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• ENDING HOMOPHOBIA THROUGH EDUCATION •
OUTLOUD ACROSS MANCHESTER SCHOOLS 1,500 PUPILS in Manchester see groundbreaking play challenging homophobia and bullying.
“The production is very powerful, especially the Matthew Shepherd story, and the actors are very professional. We could actually see on the faces of the girls, the powerful impact which the production had on them”. - Marian Catterill, Head Teacher, North Manchester High School for Girls. ‘The training our staff have received from the Exceeding Expectations Team and the positive reactions from our pupils to the Hope Theatre production OUTLOUD have provided us with a firm foundation on which to embed our commitment to tackle homophobia in our school community.’ - Sharon Austin, Assistant Head Teacher, Chorlton High School.
Inside - Find out how your school can be part of the initiative to ‘End Homophobia through Education’.
NEW PLAY SHOWCASES HOMOPHOBIA AND BULLYING IN MANCHESTER SCHOOLS Green High School in Wythenshawe. Year 9 pupils watched the half-hour production, took part in a pupil workshop with Lesbian and Gay Youth Manchester discussing the issue of homophobia, followed by signing the Exceeding Expectations’ charter declaring that they were opposed to homophobic and racist language and bullying. Newall Green pupils found the activities very effective. “It gave everybody a big shock,” said one 13-year-old pupil. “The Matthew Shepard video nearly made me cry.” Although part of the film is very moving the rest of the film and theatre production is very empowering as Sara Rowland, PSHE Teacher at Newall Green High School points out. “The performance is an effective way of dealing with a sensitive issue. Students’ opinions and beliefs were challenged in an enjoyable way.”
Schools across Manchester are now able to benefit from a new play commissioned by Exceeding Expectations that tells the stories of local young LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT) peoples’ experiences of homophobia and the effects of homophobic bullying in the city’s schools.
homophobia. Author and director Adam Zane uses professional actors to discuss homophobia as experienced by the young people through live performance and film.
The play is called OUTLOUD and is performed by members of Hope Theatre Company. Using the words of pupils interviewed exclusively for the piece, it tells the story of young people experiencing and confronting
This specially commissioned film is available on DVD for schools to support their PSHE curriculum work. After a pilot was run throughout 2007, the plays inaugural performance took place in Newall
OUTLOUD also features an extract from a powerful short film about the murder of Matthew Shepard a young American boy who suffered a savage beating due to homophobic bullying which led to his death.
It seems that the play is hitting home with young people’s own experiences in other schools too “My sister is a lesbian and she’s just a normal sister but she had to move school ‘cos she was bullied so much” commented one year 8 pupil at another school. One pupil from Southern Cross School said, ”I feel relieved ‘cos the school can now
tell people to stop using ‘GAY’ as an abusive word”. John O’Brien. The Deputy Head of Southern Cross School points out: “The benefit of the play in our school will hopefully be a greater acceptance of pupils who are lesbian and gay - and the kids need that”.
“Staff have expressed how much they had enjoyed OUTLOUD and how valuable it is” says Jean Rose Head of Personal Development and Assistant Head of North Manchester High School for Girls. She admits “We as adults - as teachers - think homophobic bullying is a very tough topic to tackle but young people don’t necessarily see it in the same light. I have found they are much more open minded in some ways, whereas the teaching staff feel if they are going to tackle an area like this - it is going to open a whole can of worms that teachers would rather keep closed. The young people in our school here have already fed back in large numbers how much they got out of OUTLOUD and how powerful they found it as well as saying they now understand the issues behind it.”
DATES FOR NEXT OUTLOUD T.I.E PERFORMANCHES The second phase of ‘OUTLOUD’ theatre in education will take place between Monday 9th June 2008 – Friday 20th June 2008. If you would like your school to receive the free support package which includes the OUTLOUD play, pupil workshops, staff training, policy support and development and resources - including the OUTLOUD DVD, posters, leaflets etc please telephone: 07866 445985 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS OUTLOUD - A REVIEW
The OUTLOUD cast members Steve Myott, Chris Michael Hall, Zoe Iqbal and Erin Shanagher with show Director Adam Zane (inset).
Theatre in Education (T.I.E): three words that can strike fear into any self-respecting teenager’s heart. Trying to entertain kids while communicating a message can often have a whiff of the desperate about it. Adam Zane’s OUTLOUD, however, can hardly be accused of being out of touch. The product of a year’s research and interviews with LGBT youth and pupils within schools
“After one performance I was approached by a student who wanted to thank us for bringing the play to her school,” - Adam Zane, Director
around Manchester, it literally speaks the language of young people. The actors serve as mouthpieces, giving a voice to the young people whose voices would not normally be heard. The play neatly acknowledges any preconceptions of educational plays in its opening scene as Chris Hall, playing the part of Zane himself, announces to a trio of bored teenage pupils that he wants to talk about homophobia. The emotional climax hits halfway through with an uncompromising short film about the death of gay student Matthew Shepard. Despite the shocking nature of the film, the rest of the play’s tone is accessible and optimistic. The play’s second half concludes with uplifting anecdotes about young LGBT people being celebrated by their families and peers before closing with footage from Manchester’s Pride parade.
