August 6, 2014
Between 21st July 2014 we began the development process for our new show about cyberbullying (‘Friend Request’). We were commissioned to create some initial show material for Flux Liverpool Arts Festival. To help us do this, we ran ‘Cyberbullying Awareness Week’, a week of Drama Workshops with over 75 students across Liverpool. The young people discussed the causes and consequences of cyberbullying, examined factual sources (such as articles and interviews) and explored techniques for devising their own performance.
Groups from around the city each helped develop a different part of the final show. Students at the Merseyside Youth Association (The Space Project) improvised short scripts and contributed ideas for scenes, students at Wirral Youth Theatre devised performances based on contrasting factual sources and explored how the order events are presented can affect empathy and audience opinion, the So Talented Academy choreographed movement sequences and students from Edge Hill contributed film and video material.
The aim of the project was to encourage mutual respect and empathy between strangers. By working together towards a common goal – even though they might never meet – we hope that the young people of Liverpool feel united and inspired in the fight against Cyberbullying.
The material created during Cyberbullying Awareness Week was adapted into a 40-minute performance using professional actors. The show combined much of the student’s original material, factual research and filmed inserts and animated sequences. ‘Friend Request’ was performed at Tate Liverpool on Wednesday 30th July 2014 at Tate Liverpool.
This original performance forms the basis of our latest PSHE school’s tour. We intend to continue the development of ‘Friend Request’, running Cyberbullying Awareness Workshops across the UK and constantly adding new, authentic material to the show.