Arc news: September 2011

The Blade Trilogy

The Blade Trilogy by Clifford Oliver

The Blade Trilogy becomes complete this autumn

We are delighted to announce that all three plays in Arc's powerful Blade Trilogy by Clifford Oliver are touring this autumn with thanks to funding from the Police, Colleges and Partnerships around London and the south east.


Pact - originally commissioned by British Transport Police
Touring 31 August to 9 September

You don't snitch - we all know the rules and we all know the consequences.

But what if your own future is at stake? What if there's a chance that an innocent person will go to jail? What if that person is your best friend?

Ethan faces an almost impossible personal dilemma that will test him like never before..

We kick off the new academic year with a brand new tour of the second play in the trilogy, Pact, which explores snitching as part of gang loyalty. Currently playing to audiences of young people funded by Kingston College in Surrey, Pact was sparked by the many discussions that followed performances of Arc's acclaimed production of Boy X - the story of the aftermath of the stabbing of a 16-year old. Violent crime and gangs continue as central themes in this piece, which enters the challenging and taboo area of ‘snitching' and the walls of silence that can prevent identification and conviction of offenders.

“Young people are our future and there is nothing more important for BTP and the police service than getting them on our side. Our work with Arc can help us engage with them both intellectually and emotionally, explain where we are coming from and through interactive drama understand better their point of view. That is a powerful and potentially life-saving combination.”
Superintendent Adrian Young, British Transport Police

Find out more about Pact

Boy X
- funded by Kingston Community & Police Partnership
and Kingston Police in partnership with Kingston Race & Equalities Council
Touring 26 to 30 September

Four boys stand at a graveside. Boy X is dead. Another 16-year old murdered. The cycle of revenge begins again.

Kingston partnerships continue their commitment to eliminating weapon crime by funding a week of performances of Boy X, the first play in the trilogy. Boy X visits secondary schools across the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, exploring weapon-carrying, gang culture and violent crime. The play is performed by four of Arc's dynamic young actors and draws upon real experiences of living on gang-dominated estates.  

"This performance was amazing.  I cried, I laughed and I thought; "This performance should be seen by everyone". I found I listened and understood this 'play' more than if police, with a badge and a gun stood infront of me, shouting the rules. The performance showed me no one can choose who you are, no one can tell you who you are, no one can stand behind you forever, not everyone's going to be there to catch you when you fall. When you make the decision to take the gun/money/knife, you're making the decision to betray yourself, your family, and everyone that who was once there to catch you. So sometimes it's best to think about consequences of your actions, and the people who love you, will warn you to stay away from the people who will hurt you."
Barking & Dagenham Secondary School student

Find out more about Boy X

Girl E
- commissioned by British Transport Police
with LBBD tour funded by Metropolitan Police Authority
Touring 7 to 18 November

From gangster's moll to the honey in the honey trap, young women have always been involved in gang crime. Some are willing participants, others may see little or no alternative. Whether we see them as victims or perpetrators, many of these women experience unimaginable levels of physical and sexual violence.


Girl E is the third play in Arc's acclaimed Blade Trilogy , following Boy X and Pact . It looks at the increasing number of young women who are becoming involved in gang activity, through the story of a 16 year-old girl who has experienced neglect, abuse and unspeakable degradation in her short life. With little parental support or guidance, she has found society in street gangs, reflecting the violence of her upbringing by committing violent acts against others. At a point in her life when she seeks to finally take control and change, can we offer her the support to do so?

Arc is hosting a special Girl E Gala evening at The Malthouse Studios, Barking on Thursday 10 November, during the first week of its tour to London schools. The play will be followed by a panel discussion with invited guests, including British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police. There will be a collection on the evening to support our ambition to reach as many young people as possible with this play.

Places are strictly limited, but if you are interested in attending, please contact Nita Bocking at Arc stating the organisation you represent and your full contact details.

Arc’s Blade Trilogy, written by Clifford Oliver and directed by Carole Pluckrose, represents a journey of work exploring some of the most hard-hitting issues affecting young people, the community and our society today.

From youth violence and gang crime, to loyalty, trust and abuse, each play has been developed through talking with young people about their personal experiences. Each performance and workshop programme for ages 12+ offers an opportunity to explore difficult themes in a safe space. The play is followed by a lively discussion where young people are offered a safe forum to talk about their feelings, fears and the complex pressures they experience.

To find out more about Boy X, Pact and Girl E email Nita Bocking at Arc or call 020 8594 1095.

Move over flyer for reverse...

The Blade Trilogy




STOP PRESS! New autumn/winter Primary Programmes now available for booking

Pranked - tackling cyber-bullying for anti-bullying week (pdf, 160k)
The New Tin Soldier - Arc's Christmas production for Key Stages 1 and 2 (pdf, 90k)


Read our September Newsletter for news of Pranked and Girl E, and a special introduction from Barking & Dagenham Borough Commander Matt Bell.

Arc diary of events

Every Saturday
Barking & Dagenham Good Causes Lottery Draw
Click here to buy your ticket to support Arc Theatre!

Throughout '20
Young people for LB B&D MOPAC & Jack Petchey:
Raised Voices female leadership programme

Throughout '20
Nursery, infant & primary schools:
Oliver's Tales storytelling workshops

Throughout '20
Primary & secondary schools in London Boroughs:
Broadcast/Broadcast Junior online safety programme

Throughout '20
Primary & secondary schools for BeFirst/LB B&D:
Streets Ahead / Crossing Over road safety drama workshops

Throughout '20
London & south east primary schools for HS2 Ltd:
Playing it Safe health & safety programme

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