Theatre production urges teens to call out bad driving

A THOUGHT-provoking theatre production aimed at empowering young people to speak out against dangerous driving returns to schools across East Sussex this month.

The Passenger highlights the responsibility youngsters have to intervene if they’re travelling in a car with a young driver who’s putting themselves and others at risk.

The production, by London-based Box Clever Theatre, will tour 15 county schools during November 2019, following a successful run which saw it performed to more than 2,600 East Sussex teens last year.

The interactive performance uses original witness statements, news reports and local statistics, while depicting the build-up to and aftermath of a fatal collision.

It aims to educate year 11 pupils to the consequences of speeding, driving under the influence of drink or drugs, not wearing seatbelts or being distracted while driving.

New drivers are one of the most at-risk groups and last year in Sussex there were 480 young people injured as drivers or passengers, of whom 56 were killed or very seriously injured.

Cllr Bill Bentley, East Sussex County Council lead member for communities and safety, said: “Young people make up a disproportionately high percentage of those killed and seriously injured on our roads, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

“When you’re young, you can sometimes feel like you’re invincible, but this production is about highlighting to teenagers how vulnerable they are in a car that’s being driven dangerously.

“While most young people would recognise the responsibility drivers have, they might not realise how important it is for passengers to resist peer pressure and call out bad driving.

“This production was very well received by the young people who saw it last year, who found the combination of real-life statistics and hard-hitting drama to be very powerful.”

The production is being delivered at schools across East and West Sussex and Brighton & Hove with funding from the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership.

East Sussex schools where The Passenger will be performed during November are:

Ark Alexandra Academy, Hastings
Beacon Academy, Crowborough
Bexhill Academy
Chailey School
The Eastbourne Academy
The Hastings Academy
Rye College
The St Leonards Academy
St Richards Catholic College, Bexhill
Seaford Head School
Seahaven Academy, Newhaven
Willingdon Community School