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PCC Community Action Fund project leads to BBC documentary

Theatre-Orchard-War-on-Loan-Sharks

A locally produced play about anti-social behaviour, which received funding from Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens’ Community Action Fund, has been the inspiration for a BBC documentary on loan sharks.

‘The War on Loan Sharks’, on BBC1 at 10.45pm this evening, will look at how illegal money lenders prey on households struggling to make ends meet.  The programme will also cover the effect this has on local communities, as well as speaking with victims living with the consequences of borrowing beyond their means. 

The documentary has been inspired by Bournville Community Theatre and Theatre Orchard’s short film – Forever in Your Debt – which looks at the catastrophic consequences of illegal money lending on people’s lives.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “I have always been incredibly impressed with the Theatre Orchard’s innovative ways of preventing anti-social behaviour through the medium of theatre, film and peer education.  Their efforts have brought together a local community and portray local issues that they have all been affected by.

“Illegal money lending can blight the lives of our communities and it’s important that we raise awareness of issues like this. I’m delighted that Forever in Your Debt has been recognised, and that this once community based project is being acknowledged on a national level.” 

Theatre Orchard originally received £4,800 from the Commissioner’s Community Action Fund towards a phased arts programme engaging the Bournville Community Theatre and members of the local community in the exploration of hard hitting social issues through the medium of the arts.

The play was performed in the summer of 2015 and in the November, the group reformed to produce a short film with Homespun Films, young people from Weston College and local residents.

Theatre Orchard, Creative Producer Fiona Matthews said: “We’ve been really lucky to work with the Bournville Community Theatre, local residents and young people from Weston College.  We’re all delighted that after the launch of our film, Drummer TV were interested in creating a documentary based on what we’d produced. 

“The documentary has a national focus, but it’s great that the Bournville are included in the production and that our work was the initial stimulus for the piece.  Some of the members of the theatre company feature within the documentary and they’re very excited about the prospect of being on national TV.”

Theatre Orchard aim to combine a professional theatre offer for the region, supporting general quality of life and wellbeing, with direct engagement strategies that give people across society a voice, regardless of social or economic context.

Posted on Tuesday 10th January 2017
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