An award-winning educational theatre production on the dangers of underage drinking has delivered highly encouraging results in transforming young Scots’ attitudes towards alcohol.
A detailed evaluation report by theatre production company Collingwood Learning on Smashed – Diageo’s international alcohol education theatre programme which toured Scottish schools for the first time between October and December last year - has shown a marked increase in the level of alcohol awareness among secondary school-aged students with 91% of participants now feeling more equipped to make the right choice about drinking.
Smashed is a hard-hitting drama about a group of friends who find themselves in trouble because of alcohol misuse. It toured 37 Scottish schools over a six-week period in 2018, reaching a total of 9,121 S1 and S2 students in Edinburgh and Borders, Lanarkshire, Stirling, Fife, Inverness, Brora, Speyside and Orkney.
Performances were followed by an interactive workshop where pupils were invited to ask the cast questions on the issues brought up during the play and explore the consequences portrayed by the actors.
Following the great success of last year’s tour, Smashed will be touring Scotland again in from September and November, with performances in 50 schools in areas from Orkney to Ayrshire.
Smashed was developed in consultation with young people and has been designed to engage with pupils in a different way to typical school lessons. It combines the use of drama with an interactive workshop to help young people understand the facts, causes and consequences surrounding alcohol misuse and the risks of underage drinking.
Diageo recently set a global target to reach five million pupils, parents and teachers with the alcohol education messages through Smashed by 2025.
Diageo’s 2025 Positive Drinking strategy to encourage moderation and reduce alcohol related harm includes ambitious targets to tackle underage drinking, drink driving and excessive drinking. Diageo supports the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal of reducing harmful drinking by 10% and Diageo’s underage drinking programmes have already reached more than 632,000 people in the last two years across 20 countries.
Chris Simes from Collingwood Learning said: “Last year was the first time Smashed had toured Scottish schools and we are incredibly pleased to see such strong results.
“Our goal is to create a memorable experience for pupils that really builds their knowledge and understanding about underage drinking and the associated risks and it is very encouraging to see the evidence that the show had such a positive impact on Scottish school pupils.
“We look forward to reaching even more pupils across Scotland with our forthcoming autumn tour.”
Aileen Keyes, Head of Alcohol in Society Europe, Diageo said: “We are seeing positive trends in fewer young people drinking underage and we are committed to ensuring this downward trend continues.
“Smashed is a powerful and memorable way of equipping young people with the tools they need as they approach adulthood, and it is great to see the evaluation evidence of the positive impact it has had on Scottish school pupils and their perceptions about alcohol and underage drinking.”
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