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Monday, 29 October 2012

Violent play hopes to teach kids about the dangers of gangs and inspire peace

This is Local London

1:22pm Monday 29th October 2012 in By Nikki Jarvis

Violent play hopes to teach kids about the dangers of gangs and inspire peace

A powerful Shakespearian play is being catapulted into the 21st century to tell a story of mistrust, jealousy and paying the ultimate price for getting involved with gangs.

Othello is being put on at the Brockley Jack Studio Theatre until Saturday, November 10.

And Culturcated Theatre Company will be collecting funds for the Jimmy Mizen Foundation after each performance.

Jimmy, who was murdered through a mindless act of violence when he was 16-years-old in 2008, is now firmly in the minds of the production’s cast after his mum Margaret came to visit them on October 16.

Jennifer Lunn, director, said: “We are using the original text of Shakespeare but the play is set on a London housing estate now, the idea being that we are looking at young people and the violent subculture they are living and experiencing.

“It’s not a new phenomenon, young people killing each other.

“It’s always happened throughout history.

“We don’t want to demonise young people, but think about what we can do to change this.

“We ask questions, we don’t provide any answers.”

The play also introduces social networking to Othello, making the production relevant to teenagers studying the text at GCSE level today.

Jennifer added: “We are exploring the ideas of jealousy and reputation and how these aspects of growing up in London today puts huge pressure on young people and may be at the bottom of some of the violent acts we see happening all too often.

“We are working with the Jimmy Mizen Foundation as part of our hope to raise awareness and promote discussion about the issues involved.”

Jennifer was inspired to link the production of Othello with the charity straight away.

“Jimmy was killed after his 16th birthday when he’d gone out to buy his first lottery ticket.” She said.

“He went into the butcher’s and this young man came in and threw a glass plate at him.

“A tiny little shard cut the artery in his neck and he died in his brother’s arms.

“Margaret was amazing when she came to talk to the cast, telling us how she felt.

“She has let go of her anger and the Foundation is all about promoting positive change.

“The collections we take will be going towards rewarding young people for doing positive things in their communities.

“She was really enthusiastic about using the arts and drama as a way of building up confidence in young people and communicating messages.”

The cast is made up of trained and untrained young actors.

Tickets cost £13 and £10 for concessions.

Visit for bookings.

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