Unflinching portrayal of the dangers of child sexual exploitation
Any complacency over the horrors of child sexual exploitation happening in south Lincolnshire were swept away by the play Chelsea’s Choice.
Produced and performed by professional drama group and social enterprise AlterEgo Creative Solutions of Northampton, the play tells the story of three students and their teacher who discover the diary of Chelsea.
After falling out with friends and family, Chelsea is approached by a man called Gary who wins her over by owning a car, a flat and treating Chelsea like an adult.
But in true Alfred Hitchcock fashion, Gary eventually shows his true colours as a sexual predator, leaving Chelsea abused, exploited and totally damaged physically, psychologically and sexually.
Chelsea’s Choice pulled no punched, reducing one parent in the audience to tears with its “in your face” acting by Richar Nutter, Orianna Charles, Rhys Jones and Grace Millie.
After the play, the quartet conducted a question and answer session with the audience during which Richard revealed that about 250,000 young people, teachers, governors and police officers had seen the play.
The most surprising thing about it was that what may have been considered too urban for a rural audience hit home in a big way.
During the question and answer session, Richard said: “We’ve shown Chelsea’s Choice to a quarter of a million young people in Years 8, 9 and 10, school governors and police, indeed anyone in a professional sphere whose life comes into contact with sexual exploitation.
“Our job is to try and raise awareness and put a toolbox in place to recognise the signs and do something about it.
“Generally, it’s about these people who are being driven to exploit young people, working out quite sophisticated methods to weedle their way into young people’s lives.
“We’ve got to get the young people to recognise what’s happening to them, especially retrospectively because it’s buried really deep.”
The performance was organised by PCSO Bev Robinson from Spalding Police Station, with support from South Holland District Council, Spalding East Rural Community Policing Panel, Weston Consolidated Charity and funds from Proceeds of Crime legislation.
PCSO Robinson said: “This was an excellent opportunity for parents, grandparents and carers to find out about child sex exploitation, understand what grooming is and where to get help and advice.
“Children’s safety is everybody’s business, not just teachers, parents and friends.”
Dennis Farnsworth, chairman of Spalding East Rural Neighbourhood Policing Community Panel, said: “The principle for us is if it’s happening to young people, then this opportunity needs to be taken up because it’s going to be worth it.”
Lynne Goodwin of AlterEgo Creative Solutions said: “We are delighted at the huge success of Chelsea’s Choice and the massive impact it is having around the country.
“We are also very proud to be able to make such a significant contribution to raising awareness of the many issues raised in the play.”