Hard-hitting student play will bring home risks of binge drinking

In front is Paris Billings (16) who will be playing the main character, during one of the flashback scenes
In front is Paris Billings (16) who will be playing the main character, during one of the flashback scenes

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A SHOCKING school production about a girl who binge drinks and ends up being sexually assaulted will be used to teach students across the city about the dangers of alcohol.

Wasted – a play cast, produced, directed and acted by youngsters from Admiral Lord Nelson School’s Theatre Company – will be staged at the New Theatre Royal on June 15 and 16.

The hard-hitting performance about a girl called Anna, who re-lives the horrors of her teenage life caused by the consumption of alcohol, will also be recorded and sent out on DVD to all secondary schools in the city.

Director Beth Morrison, 15, said: ‘We’re doing our best to get the message out there because binge drinking is a serious problem and as our play shows, it can lead to terrible things. I hope will make young people think twice.’

Paris Billings, 16, who plays Anna, said: ‘The pressure is definitely on because the play will go out to so many people and if I do my job properly, it could make a real difference to lives.

‘I haven’t had any direct experience of binge drinking so when I was read the script I found it shocking.’

Matt Fisher, 15, co-producer, added: ‘I wanted the play to be dark, to match the tone of the subject matter.

‘The bottom line is, drinking can get out of hand.

‘Whether it makes you a victim like Anna, or a perpetrator, if for example you get in a car or become violent, it’s bad news.’

This is not the first serious play that has been staged by the theatre company, comprising BTEC acting students aged between 14 and 16, which has previously tackled issues ranging from anorexia to bullying.

But with the backing of Portsmouth City Council, which is helping fund the show, DVDs and lesson plans designed by the ALNS students themselves with more than £2,000 from the government’s Find Your Talent scheme, it will reach its biggest audience to date.

Samantha Hibberd, the council’s health development officer, said: ‘I’ve seen the rehearsals and I am so impressed – the students have really taken ownership of the play.

‘While we don’t have a major problem in the city with teenagers binge drinking, we want to raise awareness for those in the mainstream who are looking to experiment with it.

‘Alchohol is a poison and it can kill, but the biggest risk to youngsters is that it leaves them vulnerable and they can find themselves in situations that put them at serious risk.’

Tickets to both shows at 7.30pm cost £4 and are available from the theatre’s Box Office on 023 9264 9000.