Playhouse short warns of descent into life of crime

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A short film produced by the Playhouse Street Talk project in partnership with the PSNI aims to warn young people about the impact of crime.

‘Grey Skies’ tells the story of 15 year old Mark who has just been expelled from school.

“We meet Mark in an older drug dealer’s house, where he’s persuaded to take drugs, and start selling them,” Elaine Forde from the Street Talk project said.

“Simultaneously we meet a police officer on duty, and then off duty having breakfast with his five year old daughter and wife. Eventually Mark and the police officer meet in a dramatic scene which shapes Marks life.”

After a recent screening of ‘Grey Skies’, the young people participated in workshops which explored the key themes within the film including; legal highs, child sexual exploitation, police and negative relationships. The workshops were facilitated by youth workers, police officers and artists.

“The young people were fully engaged in the film and described it as ‘very powerful,’” Elaine said.

“Some of the young people said they hadn’t thought about police officers being married, having kids or doing normal everyday activities, they said they only see the uniform.”

Nicola Barr Probation Board NI Area Manager said: “The film was professionally made and very thought provoking. It is a great way of highlighting the issues faced by both the PSNI and our young people to promote mutual understanding which will hopefully foster better relationships within the City and beyond.”

‘Grey Skies’ is based on the experiences of many of the young people participating in The Playhouse Street Talk project which encourages young people to use the arts to explore their attitudes and experiences of the police.

The film will be used as a learning tool by police officers, teachers, youth workers and artists to explore the complexities of modern day policing, and the way in which crime affects the families of both offenders and police officers.

It will be used to open up a debate that allows at risk young people to consider policing and criminality within their communities.

The film was funded by Department of Culture Arts and Leisure and the PSNI.

For further information about Grey Skies or Street Talk contact Elaine at elaine@derryplayhouse.co.uk