THEATR Clwyd has been recognised for its unique approach to engaging with young people through the arts.

The theatre came runner up in this year’s ScottishPower Foundation Awards innovative award category.

A prize of £2,500 was presented to the organisation at the recent event, which celebrated the charitable organisations funded by the ScottishPower Foundation this year.

Based in Mold, the leading theatre has an annual creative engagement programme which works with more than 50,000 people.

Its Justice in a Day initiative, which is funded by the ScottishPower Foundation, is a full day workshop for young people aged 13-15.

It follows the character Connor as he gets involved in a crime followed by an arrest and a court case with part of the activities taking place at the Magistrates’ Court with a real magistrate.

This year, the programme focused on county lines – a growing issue in North Wales – which sees gangs from inner cities target vulnerable young people in more remote areas to distribute their drugs.

Working in partnership with police and teachers, the programme highlights issues which can often be difficult to explain to young people and by using theatre production and live storytelling with actors, it allows students to witness a very real scenario.

In 2019, Justice in a Day toured for five weeks and was seen by more than 800 pupils and 300 teachers, who are an important audience for helping to educate young people on common criminalities and the severity of getting involved.

Gwenna Mair Jones, director of creative engagement from Theatr Clwyd said: “By increasing the digital element of the project we will be able to keep it relevant for the young people taking part, as the story can be told through the platforms that young people use.

"The project will be a positive experience for the ex-offenders who will be able to engage with the arts and feel part of the community. At the same time, it will also allow the young people to hear first-hand accounts of crime and the impact that it has not only had on the victim and the perpetrator but also the wider community.”

The addition of £2,500 will allow the group to begin creating an extension of the project. Working with Berwyn Prison and ex-offenders, the theatre group plan to explore stories about experiences of prison life.

The prize money will support the funding for a digital artist who will be able to record these stories and use them in Justice in a Day.

Melanie Hill, executive officer and trustee at the ScottishPower Foundation, added: “Theatr Clywd’s ability to tackle current, societal issues and engage with young people is outstanding.

"They are very worthy runners-up of our Innovative Award.

“In March, we revealed our £1.25 million funding programme to show our support for third sector organisations in local communities across the UK. Our annual awards ceremony is an opportunity to join like-minded individuals together and showcase the incredible work they do. It is fantastic to see and hear about the impact they have on people’s lives.”