Merseyside's Police Commissioner has congratulated Liverpool's Royal Court Trust after they secured more than £42,000 of funding for gun crime play Terriers.
Jane Kennedy, who is the play's Ambassador, has welcomed the news that the Trust will receive the funding from Arts Council's England's Strategic Touring programme.
This is the second round of funding from ACE Strategic Touring and it will allow the Trust to tour Terriers across youth and community venues, including Pupil Referral Units and Young Offender Institutions, libraries and theatres across the North West and the Midlands.
First commissioned by Merseyside Police in collaboration with Liverpool Football Club in 2008, Maurice Bessman’s gun crime play aims to reach disengaged young people in areas of high deprivation and/or low engagement who are exposed to gun and gang crime.
The play has been developed over time with the input from young people in such communities and has had a massive impact on young people who have seen the show.
To date over 150,000 young people from secondary schools across Merseyside have seen the play and studied the primary and secondary educational packages. It has been used by Merseyside Police as a way of reaching young people who are traditionally difficult to engage with and has been funded by the Police Commissioner over the last three years through her Crime Prevention Fund.
Jane said: “This is fantastic news and I congratulate everyone involved with the project.
“Terriers is a great initiative which has had a real impact on tens of thousands of young people here on Merseyside and beyond, helping to deter them from becoming involved with anti-social and criminal behaviour. I’m so pleased that many more young people across the country will now have the chance to see it.”
Arts Council England's senior relationship manager Neil Harris said“Since Terriers was commissioned by Merseyside Police in 2008, it has been seen by huge numbers of people.
"Highlighting issues such as gun and gang crime that are faced by young people it is a thought-provoking and moving play and I’m delighted that we have funded it through our Strategic Touring programme again so that it can reach an even larger audience in a range of venues across the North West and Midlands.”
The Royal Court Liverpool Trust's development manager Stacey Lavery said: “This is fantastic news for all of us working on the project. We have seen first-hand the impact that the show has on young people who are at a vulnerable age and coming under a lot of pressure from their peers.
"The show deals with issues around gun and gang crime but also around exploitation of girls in gangs. It sends an important message about how young people have a choice and how they can be valued in society.”
Director of the show Miriam Mussa added: “We’re made up that the Arts Council has been able to support us but the more pleasing thing is that they have recognised the work that we are doing to reach people who are least engaged with theatre. The money will enable us to tour Terriers around the North West and the Midlands and reach out to so many new people.”
The Trust are currently compiling dates for an autumn tour of Terriers and they will be available soon on its website.