Pupils learn a very powerful lesson

Vice Principal Stephen Fleming with Claire Hutchinson, Diageo,  Keith Buchanan,  MLA and pupils Rebecca Stewart and Daniel Brown
Vice Principal Stephen Fleming with Claire Hutchinson, Diageo, Keith Buchanan, MLA and pupils Rebecca Stewart and Daniel Brown
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Pupils at Magherafelt High School had a powerful lesson last week, when they witnessed the reality of alcohol misuse played-out on-stage.

Over 100 pupils and staff watched a performance of ‘Smashed’, a theatre alcohol awareness and education programme led by Collingwood Learning and sponsored by Diageo Northern Ireland.

The cast of ‘Smashed’ delivered a highly engaging show to pupils, telling the story of a group of friends whose misuse of alcohol ends in tragedy. The production explores the causes and consequences of alcohol misuse and helps equip students with tools for understanding and resisting peer influence and supports them in making responsible decisions.

An innovative programme, ‘Smashed’ was designed in consultation with young people and teachers. It includes a live theatre piece delivered by three actors along with an interactive workshop, post-performance discussion and teaching resources endorsed by The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations, and Assessment in Northern Ireland.

Mr Fleming, Vice Principal of Magherafelt High School, said:“The ‘Smashed’ programme portrays a very important message around responsible drinking and the dangers of underage drinking. We have had a really positive response from students - everyone who watched the show was engaged by the power of the performance. Having the cast of ‘Smashed’ come into our school and help to inform and educate our young people around this important issue is an opportunity that we value.”

Jorge Lopes, Country Director for Diageo Northern Ireland, sponsors of the ‘Smashed’ programme said: “We believe in educating young people to help them make informed decisions about alcohol consumption in the future. ‘Smashed’ forms part of our broader programme of activities to tackle alcohol misuse. In the last few years, Smashed has toured 57 schools in the greater Belfast, Derry~Londonderry, Fermanagh, Strabane, Lagan Valley, North Down, South Down and Strangford areas reaching over 8,000 year 9 pupils. We have had a really positive response from the schools we have visited – both from the teachers and pupils – and look forward to bringing the programme back again early next year.”