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Theatrical stabbing is a warning to schoolchildren

PUBLISHED: 15:03 24 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:32 07 September 2010

Ben McPartland A TEENAGER lies dead on a London street after being stabbed with his own knife, which he had been carrying in his back pocket for self defence. It has become a familiar story and one that was played out in front of teenagers on a stage in H

Ben McPartland

A TEENAGER lies dead on a London street after being stabbed with his own knife, which he had been carrying in his back pocket for self defence.

It has become a familiar story and one that was played out in front of teenagers on a stage in Hampstead School this week.

It's No Joke is a production funded by the Met police to get the message across to youngsters that carrying blades can be deadly.

"Even if we just get the message across to one young person then we will have done our job," said Annabel Bates, one of the three actors in the play.

The production, written by Keith Palmer from Camden's Comedy School, has been touring schools across London.

Last Friday it was the turn of 12 and 13-year-olds from Hampstead School to hear about the damage knives can do to people's lives.

Nadine Woodley, another show actor, said: "This is also about getting them to understand the dangers about carrying knives. People can get hurt in any situation.

Joe Conteh, the third actor, said: "We are trying to open up the communication so they don't feel they cannot talk about it. It is about making them aware of the law."

Two of the characters in the play - PC Romeo and PC Juliet - told their young audience the consequences of carrying knives by reeling off the possible jail sentences for those convicted.

Kids at the Westbere Road school were also warned about the likely injuries caused by being stabbed, including bleeding to death over a period of two weeks.

Devron Martin, 12, said: "It taught me the importance of not carrying knives."

His classmate Laiah Jeeves said: "It was really good the way they described things. It was very informative."

Head of year Annette Hurley said: "These kids are just on the borderline. This is the time we need to catch them because they are starting to look outside school at what is going on out there.

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