The acclaimed anti-homophobia play BOY is to be performed in the Houses of Parliament as part of UK Parliament Week. UK Parliament Week is a programme of events that connects people with Parliament.
According to the press release: “BOY tells the story of a young man subjected to homophobic ‘banter’, bullying and cyber-bullying resulting in life changing consequences. Informed by genuine and often harrowing experiences, BOY explores the negative impact of bullying related to sexual orientation, identity and the various roles and responsibilities played out within these scenarios by victims, bullies, bystanders, teachers and parents.”
“The play was piloted to great acclaim in London schools earlier this year, subsequently attracting funding of £28,000 from Southwark Council and the CCG NHS in order to upscale the project and to compliment the offer with LGBT+ inclusion teacher training sessions from Shaun Dellenty and an Ambassador Programme. BOY immerses the audience in the story as they watch the play and then interact with the characters giving them advise as to how to deal with the situation they find themselves in.”
LGBT+ education inclusion advocate Shaun Dellenty had this to say on the project: “Having experienced homophobic bullying myself and from working with many thousands of teachers, parents, school leaders and young people across the UK and abroad to prevent LGBT+ bullying and the associated use of negative language, it is very clear to me that we have a huge problem with prejudice related bullying online and in and around our schools and communities.”
“As an emergent gay man, my passage through the UK education system was blighted by the negative impact of the prejudicial and shameful Section 28 legislation engineered by the Conservative Government under Margaret Thatcher that resulted in a generation of young LGBT+ people being victimised at a Parliamentary level, leaving them without vital support from education professionals.”
“In 2016 I still encounter anxieties within school staff about supporting vulnerable LGBT+ youth that stem directly from Section 28. To deliver a performance of BOY in UK Parliament itself provides an opportunity to demonstrate first- hand the suffering caused to young people by prejudice related bullying.”
Artistic directoy Sarah Ellis also chimed in on the critical Parliament performance: “We are passionate about making change through theatre, using our unique way of exploring important issues. There are so many young people whose lives are affected or ruined by prejudice and our commitment must be to challenge, explore, discuss and in doing so our audiences leave invigorated and empowered. To be performing in Parliament is so exciting as an opportunity to have an honest conversation about prejudice and how to confidently make change.”
BOY is brought to us thanks to the award winning Hyperfusion Theatre company, artistic director Sarah Ellis and Shaun Dellenty, who is also an award winning gay London primary school teacher. The performance will be in the MacMillan Room at Portcullis House on November 17th at 6pm.