Hundreds of Wearside youngsters are being given a dramatic lesson on the dangers of alcohol abuse.
Pupils at several Sunderland schools are benefiting from and award-winning international programme about underage drinking.
A play, Smashed, is currently touring schools in Tyne and Wear and this week has been to St Robert of Newminster Catholic School, Washington, Sandhill View Academy and Monkwearmouth Academy.
From today, the play will visit more schools, including Farringdon Community Academy, Academy 360 and St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy.
The play is about a group of friends who find themselves in trouble as a result of their misuse of alcohol.
And, the performance is followed by an interactive workshop where pupils are invited to probe the cast on any of the issues brought up and explore the consequences portrayed by the actors.
Alcohol misuse is a tough subject to educate young adults about in a way that is supportive, informative and resonatesJulie Elliott MP
Smashed is an alcohol education and awareness programme and this year the tour will appear in 90 UK schools in six different regions.
To date the programme has reached more than 333,000 pupils in 1,400 schools across the UK since it began in 2005.
Smashed was developed in consultation with young people and has been designed to engage with pupils in a different way to typical school lessons.
It combines the use of drama with interactive workshops to help young people understand the facts, causes, and consequences of alcohol misuse and the risks of underage drinking.
Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central, went along to Monkwearmouth Academy to watch the play with the students.
She said: “Alcohol misuse is a tough subject to educate young adults about in a way that is supportive, informative and resonates.
“Smashed provides an innovative solution.
“I was pleased to get to experience the performance at Monkwearmouth Academy, and I am delighted that students in Sunderland have the opportunity to benefit from such an engaging programme.”
Smashed is also set to visit 16 countries over 12 months in 2018, including Nigeria, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Australia.
Aileen Keyes, Head of Alcohol in Society Europe, Diageo, one of the world’s leading alcohol manufacturers which sponsors the play, said: “Watching the Smashed performance is a truly memorable experience and teaches a powerful lesson on the consequences of alcohol misuse.
“By getting students to participate and feel part of the performance, Smashed equips young people with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about alcohol, which will stand them in good stead in the future.”