Teaching teenagers about healthy relationships through theatre

A hard-hitting theatre performance will teach teenagers how to recognise the signs of an abusive relationship this week.

The Break the Cycle logo that is made up of three colourful, curved arrow shapes forming a circle. The text inside of the circle reads Break the Cycle.

‘Prince Charming’ tells the story of Zoe and her relationship with her brother's friend Ben. Over six scenes students can see how a controlling abusive relationship develops, whilst being told how to get support and help.

It will be performed by local theatre company 2handers in secondary schools across Southend-on-Sea from Monday 6 November to Friday 10 November, with support from Break the Cycle, which supports those aged 13 to 19 with domestic abuse as part of Safe Steps.

Cllr Helen Boyd, cabinet member for children's service, education and learning, said: “Although this may not form part of the traditional curriculum-based education, it is just as important because it teaches young people the many different types of abuse that there are and how to spot the signs. I'm delighted so many secondary schools have got involved and taken up this opportunity.”

Cllr James Moyies, cabinet member for public health, said: “This production has an impact because it raises awareness amongst young people who watch the play, can put their hands up and stop the action when they see abuse. It helps give them all the right information about respect, trust and consent in a healthy relationship.”

The performance, which is commissioned by the Healthy School's programme at Southend-on-Sea City Council, comes ahead of 16 days of action against domestic violence, which starts on 25 November.

Break the Cycle is part of Safe Steps, a service commissioned by Southend-on-Sea City Council that offers a range of services to support women, men, young people and children across Southend, Essex and Thurrock, to rebuild their lives following domestic abuse.

A spokesperson for Safe Steps said: "Any opportunity we can take to educate and inform our younger generations on what a healthy relationship looks like, is good for us.

“Supporting people to recognise the warning signs of controlling and coercive behaviours as well as where to access help and support is an important piece of work. We want to thank all the schools who are taking part in this project for educating their students in such a way.

"Break the Cycle at Safe Steps are proud to support and educate young people in Southend."

Find out more about Safe Steps, or to get help, call 01702 302333.

Published: 7th November 2023

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