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Standing up against hate crime: Defiant Voices Creates 100 NEW civic ambassadors across County Durham

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LAUNCH EVENT Monday 10 October at Durham Sixth Form Centre

This year’s Hate Crime Awareness Week sees the launch of “Defiant Voices” – an ambitious educational programme involving 100 sixth form students from five County Durham schools. Funded by the Police, Crime and Victims' Commissioner's Community Safety Fund, and created by The Forge, the region’s leading arts in education agency, the programme uses theatre, drama and music, to create young civic ambassadors who will stand up against prejudice and promote respect and inclusion within their own school communities.

Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, said: “It is really heartening to see so many young people get involved in a local project which examines the cause of intolerance within communities. The project was awarded a grant from my Community Safety Fund, which is managed and part-funded by County Durham Community Foundation. I’m pleased that this will help to reinforce and embed the positive message to our young people, that there is no place for bullying and hate in our communities.”

The students gather at Durham Sixth Form Centre on Monday 10 October, where a theatre production of The Tin Ring, the internationally acclaimed one-woman show based on the real-life story of Holocaust survivor Zdenka Fantlova, will mark the start of their reflective journeys.

 Following this, the students will take part in a challenging programme of cultural activities and workshops which will help them identify – and tackle - prejudice, exclusion and intolerance within their own communities. The students will come back together during Holocaust Memorial Week 2017to present their learning and their messages for a safer and more inclusive society - to a delegation from the Defiant Requiem Foundation (a Holocaust awareness charity based in Washington DC). Then they will join the audience at Durham Cathedral for the UK premiere Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin, a powerful large-scale performance piece featuring music, singing, narrative and documentary footage symbolising the triumph of art over evil.

The Forge’s Executive Director Tony Harrington is delighted that the PCC and CDCF have been able to support this exciting cultural programme. “The Forge has a long history of working strategically with schools to improve the lives of children and young people and “Defiant Voices” is a key element of this work. By giving students the opportunity to learn more about the reality of the Holocaust, and by giving them creative space – and time – to reflect upon these atrocities, we believe that these young people will develop the skills to promote respect and inclusion and encourage others to speak out against prejudice in all its many forms. “

- ENDS

Notes to editors:

the five school partners involved in this innovative “safer communities” project are: Durham Sixth Form Centre, Framwellgate, Durham Johnston, North Durham Academy and Consett Academy.

Further information: email bev@intheforge.com; telephone 01207 284515

Posted on Thursday 6th October 2016
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