RAM on the Road!

This week brings the beginning of this year’s Triple R Anti-Bullying Tour. With rehearsals completed and the team ready and raring to go, Sarah shares her thoughts on the coming weeks.

I’m writing this having just got in from our final rehearsal for Repeat After Me, Unique Voice’s secondary anti-bullying tour. It’s been quite a week- from character exploration, to staging the show and rehearsing the workshop- and there is definitely a buzz of excitement among the team. As always it seems to be the case when working for Unique Voice I have once again found myself surrounded by passionate, proactive and generous actors who all have a great deal to offer to this project. Several new cast members have also brought new aspects to their characters, which has allowed me to delve deeper into Carly, the character I’ve played for three years now.

Despite this being the third year we have performed this show as part of Anti-Bullying season, the play and the workshop has been tweaked and updated to ensure it is as relevant as possible for the young people who will experience it.

One of the most important messages conveyed this year in particular is that of accountability. In the grand scheme of things, there are usually relatively few bullies in a school- but the way others respond to them and their actions can have a massive influence of the impact of their actions.

Let’s say for example that an individual has posted a bullying status about one of their peers online- I think most people would agree that they would be in the wrong. But then let’s say that 2, 20, 200 or even more people ‘like’, ‘share’ or comment on this status. Are they responsible for the impact of this status on the targeted individual? Whilst I’m sure may would argue that because they didn’t post the initial comment they played an innocent part, I would disagree.

Essentially, what this does is encourage the bullying behaviour, pursue the conversation and gossip about the situation, and further upset and intimidate the target of this behaviour.

I’m sure many people who do encourage these comments we so often see in cyber bullying in particular are unaware of the impact of their involvement, but this cannot remain to be an excuse, especially when the impact could so easily be different and less damaging to the self-esteem, confidence and happiness of others.

Say the first person who saw an offensive or bullying comment, reported it to which ever social media site it appeared on, say they reported it to their head of year at school the following day, say they offered some reassurance to the recipient and discouraged anyone spreading it any further. Surely this is a more appealing and appropriate reaction.

I believe that part of our job on this tour is to encourage young people to stop and think. To consider the consequences of their actions, to take a step back before getting swept along in the hype of the latest gossip, to think about their morals before agreeing with something just because of who said it.

Anyone who witnesses bullying has a responsibility to do something about it. We are not asking young people to do anything that makes them feel unsafe, but that they act when they recognise bullying, to report it to someone who CAN help, so that it can be resolved as promptly as possible.

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