Background The play was a co-production between the Ardgowan Hospice Butterfly Service and Greenock Players Youth. It was inspired by true stories, in particular a young person’s wish to make a difference and help children like she had been after the death of her father. It was funded thanks to the kind anonymous donation of a couple who had a relative supported by the Butterfly Service.
The young cast perform powerful stories, in the form of monologues, based on real case studies. In taking the child’s point of view it communicates important messages to adults about how some of the language and terminology used when someone has died can cause upset and confusion. Some of the phrases that are known to have caused upset in real life are used in the play, i.e. ‘Your mum is in the sky’ and using the phrase ‘Passed away’ to a child who doesn’t know it means death. The play demonstrates how they really feel when they have experienced grief.
The play aims to raise awareness of the needs of bereaved children and young people by giving age appropriate information and give them a chance to express their feelings and thoughts about death and dying. Bereaved children should have a voice and not be left as forgotten mourners. It also aims to make adults really think about the language and phrases they use with children. Attempts to protect children and young people from the truth can sometimes leave them confused and alone with their questions, fears and powerful feelings.
The play was initially screened at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock on 10 October 2018 to professionals who work with children, with very positive feedback. The play was filmed with the intention of it being used as a resource to help support children and young people dealing with grief and this is currently work-in-progress.
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