Young Voices: Liverpool PEN performance
An arresting start to the proceedings was provided by the Seasons Playhouse in Liverpool, âYoung Voicesâ. Part of the Poverty Ends Now (PEN) initiative, the actors spoke brief monologues, based on interviews with 140 young people from Merseyside. These graphically illustrated not only the shifts to which âproper, proper povertyâ drives people, but the shame, the despair and the anger it produces in those who suffer it:
âŠof the young man who couldnât always afford his bus fare to school, so he sneaks on to the bus. âSometimes, I get away with it, but sometimes I get caught.â He speaks of the look the other passengers give him âthinking the absolute worst of youâ,
… of the young girl whose parents canât afford to replace her school clothes: âby January, itâs easy to tell whoâs strugglingâŠ..shoes falling apartâŠâ and the taunting that results: âKids can be cruel.â
âŠof the young man whose friend often sleeps at his house because his own is damp and heâs forced to share a room hardly big enough for two with his three brothers. When he tells this friend he canât sleep at his house for some reason, âthe look he gives me is scarring.â
âŠ.of another who talks about the almost complete absence of any human bond in an area he has lived in all his life: âNobody trusts anyoneâŠ.in 2015, I still feel unsafe in my community.â
The Liverpool group are part of a wider project that brought together a group of young people from around the UK to create an anti poverty manifesto in their own words. The group showcased their manifesto in Parliament in 2014.
Further information about the PEN project can be found here.
The full six-point PEN manifesto can be downloadedÂ here.