OUTLOUD offers strong performances from its four cast members; Erin Shanagher, Zoe Iqbal, Steve Myott and Chris Michael Hall. One of the unexpected results of the play is that the actors are often approached by LGBT students after performances. “After one performance I was approached by a student who wanted to thank us for bringing the play to her school,” - says Director Adam Zane. “She said that she was a lesbian and couldn’t tell anyone in the school. She said that she was pleased with the audience’s reaction to the play and that she felt more able to confront homophobia after seeing the play. This was a young person who felt empowered, which is exactly what we were hoping for”. At Ewing School, an after-show workshop led to over 95% of the secondary school voting for a zero-
tolerance policy on homophobia and racism in their school. The Head-teacher Pat Derbyshire then helped lead a discussion on how to implement real change and promised to work with the governors to develop further guidance regarding homophobia to their school’s policy. There is still a long way to go...we have witnessed and heard a lot of different opinions - not always supportive - in Manchester schools but we have also seen a lot of young people wanting to support this initiative and find ways to end discrimination in their schools. “There is a line in the play where someone says “I don’t want this to be something where we talk about it for a week and then nothing happens.... What is the next step?” and I think that’s the key here - What is the next step? “ - Adam Zane Review by Sarah McDermott
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Lesbian and Gay Youth Manchester
This has included several activities including a question and answer session, which frankly addresses pupils questions about LGBT life. As part of the workshop, 18 year old Laura Critchley stands in the middle of the circle of pupils and talks to them about her experiences of coming out as bisexual in school.
Myrtle Finley, L.G.Y.M volunteer “The content of the Young People’s sessions work really well with the pupils in the schools feeling free to ask us questions and being absorbed in discussions.
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Following performances of the OUTLOUD play, SOME PUPILS have been taking part in a workshop organised by Lesbian and Gay Youth Manchester (LGYM).
The freedom and support from the high schools that invited us in, together with the support from the Exceeding Expectations team, really aided our confidence with the pupil sessions in schools given that we are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ending Homophobia, young people ourselves.
Having only been a member of LGYM since December 2007, Laura was particularly nervous about speaking to the group. “We were only expecting one class but I ended up in the middle of about three classes,” she said. “It was very nerve-wracking and I was literally shaking. But getting a round of applause at the end was fantastic.”
It can be very difficult to stand in front of 25-40 pupils and define yourself as ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’, bi-sexual’ or ‘transsexual’, and it can be equally challenging for some pupils to hear that fact! I feel our sessions work really well and they also complement the OUTLOUD drama.
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Amelia Lee, LGYM Youth Worker “The small group workshops worked really well giving the young people the time and opportunity to really understand the issues.
We, as young people from Lesbian Gay Youth Manchester (LGYM) are very eager to be involved in schools work again for the next phase of Exceeding Expectations in June and look forward to more Manchester High School inviting us into meet their pupils.”
The real change comes from tying in this new awareness with policy and staff training – it’s so exciting to be involved with a project like this which is the first of its kind nationally and our young people at LGYM are getting a lot out of the initiative in terms of personal development and confidence for themselves as well”.
Liz Wilson, L.G.Y.M volunteer Manchester “It’s really really interesting, it’s quite Primary Care Trusts a challenging type of experience, it’s definitely eye opening and the Manchester Public Health Development Services realisation that there is a lot to do but its really good to be here helping with the first steps in Manchester’s High Schools - I’m actually starting to feel like we are making a difference.”
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CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS INITIATIVE: Telephone: 07866 445985 or email: email@example.com
MORE OF WHAT THE SCHOOLS SAID ABOUT ‘OUTLOUD’
Whalley Range High School “The theatre group was great; I think it was the best TIE I’ve seen. It was really well targeted and got the messages across. We would love to have them in again for staff and other years and will be getting that organised.” Jane Townsend, Senior Assistant Head Teacher. “I thought the play was really good - I teach RE and it’s not on the syllabus at the moment but that is going to change so it will definitely help “. RE Teacher.
BURNAGE HIGH SCHOOL SOUTHERN CROSS SCHOOL “I’ve never seen our pupils so rapt in their attention, they were totally enthralled and actually listening!” John O’Brien, Deputy Head.
“I thought it was really good, I thought the presentation of ideas based on the facts through verbatim theatre was really effective because it kept the kids thinking and listening. I can see why the whole issue could be challenging to some adults and some students but it was carefully handled and presented”. Tess Mcdermott - Head of House and Healthy Schools Lead.
