Beating bullies through drama

November 08 2013

A dramatic performance brought home to local school children the damaging effects of cyber-bullying.

A DRAMATIC performance brought home to local school children the damaging effects of cyber-bullying.

Educational provider Unique Voice delivered the powerful message to 11 and 12-year-olds at Orchard School Bristol in Monks Park.

The visit started with actors reconstructing situations found to be common in schools. The abuse of Facebook played a major part in the performance. Spiteful statuses were posted, causing distress to the victim and conflict within the group. Examples of physical and mental bullying were also explored within the play.

An interactive workshop was provided afterwards, where children were able to discuss and reflect on the issues brought up in the show.

Claire Farnham, co-founder of Unique Voice, said: "The reality is that young people are using social media - there appears to be no escaping it.

"Therefore, our performances and workshops are about moving with the times, and drawing attention to the effect social media can have on children. We also want to make children aware that if they're affected by bullying, there's always a solution."

By working alongside schools, Unique Voice not only attempts to address what impact bullying has and how it can be tackled, but also the reasons behind why children bully.

Orchard School has been proactive in tackling abuse, with anti-bullying champion groups created to support other children within the school. An anti-bullying charter has also been displayed throughout which lists nine ways in which children can report bullying.

Kelly Parsons, Orchard School's beat officer, said: "I can see that children are relating to the different characters within the performance, and there have been children coming forward afterwards.

"For me, the cyber element is huge - what happens in school often continues at home."

Kelly promotes an 'open door' policy, where children are encouraged to speak to her at any time about issues they may have. She added: "It's important to build children's confidence when reporting incidents of bullying."

Unique Voice's Triple R anti-bullying tour, which stands for Recognise, Report, Resolve, will be running through to December, visiting various other local schools, including Fairfield High School in Horfield on November 25.

Actors reconstructing school scenes