The students were excellent this morning and the forum sessions went really well. The set up this year was slightly different. We've crossed the road from the Stadium and reconvened at the Harlequin's ground The Stoop, slightly more intimate and manageable for everybody. We had groups of forty and ran four hour long workshops back to back. Exhausting, but as usual, highly rewarding.
In the main our play held the audience's attention although for a couple of the schools the idea of being involved in knife crime seemed far fetched to begin with. I sometimes wonder when I'm conducting forum what the best way to deal with spect-actors who feel they've already solved or avoided the 'crisis' presented in their own lives. As a joker my attitude is always to use them as 'teachers' asking them to show us how they've done it, but unless carefully handled this can bring an unwanted sense of moral superiority into the room.
It's why ideally you start by creating the piece with rather than for your audience and base it on their concerns rather than working to the criteria of an outside agency. Still the feedback from the Schools and the Police themselves was very positive and clearly the participatory nature of the work provoked some interesting discussions and improvisations. Given we only have an hour with each group I think we covered quite a lot of ground.