A play highlighting the dangers of knife crime will tour 95 schools and a young offenders institute, reaching 25,000 young people over the next six months.
Titled Balisong, the play charts the journey of three friends in the final weeks of school who are facing a dilemma as they wonder what to do now that one of their friends has started carrying a knife.
The play, which is a No Knives Better Lives (NKBL) project, aims to build on the success of the first Balisong play and tour last year, which was performed in 17 councils to 12,200 pupils.
Along with the play, a post-performance workshop will draw out key themes from the work and ask the audience to reflect on the central question: what would you do if someone you knew was carrying a knife.
Emily Beever, National Co-ordinator for NKBL at YouthLink Scotland said: “In the last decade, the level of knife crime in Scotland has drastically reduced, but one incident is still one too many.
“Work with young people is key to continuing to prevent knife crime. ‘Balisong’ has given us an exciting new way to talk to all young people about their role in preventing knife carrying through peer support.
“The feedback has shown that already more than 12,000 young people will think twice before picking up a knife.”
The play has been created using a peer-theatre approach which engages directly with young people’s ideas, opinions and experiences of knife crime and uses their daily experience as the catalyst and inspiration for the story.
Produced by Fast Forward in association with YouthLink Scotland, the national agency for youth work, Balisong has been written by Jennifer Adam and directed by Steve Small of Strange Town.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf MSP, said: “I am pleased to say the Scottish Government is providing an additional £25,000 to YouthLink Scotland this year to ensure that ‘Balisong’ will be seen in every local authority throughout 2018/19, including a showing in HM Young Offenders Institution Polmont.”
Mr Yousaf tweeted the play almost had him crying after watching it at Stewarton Academy in Ayrshire on Wednesday.
He tweeted: “Real pleasure watching #Balisong – it did almost have me greetin’! Powerful, hard-hitting and communicates such an important msg for our young ppl on the dangers of carrying a knife.
“Well done to the actors, production team and amazingly talented @RubiedMoon who wrote it!”
To develop the schools tour further, NKBL has created a new lesson plan for secondary schools based on Balisong.
It aims to help young people understand why it is important to do something if they know that someone else is carrying a knife.
The resource will be given to each school on the tour and is also available to download for free via the NKBL website.