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Award-winning alcohol awareness theatre production is visiting schools in Tameside

Over 3,000 secondary school students across 10 schools in Greater Manchester will receive a hard-hitting lesson on the dangers of underage drinking, as award-winning alcohol awareness theatre production ‘Smashed’ embarks on its largest tour yet.

Developed and presented by Collingwood Learning and supported by Diageo, ‘Smashed’ combines drama with interactive workshops to help secondary school students understand the facts, causes and consequences of underage drinking and drive down alcohol consumption among young people. Each 25-minute performance is followed by a 35-minute workshop, during which participants have the opportunity to reflect on the themes and answer questions about the choices made by the characters in the performance.

Diageo has long committed to promoting moderation and tackling alcohol harm across the UK, supporting initiatives like ‘Smashed’ as part of its ambition to educate 10 million young people, teachers and parents globally by 2030. Now in its 18th year, ‘Smashed’ has delivered educational performances to students in 38 countries around the world. The tour engaged over 1.9 million students globally live and online in 2022-2023 alone and in Great Britain has reached over half a million students to date.

The programme, developed in consultation with young people, has a proven impact on driving attitude and behaviour change. The latest UK evaluation report found that:

96% of students stated they had ‘some’ or ‘lots’ of knowledge about the risks of drinking alcohol underage.

83% of students stated that they feel equipped to make the right choices about drinking alcohol.

78% of students stated that if they or someone they knew were having problems with alcohol, they would know where to get help.

74% of students stated that they were less likely to drink alcohol underage following the Smashed performance.

In the past decade, the UK has made positive progress in reducing levels of underage drinking. However, data from the UK Government shows that hospital admissions for alcohol-specific conditions among under 18s in Manchester is above England’s national average (36.3 per 100,000 versus 29.3 per 100,000).

‘Smashed’ works in close collaboration with Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP), a community-interest company that brings together councils, retailers, police, schools, health providers and community groups across the UK to reduce alcohol harm among young people. In the past six years, CAP has seen a 62% reduction in regular drinking among 13–16-year-olds.

Chris Simes, Chair of Collingwood Learning, said: “We are thrilled to be bringing this global programme back to schools in Greater Manchester this year. As statistics show, underage drinking presents a real threat to the health and well-being of young people. Our goal is to enhance the current alcohol education curriculum in schools with our memorable performance and workshop experience that helps young people explore the risks of underage drinking and build their confidence to say ‘no’ in the face of teenage peer pressure.”

Nuno Teles, Managing Director at Diageo GB, said: “This year we are embarking on our biggest Smashed tour to date and look forward to Collingwood Learning reaching even more communities across Greater Manchester. Smashed has an impressive and proven track record of delivering an informative and engaging performance that equips young people with the knowledge to make smart decisions and understand the dangers of underage drinking. Underage drinking causes many risks to young people and ‘Smashed’ plays a crucial role in our ambition to tackle harmful drinking and deliver against our commitment to educate 10 million young people, parents and teachers on the dangers of underage drinking by 2030.”

In addition to the live interactive workshop, ‘Smashed’ provides support for schools in delivering vital Personal, Social, and Health Education (PSHE). Schools not reached by the live tour also have the opportunity to take part in Smashed Online. To find out more, please visit: https://online.smashedproject.org/gb/

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