Drama as a tool to curb under-age drinking

October 24, 2013 by David Marlow
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The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) Youth Alcohol Project (YAP) incorporates drama workshops in its program to engage students in a creative conversation on the risks involved with underage drinking.

Getting the message across

Getting the message across

Elinor Zeitlen, a drama facilitator and the founder of Kids Express, presents students with a wide variety of imaginative activities and games to challenge student’s values and attitudes relating to alcohol, in particular to its misuse within their age group.

One of the most popular activities involves students developing a mock media campaign for their peers in the Jewish community, highlighting the risks of underage drinking. The students are instructed to create a billboard poster that would catch the attention of 12 to 15 year olds and assist with changing their attitudes towards alcohol.

Current media campaigns tend to focus on the consequences of drink driving and adult patterns of alcohol abuse. Young teenagers are equally exposed and involved with alcohol, in particular binge drinking. The YAP Drama Workshops are aimed at Year 7 students at the Jewish schools, a year when they start attending bar and bat mitzvahs and experience regular exposure to events that include alcohol.

Zeitlen stated “in each workshop it is wonderful to watch the students become excited to create and work on a unique and original project, they respect and thrive on the ownership of the project, it’s their words, their ideas, their issue. “

At Mount Scopus Memorial College, the Year 7’s developed many creative and colourful mock billboards including:

  • • “Have a drink and your brain will shrink”
  • • “It won’t hurt to say no, it will hurt to say yes”
  • • “Stop drinking it will affect your thinking”

The winning mock billboard was “Learn hard, party hard, drink soft” created by Roni Lipshut, Romy Miller, Brodie Katzand Maya Burstin. This message was considered to be short, simple and direct and was presented in bright colors that would attract attention from the young teen age group.

Debbie Zauder, YAP Manager commented that feedback from the students was very positive; they overwhelmingly supported learning in the creative format. The students commented that they were pleased they were not lectured on the do’s and don’ts of alcohol, that they were able to work with and for their peers on strategies and solutions for themselves.


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