Playing With Fire

Helping 8 Young People Develop Resilience; emotionally, practically and collectively

Commissioned by Children’s and Young People’s Services Plymouth, Creative Partnerships and the National Children’s Bureau, Effervescent spent six months working with a group of eight young people who were looked after or were young care-leavers.

Tasked with looking into the common issues faced by young people in similar circumstances, the group focused on how young people in care can be ‘processed’ by overworked social workers, and how they can get in to difficult and dangerous circumstances because they’ve not had appropriate boundaries.

Through weekly risk-taking workshops, such as aerial acrobatics and fire sculpture, followed by a ten day residential, they devised a dark, interactive theatre piece for social workers to experience firsthand the sorts of feelings and challenges faced by young people.

Working closely with creative professionals, the group was supported to communicate and relate to people more effectively, develop healthier relationships, have fun, judge risks and challenge their own expectations of themselves.

Transformation: the project and performance resulted a clear manifesto for working with young people who are looked after; Effervescent has continued to work with Plymouth Children’s Services and University of Plymouth to design professional development framework and courses for social workers.