‘If you loved me you would’ is the latest production created by the Last Minute Theatre Company, which is part of Wirral Youth Theatre/Youth Arts and the Universal Youth Support Service.
First hand feedback from young people & professionals, and startling national statistics, revealed that relationship abuse amongst teenagers is a growing concern.
The play aims to help young people consider what is healthy and unhealthy in a relationship. The production, funded by the Early Intervention Grant, is being performed between Tuesday 15th and Thursday 17th May to young people from schools and organisations across Wirral at Pilgrim Street Arts Centre, Birkenhead.
Teenwirral went along to see the production, let us set the scene.......
'My friends said possessive, I said he's caring.
They said controlling, I said looking after me.
They said paranoid, I said insecure
They said abuse, I said love.'
Lisa and Chris meet at a party, and are soon all loved up. Spending all her time with him, she sees less and less of her friends. Chris seems to want Lisa all to himself and it starts with him constantly checking what she’s doing. He begins to make it difficult for her to have anything to do with her friends and criticises how she looks and what she wears.
Her friends sense that she’s not happy and wonder why she’s with him. But Chris is a skilled manipulator and Lisa is left feeling that it’s all her fault, that she should be more considerate towards his feelings and that without him, she’s pretty much worthless. With each situation, Chris’ anger increases until it explodes into a physical assault which leaves Lisa lying hurt on the floor and in floods of tears.
Want to know what happened? Carry on reading………….
Teenwirral chatted with a couple of people who attended the production. Demi and Robert, who are studying towards the Performing Arts National Diploma at Wirral Met, had this to say:
‘It was a powerful storyline and portrayed really well. It was hard-hitting, particularly how the girl who was being abused was taking the blame. Her boyfriend was constantly having a go at her and putting her down and she ended up feeling that she was the one who must be doing something wrong and she lost all her confidence.
Relationship abuse does happen so it’s nice to see someone’s addressed it. If young people can get to find out about this sort of thing before they get into a relationship, it might help them recognise abuse, or even stop them behaving a certain way. It was really good.’
The performance was created following research and consultation with young people and professionals from various organisations. The young cast have been involved in devising the piece and have also undergone training to gain a better understanding of the issues it covers.
Teenwirral caught up with the cast after the performance and here’s what they had to say:
‘We decided to do it because it’s something that’s not really spoken about. It’s easy to think that relationship abuse only happens to older people, or married couples.
When we were researching for the production, we talked to people from the Zero Centre who had experienced abuse first hand. It was really shocking to hear what they’d gone through and what some people, particularly lads, had been doing.
We really want to raise awareness about relationship abuse, that it can – and does – happen to young people. Hopefully, by seeing the show, someone might identify with what’s happening and realise that they’re in a relationship which is draining away their confidence, or someone might see it from the other perspective, and spot the signs that they’re actually being controlling and abusive. Either way, there are lots of ways which a young person can get help – they don’t have to go through it alone and they really don’t have to put up with it.’
So how did it end for Lisa? Her best friend Sophie found her after Chris’ attack, and helped her realise that the problem was not with her, but with Chris. Sophie was able to offer support, and help her with her next steps, which for Lisa included getting away from Chris, and telling her Mum what had been going on.
Are you, or someone you know, suffering from relationship abuse? There are plenty of places you can turn to. Here are some of them:
Response – at the Callister Centre, 19 Argyle Street, Birkenhead
Response is a free and confidential support service for young people aged between 13-19
They offer crisis support, support with drugs & alcohol and housing, as well as an outreach service.
There is a drop in available daily for housing from 9am to 4pm, and a counselling drop in on Tuesdays from 1pm to 6pm. If you need help or support, get in touch at a drop in, or by phone or email:
Phone: 0151 666 4123 or email: email@example.com
Barnardo's - Wirral Young Carers, St Mary’s Building, Solar Campus, 235 Leasowe Road, Wallasey CH45 8RE
Support service for relationship abuse 16-18 - Barnardo's offers support services for young people aged 16-18 who have been affected by relationship abuse/domestic violence
Phone: 0151 637 6173 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Free, confidential sexual health services and advice for young people in Wirral.
Phone: 0151 670 0177 or visit www.brook.org.uk
Online support and advice
169-171 Laird Street, Birkenhead CH41 0AA
Aims to support women, young people and children from any background who have experienced or are in fear of domestic abuse.
Phone: 0151 670 1528 or email email@example.com
You can also use the drop in service at your school and speak to either your school nurse or youth worker.
If you'd like to get involved with Wirral Youth Theatre, you can find out more about them and the activities they run in our What's On section. They are offering free follow up workshops to explore
the issues in the play. These will be delivered mid May until the end of June, and can be booked by interested schools and youth units, please phone them on 0151 647 3160 to discuss.