Shouting out during a performance is generally frowned upon but for Phoenix College year eight students, calling out during The Smashed Project is all part of the fun - and learning how to deal with peer pressure around underage drinking.
The Smashed Project is dedicated to breaking the culture of underage drinking and reducing alcohol-related harm and is a performance in two halves.
In the first half, three actors perform a theatre piece depicting three young people trying to get on with their lives and the problems and consequences they face when they get involved in underage drinking.
In the second half, students become the directors and look back on the play about how the outcome could be changed by doing things differently.
During this time, students can call out scenarios and words the actors could use to avoid the peer pressure and make a wiser decision.
"Every time one of the characters is about to give in to peer pressure, the audience can shout out 'do this' or 'say that'," said Tim Watt, director of theatre-in-education group Gibber Australia who tour The Smashed Project across Australia.
"It's really powerful because when they are advising the actors, what they are really doing is advising each other and trying to work out themselves what they would do in this situation."
"It's a key to try to prepare them for things they hopefully haven't been involved in yet but might be exposed to in future."
While year eight might seem young to learn the dangers of drinking, Mr Watt said it was better they be prepared with strategies ahead of time.
"Young people don't want to be lectures about these things," he said.
"Young people in this age group don't respond well to being lectured and value having open and honest conversations about drinking and how this can impact their physical and mental wellbeing," he said.
The Smashed Project, which is funded by alcohol company Diageo Australia, comes as Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures show Australians are drinking less and more underage Australians are abstaining from drinking.
"Young people need to realise not everyone is out getting drunk on weekends or evenings," Mr Watt said.
Since it was bought to Australia last year, about 47,000 students have seen the performance and it's the second year that The Smashed Project has been performed at Phoenix P-12 Community College.
Mr Watt said an evaluation study after last year's Australian tour found students' understanding, attitudes and behaviours toward drinking had improved - with students often telling the actors they had never realised that one day of drinking could lead to death, or the impact that underage drinking could have on their physical and mental health.
"The results are clear that students and the teaching staff are responding well to our fun, interactive yet educational style of the program," Mr Watt said.
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