Very few people have a clear view of extremism – what it is; how it presents itself; its cumulative impacts; and its range of consequences for different individuals, families and communities. Inevitably, this is a difficult subject to explore with young people. Complex ethical issues of culture, faith and trust underpin many of these difficulties.
At Second Wave in Deptford, we have focused our efforts on strengthening the critical awareness of young people themselves – allowing them to arrive, in their own ways, at a balanced view of these issues – and using drama-based skills to achieve this. Our Shadow Games project is the result of these efforts – a positive contribution by young people to a wider ongoing debate.
Key Features of this Approach
- Exploring the power of ideas and the power of language – particularly the language of persuasion – through aspects of narrative and counter-narrative.
- Recognising the susceptibility of young people and how they can be influenced or drawn into risk-taking situations by people they want to trust.
- Working from first-hand experience at a local level – finding ways of bringing people together – not pushing them further apart – in order to address issues of community cohesion.
- Acknowledging the reality of violence and the power of non-violence when communities feel divided against themselves. (Identifying significant links between victims and perpetrators of violence.)
- Working together with young people, community organisations, faith groups, schools, colleges and other agencies – to protect shared values and establish strong local partnerships.
- Identifying the importance of youth-centred collaboration – combining representatives of the local authority, the police and young people themselves – in a safe space for building co-operative and resilient relationships.
- Offering no simple answers – encouraging our audience to arrive at their own conclusions – to raise their own questions and challenge ideas – in response to the narrative and characters presented in Shadow Games.
- Identifying rights, responsibilities and freedoms of an inclusive community – how citizens actively affirm these characteristics, individually and collectively, by contributing to the life of that community.
© Second Wave Centre for Youth Arts – Shadow Games Project – 2016