Parents of murdered teenager praise new drama project

Margaret and Barry Mizen

Margaret and Barry Mizen

Margaret and  Barry Mizens, who lost their son Jimmy  in a random stabbing  in south London two years ago, spoke at the launch of the Safer Streets Drama  Project in Westminster last Thursday. 

Presented by Ten Ten Theatre, the heart of the programme is a play called Sam’s Story. In the opening scene a boy is lying in a pool of blood. Sam (Steven Luemba) stands over him knife in hand, stunned. The drama then looks back on the events leading up to this tragedy – showing how a boy with a loving mother and a teacher who has such hopes for him, could end up in prison for murder.  The play is heartbreaking to watch as Sam’s encounters with the local bully Leon (James Lewis) and his weak conniving girlfriend Zoe (Colleen Prendergast) lead him to make some bad decisions. All the performances are excellent and the dialogue is very authentic. This is a world where young men feels its cool  to get  ‘shanked up’  'show respect' and carry knives for ‘protection’.

The play is used as a springboard for further discussion, activities and reflection and is being offered to schools, youth groups and young offender institutions with additional resources in different formats that can be linked to Key Stage Three  RE and Citizenship curriculums.

Martin explained that the project was developed over 18 months,  after Ten Ten Theatre ran a series of drama workshops in Feltham Young Offenders Institution. He said: “We realised that the young men we were working with had no real sense of their future - they were living in the present, wanting immediate gratification and wealth, living without hope, aspiration or a sense of their potential.”

Martin said they used drama exercises to help the young men consider their future. “Initially using character and story and then moving on to something much deeper, more personal.”

Describing the play as “very impactive” Inspector Marc Davies from the Metropolitan Police Safer Neighbourhoods Unit said: “It demonstrates what actually is happening on the streets – not just in London but around the country. “

Margaret Mizens, who made the headlines at the funeral of her son Jimmy in May 2008 when she forgave his killer, said she felt the project had real potential to change behaviour.   She said: “I’ve seen the effect it has on young people. It gives them a space to think and consider how they are living. When we lost Jimmy our hearts were ripped out. Our only consolation is that we know Jimmy is with God. And at the end of the day we have to make something good come of this. There is no one solution but we all have a responsibility for each other.”

Ten Ten Theatre is now seeking partners with whom they can roll out the next stage of the Safer Streets Drama Project. If you are interested in getting involved or would like more information contact Martin O’Brien on 0845 388 3162  e-mail:    or visit:

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