Acting students from City College Norwich are set to take their thought-provoking production, ‘You Reap What You Sow’, to around 2,000 Year 7 pupils in a bid to cut avoidable injuries and fatalities on the county’s roads.
The play, devised in collaboration with Norfolk County Council’s Road Safety Team, is targeted at an age group known to be particularly vulnerable. Following the transition from primary to high school, 11, 12 and 13 year olds have a significantly increased risk of being involved in road accidents as they begin travelling to and from school independently.
A series of hard-hitting scenarios play out the devastating consequences that can result from not wearing a seat belt, cycling without a helmet, skateboarding in the road, and crossing the road whilst distracted by using a mobile phone and listening to headphones.
To ensure maximum realism, the students’ background research included talking to a Police Family Liaison Officer and a bereaved mother whose son was killed in a motorcycle accident. The students also worked closely with the County Council’s Road Safety Team, continuing a successful collaboration that is now in its 11th year.
Twenty-three Level 3 Acting Diploma students will be supported in the production by fellow students on the college’s Level 3 Production Arts Diploma. A busy schedule will see the students take the production to 13 Norfolk high schools in the space of just 8 days, reaching approximately 2,000 Year 7 pupils.
Leanne Fridd, Acting Lecturer, City College Norwich, said:
“The students have done a great job with the script, which interweaves moments that are more light-hearted with some very emotional and hard-hitting scenes. It’s a very engaging way to bring these important road safety messages to the age group. If just one pupil thinks twice, and makes a different choice after watching the play, that could be a young life saved.
“This is also great experience for our acting and production arts students. They not only get to experience what it is like working on a live brief for a client, but also the realities of an intensive touring schedule. It’s hard work, just as it is for professional actors with a touring theatre company, but it’s also very rewarding.”
Iain Temperton, Road Safety Officer, Norfolk County Council, added:
“Young people can often think they’re invincible but road casualty numbers show that 12-15 year olds in particular are at greater risk on our roads. Targeting students in such a way through the platform of theatre is a great way of communicating such a hard-hitting road safety message. We really hope it will be a talking point amongst peers once they’ve seen the show.”