Excluded is a new production, set in a turbulent GCSE class in a London secondary school in 2019, that attempts to shine a light on the problems faced by vulnerable young people within the education system. The Guardian reports.
The content of the play is close to home. At an early workshop exploring the issues, it emerged that all but two of the young performers had been excluded from school. Some are care leavers, some have mental health problems, others have been young offenders. Many have been affected by the consequences of knife crime, which they link to the increasing number of exclusions.
The play was written by Intermission’s artistic director Darren Raymond, who fell in love with drama – and Shakespeare in particular – while serving a three-year prison sentence. His previous works include an updated version of Othello set against a backdrop of urban violence. Like his proteges, he felt excluded by school and ended up bunking off to sell drugs.
Raymond’s play transports some of Shakespeare’s best known characters into the contemporary classroom. Hamlet’s father has died and his mental health is fragile, which leads to outbursts in class; Macbeth meanwhile has been permanently excluded for fighting and gets involved in county lines.
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