Leading figures in the fight against youth crime will gather in Liverpool tonight for a special double-bill performance of acclaimed crime drama Terriers, which warns teenagers of the dangers of getting involved with gangs and guns.
Senior representatives from Merseyside Police, the High Sheriff’s Office, Arts Council England, Liverpool City Region, Liverpool John Moores University, NHS England and Crimestoppers UK are all due to attend the public performance of Terriers and its sister production, Terriers 2 - Eve’s Story, at the Royal Court Theatre on Wednesday (25th September 2019).
Written by Maurice Bessman and directed by Miriam Mussa, Terriers was originally commissioned by Merseyside Police’s Chief Constable in 2008. Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy has been an Ambassador for the play since taking office in 2012 and has continued to support the production through her Crime Prevention Fund and further funding has now been provided by the newly-formed Merseyside violence reduction unit.
To date more than 230,000 young people from secondary schools across Merseyside have seen the play and studied the primary and secondary educational packages and the production has also been granted Arts Council England funding to tour in other parts of the UK. Building on the success of Terriers, in 2018 a sequel was produced developing the character of ‘Eve’, a young woman being drawn into gang life.
Both productions speak directly to young people to bring home the stark reality of becoming involved in serious crime, as well as addressing issues such as drugs, exploitation and sexual violence.
Now senior figures involved in tackling youth crime will see for themselves the impact of the production as Terriers and Terriers 2 before the production starts another tour of schools across Merseyside.
Jane said: “The VIP night launching another season of Terriers touring across Merseyside is always a highlight in my calendar. For more than 11 years, this acclaimed production has been making people laugh and cry, while encouraging young people to really think about the consequences of their actions. It is testimony to the power, relevance and impact of Terriers that is still going strong more than a decade after it was first commissioned by Merseyside Police.
“Terriers is a tried and tested crime prevention tool. It is a hard hitting piece of believable drama about guns and gangs that speaks to young people in a way they understand and in a way that really hits home. It brings to life the far-reaching consequences of getting involved with gangs and the horrific consequences of using a gun or knife. Terriers is also a showcase for the talent of the Royal Court’s Youth Theatre and the playwright Maurice Bessman
“Terriers and Terriers 2 have the power to help a young person make better choices and ultimately save lives. I want to get their powerful messages across to as many young people as possible, on Merseyside and beyond. I am delighted that so many high-profile figures in the fight against youth crime are heading to Liverpool to see for themselves the powerful impact of Terriers before it sets out on another tour of schools across the region.”
Among those attending the performance will be Deputy Detective Constable Serena Kennedy and Assistant Chief Constable Ian Critchley, Lord Lieutenant Mark Blundell, ex-Liverpool footballer Howard Gayle, Professor Nigel Weatherill, Chairman, Crimestoppers UK as well as young people from youth clubs, community centres and youth theatres across the city.
Assistant Chief Constable Ian Critchley said: “It is fantastic to be attending tonight’s performance of Terriers and Terriers 2, which has been seen by many thousands of young people over the years, and continues to have a massive impact on pupils and their families alike.
“We remain determined, working alongside many different agencies, to tackle gun, knife and gang crime and deter young people from becoming involved with gangs. There are choices young people can make and there are people and organisations who can help them make the right decisions.
“Terriers brings home the stark reality that people die and are seriously injured when guns and knives are used and shows the devastating impact that these issues have on individuals and their families. The wider the audience we get this across to, the more likely we are to prevent some vulnerable young people from becoming criminally exploited."
Following tonight’s double-bill performance, Terriers will commence a seven-week tour around schools in Merseyside. Next month, the production will also take its powerful message to the Old Bailey and City Hall in London.
Liverpool’s Royal Court Chief Executive Gillian Miller said: “We are delighted that the PCC Jane Kennedy is launching another year of the Terriers Project with a special VIP event at the theatre.
“It has been a year of real development for Terriers as we launch a new digital resource to accompany both Terriers and Eve’s Story on tour. The resource will give us and our stakeholders instant feedback from young people about how the issues in the plays impact their lives helping us to offer more safeguarding support to vulnerable young people not just in Merseyside but throughout the UK.
“This year we have secured additional funding from Merseyside Violence Reduction Unit which will ensure that even more young people in Merseyside can experience Terriers and Terriers 2; Eve’s Story. We are confident that this experience will help young people to make the right decisions and help make our communities safer.
“We are extremely grateful for the continuing support we receive to make this project happen from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Merseyside Police, the Violence Reduction Unit, Curious Minds and Arts Council England.
Tickets for Terriers and Terriers 2 – Eve’s Story on Wednesday 25 to Friday 27 September are available for £5 for Terriers or £6 for the double bill from the Royal Court Box Office on the website at www.royalcourtliverpool.com.
Details and tickets for the school performances are available at www.terriersplay.co.uk.