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June 2004
Young mums become playwrights
Actors
Actors rehearse during Transmissions 2003

Teenage mums from Batmans Hill Pupil Referral Unit in Sandwell have been working with playwrights and actors at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, to create their own plays that will be performed at the theatre at the end of June.

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The REP's young writers festival, Transmissions, takes place from 17 June to 3 July. The three weeks feature plays by 21 young writers from across the region and also plays by pupils from some of the region's inner city schools.

Tickets cost £5 / £3.50 concessions.

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Batmans Hill is a unit for pregnant teenagers and mothers who have been forced out of mainstream education because of their pregnancy.

Actor
Actor reheasing

Six of the pupils from the school have been working with Wolverhampton playwright Arzhang Pezhman for the last six months and their plays will now performed by professional actors at The REP on Wednesday 23 June as part of the theatre's young writers festival, Transmissions.

Transmissions is a course for young writers led by professional writers, directors and actors.

Arzhang Pezhman, who has had his plays performed at the Rep and at the Royal Court Theatre, says of the scheme with Batmans Hill:
"Most of the girls had never been to theatre before, so the whole experience for them has been a real eye-opener. I think people would automatically assume that because of their situation there would be some unwillingness to take part, but this has been far from the truth.

Actor
Actor reheasing

"They've produced some fantastic scripts, some of which have been inspired by their lives and relationships, but not all have been gritty domestic dramas. One girl has written a very naturalistic piece about superstition. The whole process has been an extremely beneficial education and creative opportunity for the pupils and, I know they can't wait to see their work on stage."

Other schools taking part in the Rep's young writers outreach scheme are Heartlands High School, Swanshurst Girls' School and Handsworth Grammar School.

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