Theatre Production Highlights Dangers of Underage Drinking

Smashed visits Ellen Wilkinson School as part of national tour

Theatre Production Highlights Dangers of Underage Drinking
Nearly three quarters of students say they are less likely to drink after attending one of the performances

April 23, 2024

The alcohol awareness theatre production ‘Smashed’ is visiting Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls this Wednesday (24 April) as part of its biggest ever UK tour.

The school in Acton is one of eight across London where theatre combined with interactive workshops will aim to help secondary-school children understand the facts, causes and consequences of underage drinking. Figures show that girls are far more likely than boys to be admitted to hospital with alcohol related conditions.

The hard-hitting workshops were seen by 1.9 million students globally live and online last year and 2,300 students will be taking part in the London leg of the current tour.

Developed and presented by Collingwood Learning and supported by Diageo, ‘Smashed’ comprises a 25-minute performance which is followed by a 35-minute workshop, during which participants can reflect on the themes and answer questions about the choices made by the characters in the performance. The award-winning alcohol education programme is entirely free for schools to receive.

Now in its 15th year, ‘Smashed’ has delivered educational performances to students in 38 countries around the world.

Nearly three quarters of students surveyed after attending a Smashed performance said they would be less likely to drink alcohol underage as a result.

In the past decade, the UK has made positive progress in reducing levels of underage drinking. Data from the UK Government shows that hospital admissions for alcohol-specific conditions among under 18s in London are below England’s national average (11.5 per 100,000 versus 23.3 per 100,000 [male] and 18.7 per 100,000 versus 36.9 per 100,000 [female]).

‘Smashed’ works in close collaboration with Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP), a community-interest company that brings together councils, retailers, police, schools, health providers and community groups across the UK to reduce alcohol harm among young people. In the past six years, CAP has seen a 62% reduction in regular drinking among 13–16-year-olds.

Chris Simes, Chair of Collingwood Learning, said, “We are thrilled to be bringing this global programme back to schools in London this year. As statistics show, underage drinking presents a real threat to the health and well-being of young people. Our goal is to enhance the current alcohol education curriculum in schools with our memorable performance and workshop experience that helps young people explore the risks of underage drinking and build their confidence to say ‘no’ in the face of teenage peer pressure.”

The cast of a Smashed production
The cast of a Smashed production

Nuno Teles, Managing Director at Diageo GB, said, “This year we are embarking on our biggest Smashed tour to date and look forward to Collingwood Learning reaching even more communities across London. Smashed has an impressive and proven track record of delivering an informative and engaging performance that equips young people with the knowledge to make smart decisions and understand the dangers of underage drinking. Underage drinking causes many risks to young people and ‘Smashed’ plays a crucial role in our ambition to tackle harmful drinking and deliver against our commitment to educate 10 million young people, parents and teachers on the dangers of underage drinking by 2030.”

In addition to the live interactive workshop, ‘Smashed’ provides support for schools in delivering vital Personal, Social, and Health Education (PSHE). Schools not reached by the live tour also have the opportunity to take part in Smashed Online. To find out more, click here.

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