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I4P – Rayne Foundation & LJMU

Evaluating Drama-based Crime Intervention:
Young People’s Affective Engagement with Performance

This is a project carried out with the Royal Court Liverpool Trust to explore how theatre can support young people’s personal and social education and contribute to community safety objectives. The research involved a multi-method approach and included the use of participatory, arts-based methods with young people at a secondary school in Liverpool. The work was funded by The Rayne Foundation and Liverpool John Moores University and the project’s dissemination has been supported by I4P.


Thematic Summary

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Victoria Foster, I4P Associate Director (External Networking), Laura Kelly and Anne Hayes
Terriers is a play written by Maurice Bessman and directed by Miriam Mussa. It was commissioned by the Merseyside Police in response to concerns about gun and gang crime, which intensified locally following the murder of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Croxteth in 2007. Since 2008, Terriers has been seen by over 120,000 young people from secondary and primary schools across Merseyside and the UK. The play is typically followed by a Q&A session led by the actors.

Our research sought to explore qualitatively how Terriers creates, engages and influences audiences, with the intention of understanding the social impact of the intervention, including its potential contribution to crime prevention. A multi-method approach was adopted and included: ethnographic observation of performances and follow-up activities at several venues, including a case study school; participatory, arts-based activities to analyse young people’s experiences and the meanings they give to the Terriers intervention; analysis of RCLT documents, including annual reports; semi-structured interviews with eleven adult stakeholders; and an online survey of schools participating in the 2015-16 Merseyside tour.

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