Posted 20 hours ago

I Love You, Mum - I Promise I Won't Die (Plays for Young People)

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His work has been a staple part of the Drama curriculum both in the UK and abroad for the past three decades. Finance is provided by PayPal Credit (a trading name of PayPal UK Ltd, Whittaker House, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond-Upon-Thames, Surrey, United Kingdom, TW9 1EH). It was her idea, in those early months after Dan died, that we consider using drama as a means of communicating our important messages to young people. As a parent of a teenage daughter I try to educate her in the dangers of drugs amongst other things but sometimes feel that I get the “Yeah Mum.

Most telling of all Amy Zoldan as Alice wrestles with her conscience as the person who everyone blames for Dan’s death. The play starts with video footage from his parents; the on screen texts we read are real, the photographs we see are of a once living boy, who brimmed with potential, his whole life ahead of him. In this, he appears as a character, interviewing Dan's friends and family in the first act (the second act is more intimate and family-centred, telling the story in reverse). I Love You, Mum - I Promise I Won't Die , was originally commissioned by the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation , the drug education charity. I Love You, Mum ensure Daniel lives on (he would have been twenty-five now) and reminds the audience that behind every statistic and flat Daily Mail headline is a human soul and story.

The sheer release and teenage wildness that comes with letting go and not being under the surveillance of parents or teachers is communicated through primal movement to music: untrammelled, feral, alive. The verbatim play by Octopus Theatre (ninety-minutes, no interval) has two acts and is constructed through the testimonies of those who knew Daniel, his friends and family, as well as recreating the fateful night, trial, funeral and the aftermath of grief. Published by Bloomsbury in 2017, it has been studied and performed by young people across the UK and overseas, with incredible impact.

Matt Sykes-Hooban’s set design is simple but used effectively to show a variety of locations including an interview room, a house, a warehouse and a hospital. Although it is similar in themes to his other works, it's a very literal piece – the way in which the words of real-life friends and family are crafted into the text makes it so eloquent and beautiful. Susan Elkin paid a visit to Half Moon theatre in London’s East End to chat with CEO Chris Elwell about their extensive education outreach and innovative theatre programmes. The play is topped and tailed by filmed interviews with Dan’s mother and father and his girlfriend Jenna, communicating the love he inspired. Many schools lack the capacity, knowledge and skills needed to deliver drug education effectively without resources and support.We hope this will bring the play to many more drama studios and classrooms across the country and around the world, with its important messages of risk, choice and consequence, friendship, forgiveness, love and loss. A talented, creative and “lovely boy” with a passion for helping others who’s always on the side of the underdog. Everyone loves Dan and at 16, he has plans, plenty of them – just losing his life isn’t one of them. I Love You, Mum - I Promise I Won't Die was commissioned by the charity set up in Daniel's memory to raise awareness about the danger of party drugs. His plays are often outdated and tend to patronise young people, who are nowadays so much more savvy and streetwise.

The character of Dan had to be removed from the play shortly before the first performance, which became the catalyst for what Mark describes as ‘the iconic idea from the production’. Told entirely in the words of his family and friends, it explores the decisions that led to his death and the consequences of his loss on his loved ones. The show did have to relocate to the Israac Centre from the Theatre Deli so this audience did miss out on some of the technical aspects, but regardless one could tell how impressive the creative team’s work was.Delving into the intricacies of language or historical content in a text has its merits, but Drama teachers are notoriously short of time. It would also be interesting to see how different directors would approach it – there are a variety of staging choices that could bring this tragic story to life. Drugs for young people in Scotland are more accessible and affordable than ever, just as in England, and they are exposed to them on an increasingly frequent basis as they go through school.

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