The Lyric Theatre is now in its fifth year with Blackout. In association with the Department of Justice NI and Hydebank Wood College this progressive project is aimed at reducing crime and antisocial behavior by developing awareness in young people of the possible consequences of taking drugs and alcohol. This project, an initiative by the Creative Learning department at the Lyric Theatre which employs emerging actors & artists, is currently touring to more than 40 schools across Northern Ireland. Performances and workshops will be delivered to schools and community groups to encourage young people to think about the possible outcomes of certain behaviour and to seek help and support. To date the project has been delivered to over 13,000 young people.
Blackout, tells the story of a young man (James) from a dysfunctional family whose personal circumstances and reactions to adversity lead him into drugs and alcohol. The death of his grandfather results in a path which results in charges, court and a possible custodial sentence. The high-energy production is unique in that it is followed by a question and answer session with a panel of three young people from Hydebank Wood College who have first-hand experience of being in custody and the judicial system.
The central message of the initiative is to portray the implications of making the wrong decision, and to encourage young people to talk and speak up before it is too late. To this end, it is accompanied by a social media strategy and an Instagram account encouraging young people to discuss their issues and directing them to organisations which can help.