21.04.2016

Students to Perform Wings to Fly in Torfaen

• The girls have plans...

• But what if Mam finds out...

• This decision could change lives...

PC Murhpy thanks Abersychan staff and pupils

Abersychan – take a bow!

Over 20 years after it was first commissioned, Wings to Fly remains a popular part of the curriculum in Gwent to educate Year 6 pupils on the dangers of drugs.

Between the 26th–28th April, approximately 1000 Year 6 pupils from Torfaen will descend on the Congress Theatre in Cwmbran to see an adaption of the play performed to them by Year 9 students from Abersychan Comprehensive – students who themselves would have seen the play only a few years previously.

Wings to Fly is an anti-drugs play which plays a key role in educating Year 6 pupils on the dangers of drugs. The play is supported by the delivery of the lesson ‘It’s Your Choice’ by School Community Police Officers from the All-Wales School Liaison Core Programme across Gwent, where pupils develop their understanding and awareness of the dangers and consequences of substance misuse.

Students from Abersychan Comprehensive have been working hard with their drama teacher Mr Anthony Russ to deliver a performance to be proud of – even giving up their Easter holidays to practice the hard-hitting play with Mr Russ. Their work has paid off, and after only a few weeks, they are ready to deliver the five performances to the Year 6 pupils.

The play tackles the consequences of substance misuse through the story of 14-year-old Penguin, who succumbs to peer pressure and experiments with drugs. During the duration of the play, the characters deal with the use of different substances; from alcohol to slimming tablets, steroids and mephedrone.

Gwent Police School Community Police Officer PC Juliet Murphy, who along with PC David Hayward and PC Tracy Thomas supports the play, said: “Once again I am indebted to Abersychan School for undertaking the production of Wings to Fly. The pupils are a credit to their school and indeed their local community. They are delivering a very clear message regarding the dangers surrounding drugs and substance misuse and the Year 6 pupils are able to reflect upon this when their respective School Community Police Officers deliver lessons on this topic.”

After the first performance on Tuesday, one audience member said: “As a mother, it's very emotional to watch: you can see your own child there for a moment. It can be upsetting but it's a very important message – this is necessary art.”

Pupils in the audience said of the play:

“That was great. I wish I had a film of it so I could watch it again.”

“I don't ever want to go near drugs.  Now I have seen what they can do.”

Abersychan teacher Mr Russ said of his students: “This is our second time around performing Wings to Fly.  The pupils are doing really well; they are definitely getting the message across.  The text of the play has been updated with current issues, and it's still working well.  We have focussed on providing thinking time for the audience as they watch the consequences of the character's choices.”