Have you ever been to a play and walked away challenged? As an actor, we were told that when we are performing Shakespeare, we must make the audience listen. Words are powerful. They can penetrate to the core of our being. In life, we know how words can damage or how words can build us up. I remember playing the role of George in an award-winning play called Remembrance Day. It was a play about reconciliation and helping a teenager on his journey. I remember the reactions from the audience after the show. The play had a huge impact on their lives. Live performance is thrilling. It's an experience. It's a time where young people can lose themselves for a few hours in the world of the play.
We are often told that our environment shapes who we are. When we reach our teenage years we bring with us so many ideas about life. I often hear stories of young people with dreams and ambitions for the future. However whilst in secondary school, these ideas may change and a new journey begins. They may well bring with them anxieties, worries, low self-esteem. In my work as an actor and drama teacher, I have had opportunities to see young people develop their skills. What a privilege it is to see drama changing someone's life. Some school children that I have taught using the performing arts lack confidence but through the exercises, the games, the group work, I get to see their confidence develop. I like to think outside the box when it comes to drama. I understand that theatre has played a huge role in our culture and young people should be proud that we have produced over the centuries some great writers.
There is not a day that goes by when we open a newspaper or switch on the TV and there is a news item about someone being killed by a knife or seriously injured. It is alarming to see the rise in knife crimes and horrifying to hear of so many deaths. In our society, we want to feel safe on the streets.
I grew up in Rock Ferry Wirral and in the 70s my family witnessed a murder. Not long after that, I was diagnosed with speech problems, hyperactivity, and lack of coordination. I was from a working-class background. I was then sent to a hospital in about 1972 and placed in a restraint jacket. However, my mum and dad were entertainers, and because my education suffered, I decided to go back to college at the age of 19 years.