Harlow students use drama to tackle knife crime and isolation amongst the youth of the town

The official Mongrel poster

KNIFE crime is the central theme of a student-run play coming to The Playhouse in Harlow this June.

Mongrel is an interactive play that is written and directed entirely by Harlow College performing arts students Harry Bailey and Leo Shepherd. It is the result of a partnership between Harlow Playhouse and Harlow College.

This production is sourced from Harlow Playhouse’s Young Practitioners Programme, which Harry and Leo are members of.

The narrative follows Alfie Lurcher, who is haunted by nightmares featuring wolves and hounds. Alfie has always struggled to fit in and find his sense of belonging, so has concluded that he’s a stray, a mongrel.

Harry and Leo revealed that their local surroundings influenced the narrative as Harlow residents regularly experience knife crime and violence.

The Crime Map of Harlow in April 2019

Leo said: “The other day there was a news story about the 100 losses that we [the UK] have had due to knife crime this year, and it’s not even halfway through the year yet which is really scary.

“All the crime that happens in Harlow has especially played a really big impact in mine and Harry’s creative energy when creating this piece.”

Harry added: “For me, the inspiration to create Mongrel stemmed from Harlow in two different ways. I wanted to show the good side of the community and the fact that there are young people who want to do something constructive. But then the plot and the inspiration from that comes from the bad side of the community.

“The show is for the youth, by the youth, about the youth, and that’s what’s important.”

For more information and to buy tickets for the show on June 20 and June 21, visit: www.harlowplayhouse.co.uk or call 01279 431945.

Watch the video below to find out more about Mongrel.

 

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Lucy Parish

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