Theatre group TIE Together from Kensington Arts had their first public showing of a new show at Castle Rushen High School.
The play, Trapped, by Chloe Shimmin, was created through a devising process over the last few months.
It follows the story of 13-year-old Dylan who gets caught up in a drug running scheme on the island, which turns his life upside down.
Meetings were held with the police, prison and probation service, and the charity SUMT to help guide the story, and all services took part in the first year eight (ages 12 and 13) drop down-day at Castle Rushen, with Kensington Arts actors also delivering drama workshops to the young people.
Lisa Davis, who plays Dylan’s parent in the show, alongside other parts, said: ‘Performing our debut Theatre in Education (TIE) show was a fabulous experience.
‘The Castle Rushen students were a brilliant audience who responded really well to the subject matter of the play and showed so much enthusiasm towards the workshops that followed.
‘I loved every moment of the day and can’t wait until our next performance.’
Feedback from the students was very positive, with 94% of students agreeing the show was interesting and engaging, while 91% found the subject matter challenging and powerful.
One pupil commented: ‘It was funny but also told a real story that could happen to anyone.’
Others praised the actors’ accents, their abilities to play multiple characters, and their TikTok dance skills.
Trapped is due to be performed at the rest of the island’s high schools in 2023, as well as at King William’s College.
Work will also soon begin on a second show, aimed at year six students, which will cover the transition from primary to high school.
Emma Callin, head of culture and arts, said: ‘I would like to congratulate the actors from Kensington Arts who captured the attention of over 100 teenagers in their debut show.
‘The script and production was very well presented and it was clear that significant research and development had taken place.
‘I am sure in their hands next year’s programme will develop and flourish. This will achieve great outcomes, not only for Culture Division but for the schools and young people who will benefit from being involved.”’
As part of the National Development Strategy for Culture and the Arts, the Isle of Man Arts Council has agreed to support the running costs of the scheme, allowing for the programme of shows to run until 2025 at no cost to schools.