“The girls I spoke to really like the Matthew Shepherd bit and they like the language and the fact the performance, the actors didn’t patronise them - we get an awful lot of people patronising them”. Whalley Range Teacher
EWING SCHOOL CHORLTON HIGH SCHOOL NORTH RIDGE High School “I thought the drama piece was great, our young people grasped the message definitely and that was clear from the workshops they were involved in afterwards. I was quite surprised at some of their responses, they were much more positive than I thought they would be - so that was good, and some of them said ‘it did make me think about not judging people, calling people names or just making references to people being gay as a joke’- that’s the message that came out - you just don’t now who’s gay and who you are hurting (in school)”. Jacqui Dike, Head of English and PSHE.
“I’m glad you came into our school, and hopefully it will change the way people think - I think if we all try, we can make a difference. You should keep this up Homophobia is unacceptable, and it upsets me that people laugh and use the word gay”.
“We got involved in Exceeding Expectations as there is a serious issue with homophobia in school particularly name calling. We actually needed help from outside the school to support us in dealing with the issues and to refresh our thinking.
“It’s horrible how people can be hurt for just being themselves, you don’t say nigger, so why say faggot?”
This was certainly delivered when we had the Theatre In Education production’ OUTLOUD’ into our school. All staff are buzzing with the quality of the work and the planning that must have gone into the production. I would say other schools should get involved, as these are issues we all have to address. The telling message for me was that it doesn’t matter what your views are on different sexual relationships ‘homophobic bullying is wrong’.
“OUTLOUD was really good and I hope it will make people think before they call me a lesbian - thank you and thank you for raising the awareness in our school, the Matthew Shepherd video was overwhelming.” Pupils from Chorlton High School.
This should open the door for faith schools who have a different belief system regarding gay and lesbian relationships. Finally Governors have agreed to everything the pupils have asked for and have also signed a pledge sheet to ‘end homophobia in our school’. Pat Derbyshire, Head Teacher.
For all health and education professionals working with young people. Friday 2nd May 2008 Tel: 078664 45985 for details.
9.30am - 10.30am/ 1.30pm - 2.30pm at Manchester PCT, Mauldeth House, Mauldeth Road West, Chorlton Manchester, M21 7RL
3pm-4pm At Manchester Education Partnership, Floor 2, Fujitsu Tower, Wenlock Way West Gorton, Manchester, M12 5DR
WEBSITE COMING SOON!
FREE POSTERS AVAILABLE THROUGH
exceedingexpectations.org.uk Keeping 176 schools within the Manchester informed, the Exceeding Expectations initiative continues to make progress towards protecting and promoting the rights of all Manchester children. Having made great progress, taking T.I.E into the schools and raising the profile of the
initiative, we are nowlooking at how we can offer virtual support. The Exceeding Expectations website is currently in development and is due to go live in the next few months. The website will have all content from past newsletters, feedback from schools, ideas for lessons, downloadable resources, useful links and much more. Watch this space!
Zero Tolerance x 2 (above) and OK 2 B GAY (right). All posters have been designed by a group of young people especially for the Exceeding Expectations initiative. Any young people aged 19 or under who want to get involved are very welcome. Please email: Michael Nastari on firstname.lastname@example.org or call him directly on 0161 235 8026.
MATTHEW SHEPARD ANNIVERSARY international news media as a savage beating because of his homosexuality. Shepard died from severe head injuries on October 12, 1998. His murder brought national attention to the issue of hate crime. Shortly after, members of Tectonic Theatre Project in the US set out for Laramie to explore the town and the crime that occurred there.
OUTLOUD FREE SUPPORT PACKAGE Along with the OUTLOUD play, pupil workshops, policy support and development, and resources (including the OUTLOUD DVD, posters and leaflets), schools are also offered training for their staff. The training consists of: a staff questionnaire, the vision, aims and work undertaken to date by Exceeding Expectations, an opportunity to explore the use of vocabulary and definitions in relation to lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) issues, and a viewing of Stonewall’s staff training DVD – Spell it Out! It also looks at some of the legislation and guidance which now supports this area of work in schools and
provides an opportunity to discuss how to create a safe environment for LGB people in school.
So far Exceeding Expectations have delivered staff training in Chorlton High School; Ewing School; Southern Cross School and North Manchester High School for Girls, with Newall Green High School and Whalley Range looking to plan staff training into their school timetable. Feedback has been very positive and schools are keen to move to the next stage of the process which is to review or develop their policies and practice. To find out more please Tel: 078664 45985 or e-mail: email@example.com
2008 is the 10th Anniversary of the murder of Matthew ShepArd. Matthew Wayne Shepard was an American student at the University of Wyoming who was fatally attacked near Laramie, in what was widely reported by
They created the groundbreaking play, ‘The Laramie Project’, later adapted into a film by HBO. Both the film and the play-script are excellent resources for class-room discussion. Matthew Shepard’s story is also an integral part of the play OUTLOUD. For further information visit www.matthewshepard.org www.time.com/time/ classroom/laramie
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS INITIATIVE: Telephone: 07866 445985 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org