Hampstead Downstairs and The Children’s Society have announced that Phil Davies’ play Firebird, which was filmed before it closed on 24th October, 2015, will be shown for free worldwide. Supported by Time Out, Firebird will be available to watch from Friday 6th November, 2015 10am on timeout.com/firebird, hampsteadtheatre.com and childrenssociety.org.uk
Tia’s mouthy attitude and confident swagger hide a vulnerable teenager whose tough start in life dangerously draws her to AJ. Older, good-looking and charismatic, AJ shows her a kindness that she’s never known. Kindness that comes with a price…
Available to watch for free until Tuesday 10th November, 2015 at midnight, Firebird tells the story of a how a teenage girl is groomed by an older man. Phil Davies debut play is based on the recent cases of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxfordshire and other towns that have shocked the nation – how could they happen?
The Children’s Society’s Seriously Awkward campaign is urging the Government to strengthen the law so that all young people experiencing sexual exploitation – in particular 16 and 17 year olds – get the protection they need and the access to justice they deserve. childrenssociety.org.uk/seriouslyawkward. The free stream of Firebird hopes to shine a light on this desperate situation.
A new report launched by The Children’s Society today reveals that huge numbers of sex crimes against older teenagers in England and Wales in the last year went unreported and unpunished because many victims were gripped by the fear of not being believed and suspicion of the justice system. The staggering scale of under-reporting is highlighted in new figures obtained and analysed by the charity, which underline the appalling number of sexual offences against 16 and 17 year olds in the last year. Through Freedom of Information Requests, the charity found that police in England recorded 4,900 sexual offence cases — including sexual exploitation, rape and sexual assaults — against 16 and 17 year olds in the last year. But in stark contrast, the organisation’s analysis of the Crime Survey for England and Wales reveals that an estimated 50,000 girls alone say they have been victims of these crimes. More than for other age groups.
Firebird writer Phil Davies says: “When Edward Hall told me Hampstead were going to produce my first play, Firebird, I was incredibly excited. I’m even more excited now that my play will be supporting the brilliant Children’s Society’s campaign to make sure its themes are seen by as many people as possible via Time Out. If Firebird can in some way have a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable young people I will be very proud indeed.”
Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, says: “Firebird is a striking and authentic play about child sexual exploitation and highlights the sorts of issues our services help support children and young people with. The play shows how easy it can be for vulnerable children to experience sexual exploitation and how these young people are, all too often, failed by authorities. We want to thank Time Out and Hampstead Theatre for supporting The Children’s Society’s Seriously Awkward campaign. We encourage as many people as possible to watch Firebird online and sign up to support our campaign.”
Artistic Director of Hampstead Theatre and Director of Firebird Edward Hall says: “Theatre has an incredible power to provoke discussion and sometimes to even bring about change. Without the platform for new writing, this power rapidly diminishes. Hampstead Downstairs exists for moments like now – presenting new writing that’s bold and ambitious; theatre that has the power to inspire, to challenge and to provoke. Stories that reflect what’s going on in the world in which we live today. We’re thrilled that our work can support The Children’s Society’s cause and are indebted to Time Out for helping us showcase such an important story.”
The cast of Firebird is Callie Cooke, Tahirah Sharif and Phaldut Sharma.
Throughout the free stream, viewers can interact via twitter and facebook using #Firebird and #SeriouslyAwkward. Follow @TimeOutLondon, @Hamps_Theatre and @childrensociety to join the conversation and live commentary. A post show Q&A video with the writer and director of Firebird and staff from The Children’s Society will also be made available to viewers.