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Play inspired by cast murders

PUBLISHED: 10:29 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 17:24 25 August 2010

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A THEATRE company which had two young members murdered in knife attacks has been inspired to present a play drawing on their own experience of gang violence.

A THEATRE company which had two young members murdered in knife attacks has been inspired to present a play drawing on their own experience of gang violence.

Second Wave, a company based in Greenwich dedicated to youth-driven theatre and performance, presents Swagga: Michael's Story this weekend.

The project, which infuses acting, Hip Hop and dance, works with young people to raise awareness of knife and gun crime.

Artistic Director at Second Wave, Ann Considine said: "The majority of young people at Second Wave either know someone who has been directly affected by knife, gun crime or intimidation by gangs.

"Over the last few years, Second Wave has known two young people who have been murdered through knife attacks."

Lead writer Talmud Bah said: "Most young men are not in gangs but they get drawn in, or become victims. Our writing process enables young people to explore their stories and anxieties, support each other and even find positive solutions."

The play, devised by young writers, lyricists and dancers, is set in south-east London and tells the story of two men arrested with firearms who were looking for quick money and a way to raise their status.

Using a visual backdrop inspired by Richard III, comic book heroes and graphic novels, the performance is played out to the beat of an original Hip Hop soundtrack.

The play was devised over 18 months using the personal experiences of some of the young men in the project.

As well as producing performances, Arts Council funded Second Wave has opened up a dialogue between teenagers and the police and were recently commended by the Centre for Social Justice in their study Dying to Belong.

Recent graduates of Second Wave include Shingai Shoniwa and Dan Smith from The Noisettes.

Lyricist and co-author of Swagga: Michael's Story Tamsin Kayembe said: "The process at Second Wave challenges convention. It brings you as a writer into a process with young people and other young artists. You work with the experiences they bring to shape the story."

Ms Considine added: "Second Wave is inspired by young people's interests. We run street dance workshops and workshops for young lyricists and musicians who make beats and MC at our events.

"The dancers have explored swagga through movement and posturing; the MCs through lyrics. Even the vocal group have created songs that tell what swagga means to them."

Swagga: Michael's Story is at The Studio, Second Wave in Creek Road, Deptford tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

Tickets are £5 and available from the box office on 020 8694 2444 or email info@secondwave.org.uk.

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