Father of Stephen Lawrence praises theatre company

THE father of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence has praised a theatre company behind a series of powerful plays aimed at steering youths away from crime. Neville Lawrence, whose son s death in 1993 led to the Metropolitan Police being branded institutio

THE father of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence has praised a theatre company behind a series of powerful plays aimed at steering youths away from crime.

Neville Lawrence, whose son's death in 1993 led to the Metropolitan Police being branded institutionally racist, was unveiled as patron of Arc Theatre, Abbey Road, Barking, on Thursday evening.

He said he was filled with hope after watching a performance by the theatre group, which produced the Stereo play trilogy highlighting gun, knife and youth crime.

The human rights campaigner was joined at the event by relatives and Richard Taylor, whose 10-year-old son, Damilola, was murdered in Lambeth in 2000.


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Stereo playwright Clifford Oliver described Mr Lawrence, who is regarded as a beacon for justice and equality, as a "hero, inspiration and friend".

Arc, celebrating its 25th anniversary, named a performance space after Mr Lawrence and a portrait of him was unveiled by artist Julia St Clair Forde.

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The ceremony and performance of the third Stereo play, Boy X, was also attended by Barking and Dagenham Police commander Chief Supt Tony Eastaugh and deputy mayor Cllr Emmanuel Obasohan.

Mr Lawrence said: "When I come out of an Arc performance, I feel full of hope for the future.

"The subject of their plays can be powerful and emotional and you know they are really getting through to young people.

"My wish for them is that they get much more support."

Mr Clifford said: "Everyone at Arc is proud to have worked with him and it's great to have this opportunity to celebrate his courage and strength."

An Arc spokesman added: "Neville Lawrence has been a real source of inspiration and motivation to Arc.

"The Lawrence report 10 years ago led to real reforms in the criminal justice system.

"Boy X has ambitions to do the same without the necessity of a further tragedy prompting action.

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