The Drama department have decided to study the play “Extremism” by Anders Lustgarten.
It is a shocking play that ostensibly deals with whether the Prevent anti terror strategy is an effective tool to protect society from extreme views or whether it is a vehicle that makes a scapegoat of a community.
In this age of social media, opinion as fact journalism and instant publishing, we believe it is more important than ever that we furnish our young people with the tools through which they can make well considered judgements, forming their own opinions based on their own values rather than what they are told to believe.
The role of theatre is to entertain but also to educate. It does this by holding a mirror up to our society so we can, from a safe distance, identify social problems and form an opinion as to possible solutions. Sometimes this can be uncomfortable, but it is always more uncomfortable for the victims of bullying and discrimination.
It is beyond doubt that a growing area of concern in today’s society is a growing sense of Islamaphobia. This cannot be allowed to settle and take root in our society. Casual remarks made on the school field or in the coridoors should be challenged, more ideally stopped completely. We believe that looking the problem in the eye and having open, safe discussions within a classroom environment will allow us to challenge the stereotypes and the use of negative language surrounding identity based on race and religion.
The play deals with many other issues faced by young people today,
Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Among others. It is a challenging read, but we feel that seeing fictional portrayals of bullying at it’s most basic (Sometimes referred to as ‘banter) as well as at it’s worst (In the case of the play the forcible removal of the Hijab off the protagonist Suhayla).
We intend to study the play and its themes for the year. Using drama as a medium for possible social change. The pupils will learn the following skills:
Costume and make up
Set and prop construction
In all strands, pupils will identify changes in atmosphere based on the content of the scenes. They will need to learn empathy to present a character effectivey and to support the portrayal of that character sensitively.
Ultimately the moral questions that are presented within this play are the moral questions which face young people on a daily basis, somewhat magnified for the purposes of drama. We hope that this play will serve as one anti-bullying strategy among the great many others we have in Ysgol Plasmawr in an effort to make the school a truly cohesive, inclusive, safe space for all.