Real Voices is a multi-media production created by Essential Safeguarding and Safe Productions. The performance is 30 minutes long and explores the lives of 3 young people who have all been groomed and coerced within exploitative relationships and at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation, Criminal Exploitation/County lines and Teenage Domestic Abuse.
The play looks at the impact of crime and violence and considers the risk factors and added vulnerabilities young people experience. The performance is followed by a plenary session, facilitated by a professional, where the actors speak with the audience and explore possible outcomes for each character. The audience are then invited to consider how each character could exit their harmful relationships and suggest who might be able to help and support them.
The multi-media performance forms part of a wider training and education resource that equips staff with the knowledge and skills to explore with young people the complex issues of grooming, coercion, violence, manipulation and exploitation. Staff working with young people will know how to respond appropriately to these complex safeguarding issues and help young people get the support they need.
The production is suitable for Year 7 upwards and can be delivered to whole year groups or targeted to small groups of young people at risk. We also work with year 6 parents to raise awareness.
Meet the Team
Louise Allen, Producer
Louise is a highly experienced social worker. She has spent 30 years working with children and families and is also a freelance trainer and facilitator. Louise has a long history of delivering commissioned services, from early intervention and prevention to training multi-agency professionals on complex safeguarding issues. Her clients include Greater Manchester Police, Local Authorities and Voluntary agencies.
“Children should be able to live free from abuse and neglect. Working with children, parents and school communities to spot the signs of abusive behaviours is the first step, but professionals also need to feel confident and equipped to tackle the issues facing young people today. Our aim is to reduce the impact of abuse through improved prevention and faster, more effective response.”
George Bukhari, Creative Director
George is an actor with numerous television and theatre credits. Alongside his acting commitments, George has managed residential care homes for high-risk young people. He has vast experience of working with individuals who have been traumatised by criminal exploitation.
“Coming from the relatively cosy world of television into the distressing world of looked-after children puts your life into perspective. There are people battling to deal with what’s going on in their heads every day. I feel privileged and honoured to work with such amazing young people. They have inspired me to want to make a difference.”
Sangeeta Shakos, Writer
Sangeeta is a teacher at a PHRU, a specialist high school for students who are unable to attend a mainstream setting due to health issues – the vast majority are dealing with mental health problems.
“I believe the education system must adapt to acknowledge the increasing pressures on the younger generation and equip them with the life skills they need to live healthy, secure lives. Engaging vulnerable and disaffected young people requires creativity and innovation. I believe honest and realistic live performance has the ability to impact in a way no other medium can. Real Voices empowers young people to recognise the early warning signs of exploitation.”
Michael Jackson, Casting Director
Michael has spent more than two decades working with Beverley Keogh Casting, one of the North’s most successful casting houses. In 2009 he set up Act4tv, which teaches actors how to improve their auditioning skills. He has continually championed talented actors from disadvantaged backgrounds by funding their tuition.
“Being somewhat blasé about television performances due to my work as a casting director, I was invited to attend a performance of Real Voices in a mid-terrace office in Leigh. Despite our surroundings, half way through the performance I was amazed and moved to see two of the students in the audience in tears – they were so affected by what they were seeing. This confirmed my thoughts that this project had the ability to change lives. Mine included.”