A group of performing arts students from Leeds City College are launching a show-stopping digital performance for Leeds secondary schools to tackle online issues.

The School of Creative Arts are working with support of The Paper Birds Theatre Company to commission 32 Level 3 acting students in creating a performance piece addressing online safety.

This community project is in its third year, following last year’s successful knife crime performance that focused on building awareness and highlighting the dangers of knife crime. This project ran in partnership with The Paper Birds Theatre Company who provided acting workshops and creative ideas for students. West Yorkshire’s strategic engagement officer also supported the piece, hosting a session at the college to discuss the dangers of knife crime. This performance toured across Leeds secondary schools and was shortlisted for two industry awards; Leeds Child Friendly Awards under Communities and Schools Working Together and an Educate North Award in the Community Engagement category.

Students performing last year’s ‘Knife Crime’ performance

Stealing the spotlight this year is the theme ‘online’. The increase of internet usage amongst teenagers has risen sharply due to the development of social media platforms and a significant amount of young people are being exposed to challenging situations. This performance aims to educate young people on how to stay safe online and report any concerns that may arise.

Danielle Bailey, curriculum leader at Leeds City College, said: “This year’s project is covering a really topical theme. During lockdown, more people are accessing the internet from home to learn and we aim to educate on the online dangers. We’re passionate about leading the way in an under-policed area and hope our inspiring performance can make a difference. The Paper Birds Theatre Company have been supporting our creative process, with co-director Kylie offering valuable expertise and guidance.”

Although the performances are typically performed physically across schools, due to Covid-19 this year’s performance will be accessed online through Crowdcast. The performance will last for 20 minutes and will be available to over 200 secondary schools in Leeds from 22 May.

Find out more about creative arts courses at leedscitycollege.ac.uk.

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