- Why did you decide to commission a project like ‘Feel The Hate?’
I believe that the police and crime commissioner wanted this play to be delivered to our area because following BREXIT the hate crime figures in our area increased and he felt that would get a very strong message to our youth in the hope they would be less influenced by the hate crime that they may have seen or heard occurring in their area.
- Why is it so important to Cumbria and do you think it should be branched even further in other communities? Why?
I don’t not think that there is an area that would not benefit from the advice! It should be relayed to even younger people than year 9 kids in my opinion. Sadly hate crime has the potential to affect any community and some people do not realise that their prejudice could actually be criminal.
- What sort of sentences would people who victimise others and perform hate crime get? E.g. Prison, fines etc.?
It would depend on the type of incident associated with the hate crime. The incident itself will hold certain sentences according to what it is eg. assault, murder. However, the fact that it is associated with a ‘hate crime’ means that the sentence can be extended due to it not just insulting that one person, but also the entire community that they are associated with such as: the homosexual community or all muslims e.t.c.
- Are there any of the stories in the play that are more significant to the Cumbria area and why?
They were all very important but:
I think that the story about Suzie was very important because he do not have many people in our area who are seen to demonstrate their religious believes through such identifiable clothing, therefore seeing ladies in these garments makes people notice them more which leads to a visual cue of “they are different to me”.
I think that Joe’s story is important to young men as Cumbria is very traditional and men tend to have very stereo-typical lives here. There are not the support organisations and agencies based here in Cumbria that are well known enough for people to know where to go to if they felt they had a need to talk to someone and I am sure that young people find it hard to “come out” even when there is an advice centre down the road, which we just don’t have.
Anya’s story was very impactive for people who are living in our area from Eastern Europe that are probably seen to be taking peoples work and without good English would find it hard to integrate into our society that is not very multicultural. Our supermarkets do not stock products like the ones in the large cities do so people from other countries must find it hard to feel “at home”.
- Do you think anything within the play will be a shock to the audience?
I think that we are fairly good at being sympathetic to people with physical disabilities and some children would find it shocking that Kim was given such a hard time. I think that it is a shocking lesson to learn that one punch can kill a person but I am glad of that lesson!
Which character resonates best and do you feel the strongest connection to?
Personally I feel the strongest connection to Anya because…. I was born in England but moved to Scotland when I was 4 with other members of my family as my dad’s job was based there. I joined Primary school and lived a very happy life making good friends. However, the bigger picture was not so pleasant. My whole family suffered many years of abuse because we were English living in Scotland. A person in my family was so badly bullied and then attacked with bricks on the way home from school. They were immediately moved to England to a boarding school out of fear they would be killed or that they would kill themselves as they was so depressed. This broke up the family unit and was very damaging for everyone. We had to sell our house, (eventually) and my parents left their jobs just to protect us all from violence.
This did not stop just because we moved to England.
My family member was then invited to a party in Scotland many years later, to their old best friends (only friend) house where they were beaten very badly. I remember seeing them walking up the garden path, their face was purple and their eyes swollen so badly they couldn’t see out of them properly and they had driven back from Scotland in this condition. I can’t believe they even survived to be honest.
This resulted in my wider family then blaming “the Scottish” people which has always been very hard for me because my “home” was Scotland as I had grown up there from 4 years old and was very “Scottish” at heart. I moved to England when I was 11 so all of my child hood memories were connected to a happy life, for me at least, in Scotland.
Moving to England meant I had to lose my broad Scottish accent just because I was so scared that I would be beaten up in England because I sounded different. I changed my identity out of fear of being a target for hatred.
On brighter note… I think that people will identify with Joe more than they let on. Gay lads watching the play will feel a secret connection to him and people may change their vocabulary now knowing that “that gay bag “does actually represent a person.
- And for a bit of fun, if you weren’t in the police…what would you like to be doing in dream world?
If I won the lottery I would buy a massive mansion and like Angelina Jolie, adopt of lots of children and given them a brighter future.