A Banbury Academy sixth form drama student is hoping to transform her extended project into a play highlighting the difficulties students face around issues of sexuality.
Brittany Bain, a Year 13 student, has undertaken an active research project to understand the dilemmas facing Year 7, 8 and 9 students when confronted with their developing feelings towards sexuality particularly those who identify with the LBGTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning) community.
Brittany approached the school in order to assess the best way to set up an anonymous survey which would ask meaningful and revealing questions about the students’ thoughts and preconceived notions of sexuality.
Brittany said: “When I was doing my work experience, which was all drama-related, I was inspired by another school with something they did with LBGT to do something for my own school which would create awareness, support and a more tightly-knit community for something that I don’t think we have done much on.”
The inspiration Brittany speaks of was the Warriner School’s Project Q, a 20-minute drama which incorporated physical theatre and dialogue taken directly from interviews with young people about their experiences relating to gender, sexuality and how these are treated by their peers and adults.
Brittany said: “What I want to do is collect monologues from students within the school that are part of the LBGTQ+ community, good or bad experiences of what’s gone on when they’ve come out or they haven’t come out, and any struggles or strifes they’ve had.”
The survey was carefully structured to provide both insightful answers whilst maintaining a high degree of trust and sensitivity. Brittany, who herself isn’t gay, also used the experiences of her gay and bisexual friends to sculpt the questions. She said: “What I found was there isn’t a bad perception of LGBTQ+ generally at the school at all but there is a lack of understanding of things like the difference between sex and gender. And also the last question was ‘would you feel comfortable coming out openly as gay’ and a lot of people said ‘no’ because they were scared about what their friends would think and other people’s opinions.”
Brittany will perform the play to the lower years in the new year followed by a questionnaire to gauge its impact.
She said: “I want to increase the understanding with my own research and with the performance itself and spread a bit of love for LBGT.”