We have been having excellent feedback from our Bridgend touring Youth Emotional Health project A Long Way Down.
A Long Way Down has been adapted from a book by Nick Hornby by our Drama Development Worker Alyson Evans. This play focuses on life and relationships in a humorous and thought-provoking way, and is aimed at young people aged over 16 (and adults). The play looks at challenging issues including emotions, relationships, families, suicide, struggles and friendships and expresses this through the different stories of several characters.
The aim of this tour is to offer young people in Bridgend the chance to share their issues and feelings at a difficult time in our local communities, using creativity as a tool to facilitate open and supportive dialogue before the school holidays. After each performance we facilitate discussions around the issues raised in the play, giving young people and members of the audience an opportunity to voice their opinions and share their feelings in a safe and supportive environment.
We have had some very eye-opening, honest and thoughtful comments and discussions.
A Long Way Down Project Feedback:
(Bridgend Emotional Health Drama Tour – funded by The Camelot Foundation; written by Nick Hornby; adapted by Alyson Evans – Drama Development Worker, Valley and Vale; touring Bridgend Borough Summer 2008)
What did you think of the performance?
Brilliant, beautifully written, excellent performances, really relevant and important. Loved the fact you dealt with the issues through ‘a story’.
Excellent, really made me think about some of the issues raised.
Excellent, thought-provoking, sensibly and cleverly delivered.
Excellent, all the characters were totally believable, dealing with really difficult contemporary lives, in an accessible way.
I thought the performance was powerful and really portrayed the struggles people have to face each day.
An excellent performance, very moving and powerful, very well adapted.
Excellent, professional performance.
Enjoyable at points, even funny at times.
It pointed out and brought forward many good points about suicide (how it affects the family).
Very good actions.
Very good, professional, and touching.
Funny at times, enjoyable and striking.
I thought the performance was amazing. It really made me open my eyes and see the realisation of the piece and how the characters were feeling. I thought the man at the start made it much stronger.
What do you think young people need?
To be listened to, same as everyone, cared for, respected.
To talk, share; understand that all problems are transient.
Not having people to talk to.
To help each other.
What do you think are the biggest problems for young people in Bridgend today?
Life in general is hard. There is a lot of pressure on teenagers with exams, and everything seems harder and bigger at that age.
Isolation and social problems.
Not knowing where to get help.
Self esteem, family tensions.
Understanding that many people have difficult life issues – and they are not alone.
Peer pressure, achievement – or more specifically, how they feel when they under-achieve, feeling inadequate.
Lack of understanding by adults of what it is like being a young person today.
Lots of social confusion, which creates depression.
Lots of groups are divided such as social labels, which causes abuse.
Not enough social activities to keep children off the streets.
Easy access to drugs is ruining young peoples lives.
Things that make you believe your something your not.
Family problems e.g. divorce/poor areas.
Drugs, relationships, family.
Issues with suicide, drugs and alcohol related crime.
How do you cope with problems in your life?
Friends and family.
Talk about them.
Running, meditation and reading.
Talking things over with someone who will listen, not try to solve everything for me.
I talk to my friends and partner. I have sought professional help when I needed it. I know that when I have been in real pain it has passed.
I talk to my partner.
Play my guitar, and have a pint.
Not very well.
Contact parents or phone calls to friends.
Lashing out at others.
I relieve my aggressions through the media of music.
Talk to someone, or distract myself.
By sharing with others.
What do you think young people need?
Relevant support, a sense of purpose.
Help, support, using art as a tool to express their problems.
Stimulate debate for parents and children – to develop awareness of ‘symptoms’.
Security, reassurance, a stable and loving home life, and forgiveness.
The right to make mistakes, hope for the future, direction, boundaries, positive friendships and relationships.