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Issue 474, 3 December 2001

Fire educational theatre project

The Fire Educational Theatre Project is a joint partnership between West Yorkshire Fire Service, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and The University of Leeds.

This is the second year that both West and South Yorkshire Fire Services have joined resources to commission a theatre company to tour a play and workshop to schools, highlighting the issues of arson.

This year however, the Theatre Company are students from The University of Leeds. The West Yorkshire Police Authority, who for the past six years have commissioned The University of Leeds to produce similar Educational Theatre projects, prompted this new partnership.

Three courses within the university collectively produce and tour the play and workshop:

BA (Hons) Performance Management
BA (Hons) Theatre Acting
BA (Hons) Theatre Studies

West and South Yorkshire Fire Services have targeted schools from known 'hot spot' areas prone to arson attacks and are keen to develop and build links with these schools.

Project Objectives

In West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire around 60% of fires are identified as deliberate. The Fire Education Tour is just one of the initiatives from West and South Fire Services, responding to this growing problem.

The aim of the project is to promote fire safety to young people 'face on', in a way that they can understand and relate to. Though both the performance and workshop they aim to engage young people in debate and exploration of the dangers associated with fire and arson, encouraging them to consider the risks involved. Fire Safety Support Officers will be present at each school taking part in the question and answer section of the workshop.

The Play is between 25 and 30 minutes. This will be followed by 3 concurrent workshops lasting up to an hour.

The production will tour to 20 schools in total, reaching over 4000 year seven students:

10 schools in West Yorkshire from 3 December 2001 to 14 December 2001
10 schools in South Yorkshire from 21 January 2002 to 1 February 2002

Synopsis of the Play

A gang of young people, led by 'Bez' are introduced. They spend their evenings doing graffiti, hurling abuse at each other and attempting to drive Kevs' older bothers' car.

The gang hang-out at the back of this garage where the car is that they drive around and learn to drive in. This is a regular occurrence, until 'Shell' damages the car while learning to drive it. Bez decides that the gang needs to get hold of another car - but not just any car.

The gang goes in search of another car, break in and steal it. They decide that the best place to go with it is the school playing field, and are soon causing havoc in the car on the school premises. As the evening draws to a close, they are about to leave the car in the school playground, until 'Ru' points out that they will get caught the car has their fingerprints all over it. The only thing to do is to set it on fire.

The gang stand back admiring their handy work, sending flames everywhere and quickly spreading to the school building. As the Fire Brigade arrives, the gang taunts them and ambushes the crews, throwing stones at them. During the course of this and as the fire worsens Ru and Shell run away, leaving the others. Suddenly they realise that their friend Moose is missing.

Unbeknown to them, he has become trapped in the spreading flames and subsequently dies. We leave the gang as we met them, realising the consequences of their actions knowing too that if they hadn't have prevented the fire crews from doing their job, their friend might have been saved.

Tour Schedule


Monday 3 December Hanson School, Bradford
Tuesday 4 December Bradford Community College, Bradford
Wednesday 5 December Tong School, Bradford
Thursday 6 December Carlton Bolling College, Bradford
Friday 7 December Thornton Grammar School, Bradford
Monday 10 December John Smeeton Community High School, Leeds
Tuesday 11 December Agnes Stewart High School, Leeds
Wednesday 12 December Copperfields College, Leeds
Thursday 13 December Matthew Murray High School, Leeds
Friday 14 December Cockburn High School, Leeds

South Yorkshire Schools

Bradfield School
East Hill Secondary School
Abbeydale Grange
Oakwood Comprehensive School
Robert Ogden School
Wath Comprehensive School
Myrtle Springs

Three more schools in South Yorkshire have yet to be confirmed.

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