Shocking end to drugs drama

Brian Mullan, Vice Chairman of Newtownabbey PCSP and Alderman John Blair, PCSP Chairman, pictured at the Courtyard Theatre with Heather Laposa, Neil Keery, Julie Maxwell and Dan Leith, cast members of the drama 'Popping Candy'. INNT 04-019-PSB
Brian Mullan, Vice Chairman of Newtownabbey PCSP and Alderman John Blair, PCSP Chairman, pictured at the Courtyard Theatre with Heather Laposa, Neil Keery, Julie Maxwell and Dan Leith, cast members of the drama 'Popping Candy'. INNT 04-019-PSB
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A new play aimed at dissuading young people from taking drugs was attended by approximately 100 people at The Courtyard Theatre.

The audience turned out to watch “Popping Candy”, a drama highlighting the dangers of mephedrone use.

Alderman John Blair, chairman of Newtownabbey Policing and Community Safety Partnership, said that the play, which was aimed at “young and adult audiences”, was attended by a “mixture of people” including representatives from a number of the borough’s community groups.

Mr Blair said: “I have no doubt that many who were there work with large groups of young people.

“The play was intended to be hard-hitting and look at how many people live during their student days. It also addressed some issues which young people are being faced with.

“The play ends with a shocking and thought-provoking conclusion.”

It is part of an awareness campaign based on the theme: “Legal Highs: How low will you go?”.

It is aimed at challenging common misconceptions such as the assumption that so-called legal highs are safe.

It tells the tale of four young people living in a shared student house, “Mick”, a fun-loving lad from Belfast, away from home for the first time, rebellious Goth, “Pearl”, from Bangor, “Armagh Tim”, a country boy, and “Alison”, from Rathcoole, who longs to get out of Northern Ireland.

The play follows the characters who are juggling responsibility and coursework and struggling with an increasing desire to get ”out of their heads”.

Artistic director Patricia Downey said: “Popping Candy will resonate with anyone trying to understand and come to terms with the issues facing this generation’s young people. It highlights just how readily drugs/alcohol are available to our youth - no matter what their class, gender, age, or where they live.”

Mr Blair went on to say that the production by The Spanner in the Works Theatre Company was a “brilliant example of how a regional authority can work with a local authority”.

“Popping Candy” was funded by the Northern Ireland Policing Board and hosted by Newtownabbey Policing and Community Safety Partnership.

It will now be hosted by PCSPs in regional towns across Northern Ireland.