, the focus on digital has significantly increased, meaning young people may be at more risk of being exposed to worrying situations. It’s incredibly important for us to make a difference and inform teenagers of the dangers.

“The performance was a fantastic success, we had some amazing feedback from professionals, students and teachers, who commented on our creative and meaningful approach to current issues. Secondary schools across the district commented on how inspired its students are to promote online safety and report difficult issues.”

The production featured a variety of scenarios, including cyber bullying, hacking, online relationships, fake social media accounts and signs of abuse. The students reflected on the positives and negatives of the current online era, focusing on mental health, laws, negative body images and addiction to social media.

As part of the performance, students offered advice and recommended organisations offering support, including NSPC, National Bullying Helpline and Childline.

Megan Hart, Musical Theatre student at Leeds City College, said: “The concept of the piece was thoroughly thought out and executed in a professional way. All of the scenarios were realistic and highlighted important issues. The effort put in by everyone was really clear to the audience. There was a fantastic use of dramatic techniques to emphasise the topics shown in the performance.”

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