York St John University play ‘It’s Not OK’ reaches national audience

Bec Horner

Bec Horner

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York St John University play ‘It’s Not OK’ reaches national audience

A play highlighting the risks and concerns associated with child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, that was written and created in York, is about to be translated into a national online film and learning resource for the NSPCC.

Seen live already by over twenty five thousand young people across the country, the play ‘It’s Not OK’  highlights issues around grooming & gaming, sexting and youth online safety.

Following the lives of four young characters and the potential risks of child sexual abuse, the play offers young people realistic ways to explore this difficult subject and strategies how to seek support on them.

For example in the play Becky and Harry have a blossoming relationship and tell each other everything. Except Becky is finding it hard to tell him about her Mum’s new boyfriend and what he does to her. The play subtly shows situations like this and the desire the characters have to speak out against the abuse.

Rachel Conlon, senior lecturer at York St John University and one of the creators of the play, told Bec from Social Vision “The possibility for intervention comes in the moment when you see a child recognising a situation while watching the play unfolding and they realise, possibly for the first time, that what is happening to them doesn’t feel ok, is not right.”

“We want young people to feel that they can act upon their feelings and tell someone, as support is there for them.”

Jules Dorey Richmond, co creator of the play, also told me what a York Secondary school teacher had said on seeing the play “We often make the big mistake of informing our young people of dangers but giving them no understanding of how to resolve situations, yet seeing the play gave students a number of solutions for how to resolve issues.”

With a growing demand for the need for this work for safeguarding children in light or recent cases in Rochdale, Telford and Rotherham ‘It’s Not OK’ was written & created in 2015 following a commission by the York Safe Guarding Children’s Board & the NSPCC.

Helen Westerman, Campaigns Manager, NSPCC, explained:“This play has been developed to engage young people in some challenging issues around child sexual abuse and exploitation. The York St John University theatre team deliver some powerful messages in subtle and thought-provoking ways providing 11-12 year olds with an opportunity to explore these issues in a safe and supportive environment.’

The play shows another example of York St John University’s core mission around social justice and community engagement.

If you are interested in finding out more information about the play, workshops and resources please contact:

Rachel Conlon and Jules Dorey Richmond (School of Performance & Media Production, York St John University)

Tel: 01904 876328            r.conlon@yorksj.ac.uk             j.doreyrichmond@yorksj.ac.uk

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