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Chairs on a stage representing veterans' homelessness play

Student play raises awareness of the plight of veterans

Budding young playwrights and actors from Southend Adult Community College recently staged a play to highlight the need to support veterans after they leave the military. Their hard-hitting drama ‘George and Lydia Get Evicted’ follows the story of a former soldier suffering from PTSD and who is unable to cope with civilian life.

The play was written by 16-year-old Ellie Mills, one of a class of 16 to 19 year olds studying Childcare, Health and Social Care, English and Maths. “I am so proud of this group’s achievements,” says English tutor Judith Williams. “They are young men and women who left school without any qualifications and are working hard to improve their chances of employment. The empathy, resilience and passion they displayed during the play’s rehearsal process resulted in some extremely powerful performances.”

During the course of the play George’s marriage breaks down and his wife ends up homeless on the streets. The armed forces and emergency services veterans charity FirstLight Trust hopes that in real-life the family would get in contact with them. They help those who served who suffer from depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Street Disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues.

“It is a fairly brutal play but all too true,” says Dorinda Wolfe Murray, founder of FirstLight Trust. “However it gives us hope that these amazing students are drawing attention to the needs of veterans. Also if they pursue careers in health and social care, we will have valuable allies who can help get our veterans what they need.”