An ambitious project exploring the dangers of knife crime in Stoke-on-Trent will reach thousands of young people this spring.


People across the city have already begun contributing to Stealing Dreams by taking part in ‘vox-pop’-style interviews at pop-up events, sharing their concerns about knife crime in the area and thoughts on how it could be prevented.


The New Vic Borderlines project, in partnership with Knife Angel and Stoke-on-Trent City Council, will see these recordings used to help shape a hard-hitting and authentic 45-minute documentary-drama. The performance will be written and rehearsed at the New Vic in Basford and performed by three professional actors on a live-streamed community tour across 18 schools and colleges, reaching over 3,000 young people. 


The storyline will be based on real-life experiences and include voices from those on the front-line. Each performance will be followed by an interactive workshop, and every audience member will receive a handout explaining where they can find support.


Other planned activities include ‘Geography of Crime’ interactive Monopoly-style game boards with props which will pop-up in community settings and outdoors to allow participants to create fake scenarios where they can prevent knife crime. 


Stealing Dreams has been launched as the 27ft Knife Angel sculpture – which features 1800 knives taken from Stoke-on-Trent streets – has been set up at Smithfield in Hanley.


The project will continue into May with interactive ‘CSI incident room’ workshops in school classrooms, using props from the documentary-drama with the young people acting as witnesses and investigators, giving them an opportunity to rewind the ‘incident’ and prevent it.


New Vic Borderlines Director Susan Moffat said: “We are proud to be working in partnership with Knife Angel and Stoke City Council on such an important project. Stealing Dreams is a crucial opportunity for us as a community to understand from our young people, their families and friends, why knife crime occurs and how we can unite to put in effective interventions and changes. This is a chance for us to hear young voices and the voices of those affected, and respond in compassionate and determined ways to ensure that future dreams and ambitions are not stolen through knife crime.”


Cllr Lorraine Beardmore, cabinet member for Culture, Leisure and Public Health and lead for the Knife Angel project said: “The Stealing Dreams project is an innovative way for a wide range of young people to learn about the dangers and consequences of knife crime. This will form a crucial part of our education activities throughout the Knife Angel’s visit to Stoke-on-Trent.”


For more information about the project visit (Main image courtesy of UNITAS.)


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