Local celebrities, high-ranking police officers and hundreds of Wirral schoolchildren were at New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion to watch Birkenhead Sixth Form College Drama students’ powerful play aimed at raising awareness of the consequences of antisocial behaviour.

‘Bored’, a play especially devised and performed by the students in conjunction with Merseyside Police, tells the story of teenagers whose actions have devastating effects on both themselves and others, although they themselves considered it harmless fun.

“The peer-to-peer approach is extremely effective, especially through acting, as it brings it to life. The message can be a lot harder to deliver when standing in a classroom, but when it’s being performed by talented kids like this, it makes a big difference.”

Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Andy Cooke

 

Birkenhead-born international boxing champion, Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd, was a special guest speaker at the event, along with local radio personality, Pete Price, and the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Andy Cooke.

Pete Price addresses the audience

 

Over 750 children from 17 different Wirral schools were in attendance on Friday 17th February, as local Neighbourhood Police Officers and our drama department, led by teacher Liz Bones, combined to provide a unique new peer-to-peer approach to educate youngsters about the pitfalls of antisocial behaviour through hard-hitting drama.

Speaking after the performance, Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Andy Cooke, said: “The play came over extremely well. The students from Birkenhead Sixth Form College were fantastic, and it was a really powerful message about what can happen when antisocial behaviour goes wrong.

“The peer-to-peer approach is extremely effective, especially through acting, as it brings it to life. The message can be a lot harder to deliver when standing in a classroom, but when it’s being performed by talented kids like this, it makes a big difference.”

The cast with Principal Kathryn Podmore, Local Neighbourhood Police Officers and Bobby, the Police mascot

 

The region’s highest ranking police officer continued: “The message I’d give to the young people is to think how you would feel if it were your mum, your dad or your loved one on the receiving end of this behaviour; just think what the results of those actions are. This play does a fantastic job of showing people exactly what the consequences can be, and Merseyside Police will fully support the victims of these crimes.”

WBC International Lightweight Champion, Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd, gave an emotional speech after the performance, drawing on his own personal experiences from a troubled childhood in the local area, having turned his life around and achieved successes both professionally and personally.

A self-confessed former bully and member of a street gang, Dodd felt he could directly relate to the scenes that were depicted in the play, with teenagers haranguing an innocent local woman to the point of despair.

He said: “The play was amazing, it really was. I was trying to think of what to say in my talk during it but I was left a bit speechless because the message was unbelievable. I could see myself in all of those situations when I was younger.

The cast with boxer, Sean 'Masher' Dodd, and his WBC belt

 

“My message when I was speaking was to try to tell the kids that what was shown here today was for real; it’s serious and it’s no joke.”

Talk radio DJ, Pete Price, who had seen the play at its debut showing at Birkenhead Sixth Form College in December, drew attention to the shocking end to the play, where the victim of the antisocial behaviour commits suicide and the teenagers are left criminally responsible.

Admitting that he was Initially shocked at discovering that the sentences handed out to the teenagers in the play of between two and 15 years in prison were accurate, Pete Price said: “I was thrilled when the children in the audience gasped as they heard the sentences being delivered, because sometimes people don’t understand that you can bully somebody, harass somebody and those people can take their own lives. The message came over loud and clear.

The DJ continued: “I was so pleased that the young people in the audience connected with the young people performing on the stage. The message to take away is to leave people alone – you wouldn’t like it if it was done to you, or your family or friends, so don’t do it to them, end of story.”