...a drama/performance competition open to all secondary schools in Lancaster, Wyre and Fylde that aim to tackle hard-hitting subject matters surrounding relationships, crime, substance misuse and the various impacts on young people.
The performances are delivered from a young person's perspective, as the pupils' research and develop the compitition entry themselves.
This year's topic: 'positive relationships - we all have choices about the way we behave in relationships'.
The competition is funded by Youth United, and supported and managed by community safety officers in Lancashire County Council and Lancashire Constabulary.
Schools enter a 15 minute performance into the competition heats, which culminate in a grand final showcase event held before a large audience of parents, partner agencies, officials and dignitaries. The winning schools are selected by a judging panel made up of young people from varying backgrounds, based on the topic's message; the performance, the research; the discussions the performance stimulates; how the messages are delivered and the understanding of positive relationships.
Young people need positive, strong, considerate, caring stable relationships with the people closest to them. When young people enter into a negative relationship, they may experience some form of physical, emotional or sexual abuse which impacts on them, whether they are victims, perpetrators, bystanders or friends.
Groups are also asked to show their work in their assemblies to the rest of the school, and in so doing increasing the message from a young people's perspective about the harm to their peers. The peer learning is the key principle behind Northern Beat.
The longer term effects of this project increase awareness of the hard-hitting subjects (which also leads to discussions in school, home-life and amongst themselves) and what the risks associated are.
Some positive feedback and outcomes from participants and teachers involved in Northern Beat:
A pupil who participated: "Northern Beat is a fantastic idea, which empowered young people like myself and allowed us to deliver a message to our peers, family and friends, around a given theme. Many hours were spent researching and discussing the given theme, then putting all the ideas together and creating a powerful performance¿s which enabled young people to deliver their message to other young people; this gave youth a voice that was definitely going to be heard. All the performances excelled and I was really sorry there had to be a winner because each performance was totally amazing, and the messages regarding safety and awareness came across really strong. Some were really hard hitting and made you sit up and take notice.
I really cannot wait for next year Northern Beat, the competition involved hundreds of young people all who I would certainly say, thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience."
Drama/English teacher: "A fantastic opportunity for our students. The students first receive the subject and research it, generating class discussion and we were able to develop our understanding of the subject matter and also the temptations of it. We deliver this drama and message out to the wider school audience through assemblies. Because its something that is real, we brought it to life and is has for more impact as we change from passive to active learners."
Drama teacher: "The Northern Beat provided myself and my students with an invaluable experience of "real theatre" - theatre with a purpose and a specific audience. As a department we took the stimulus and worked on it simultaneously with 4 different classes as a part of their GCSE practical coursework, our groups then competed internally to go through to be judged by the visiting judges of Northern Beat. The coursework marks of this entire cohort have increased significantly due, in the most part, to this competition. Students researched their ideas, but their research went much further, into self harm and teenage suicide, covering many aspects of the PHSE curriculum.
We, as a school, thoroughly enjoyed the experience and think it has profoundly affected the thinking of some of our students on these issues"
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