The Toon Tackles Real-Life Issues in Youth Drama Production at Youth Beatz 2024

The Toon is a hard hitting interactive, issue-based drama production taking a look into some of the real-life issues faced by today’s young people. Delivered by young people, The Toon gives other young people information and advice when dealing with issues that commonly affect their lives, such as: sexual health, poverty and inequality, knife crime, alcohol, drugs and mental health. Young volunteers involved in The Toon have been working away behind the scenes writing their scripts, designing sets and much more and volunteering collectively over 1000 hours a week of time.

The Toon is led by the Youth Enquiry Service and is a straight-talking way of providing information to young people aged 14-25 about current issues that might be affecting them, their peer group, or are likely to affect them in the future. The issues portrayed through the drama production are chosen by the young people involved in The Toon.

The young performers and the stage crew, who can be seen throughout the weekend at Youth Beatz 2024, completed their 2-week intensive camp called “Toon Camp” that ran during the school Easter Holidays. Young people were involved in planning the immersive experience and developing the new show and set designs so that new and relevant issues can be explored at this year’s event. The camp saw young people taking part in various workshops in order to improve their knowledge and understanding about the complex issues that can affect young people. The course was also packed full of performance training, script writing, vocal coaching, costume design, set production, as well as vital learning through issue-based workshops on the topics that the experience will look to explore with those who venture through The Toon on the event days.

Dayle Smith, aged 17 who is a peer educator in The Toon said: “Being part of The Toon and the camp has helped me to build on my confidence and supported me to learn new

skills in terms of drama, script writing and set design. The issue-based workshops delivered by partner services, helped all of us involved learn about situations that happen within our local community and what support is available for young people.

The Toon is a great way to raise awareness to other young people, giving them information through real-life examples”.

At Youth Beatz Festival, The Toon runs as tours, giving young people the chance to have look round the fictional town and meet different characters in different situations. Young people will then go into a workshop delivered by Youth Workers, where they will have the chance to further explore some of the issues faced in The Toon and gain information on where to get support if they are affected by any of the topics.

Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake said: “It is incredibly important to Dumfries and Galloway Council to recognise and address the issues that our young people are facing every day in our region and across the country. The Toon is a fantastic and creative way of upskilling young people using a peer education approach. The issues covered through the production are hard hitting, but the experience and messages taken away are thought provoking and hopeful. We are continually thankful for the support and knowledge from partner organisations who help to design and deliver The Toon alongside the young volunteers.”

The Toon is an integral part of Youth Beatz 2024 which takes place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June, once again at Park Farm Showfield, Dumfries. The interactive youth drama production has run for a number of years and has been a central hub for getting young people involved in what has been described as a “brilliant way of educating young people and making you think outside the box”. The Toon will also be running shows in the week leading up to the Youth Beatz festival days, with secondary schools from across Dumfries and Galloway taking part in organised visits.

Vice-Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee Councillor Jackie McCamon said: “The Toon is a fantastic way of providing information to young people, with the topics being informed by the young people involved in the group. I would like to thank all of the young volunteers who are involved in The Toon production for all of their commitment and hard work, and I’m excited to see what The Toon has in store for 2024.”

The Toon is brought to you by the Youth Enquiry Service, working in partnership with Youth Work DG, Police Scotland, Domestic Abuse & Violence Against Woman Partnership, Sexual Health D&G, LGBT Youth Scotland, Rape Crisis and ADP. The Toon is funding by the National Lottery Young Start Fund, Alcohol & Drugs Partnership and Dumfries & Galloway Council and is supported by Event Scotland.

For more information, contact [email protected] or phone the Youth Enquiry Service on 01387 251322 or check us out on Facebook @ The Toon.