Shakespeare stage for anti-knives campaign

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School children take the stage for ‘Violent Ends’ performance. Pic © Imaginarium Theatre

Knowsley schoolchildren have put their own twist on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to support the #NoMoreKnives campaign.

Six different schools and 60 students took to the stage at Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park on Thursday to present a multimedia production, ‘Violent Ends’ demonstrating the consequences of knife crime.

The show, described on the advert as ‘poignant and hard hitting’, engaged with more than 5,000 young people across Knowsley and Merseyside to educate and raise awareness against knife crime.

Prescot-based company, The Imaginarium Theatre, teamed up with several other local partners to produce the educational yet moving performance. These included the Shakespeare North Trust, Knowsley Council, Merseyside Police, the ADAM Ellison Foundation and Arts Council England.

YouTube: Courtesy of Gaynor La Rocca

Gaynor La Rocca, Artistic Director of Imaginarium Theatre, said: “We wanted to give young people a voice and a platform to share their feelings about this important issue that is dominating our communities.

“Drama allows young people to explore situations that we hope they will never encounter in real life, and consider the consequences of choices that can be made in a heartbeat and regretted for a lifetime.”

The production paid tribute to the death of Adam Ellison, 29, who was stabbed to death in Prescot on November 4th 2017.

‘Violent Ends’ to return to the stage after overwhelming feedback. Pic © Imaginarium Theatre

Ian Tabbron, CEO of Shakespeare North, said: “Shakespeare North is delighted that its Associate Company Imaginarium Theatre is exploring with our young people some strikingly relevant and contemporary themes of Romeo and Juliet through their Violent Ends project.”

Gaynor told JMU Journalism: “Feedback has been overwhelming and I have had an approach offering sponsorship to re-stage Violent Ends at either Aintree Racecourse or the Echo Arena.”

“We hope we can extend this important project and reach many more people, raising awareness of the issues and making people think about the choices they make.

The campaign #NoMoreKnives was established by Radio City following the murder of Sam Cook, who was stabbed to death two years ago this week in Liverpool city centre.

About Jessica Rigg, JMU Journalism