TONIGHT: ‘Terriers’ gun crime play makes public premiere at Royal Court

A play designed to show the stark reality of becoming involved with gangs and guns is set to be performed for the general public for one night only at the Royal Court tonight (6 November). The play shows the consequences of becoming involved with guns and gangs and the difficult decisions that young people can face. Following a successful run in schools across Merseyside the Royal Court Theatre agreed to host a performance for the general public.


The Terriers play, which was first commissioned by Merseyside Police in 2008, has been successfully used as part of the Key Stage 3 English curriculum in secondary schools across Merseyside and has been introduced to Year 6 children in local primary schools. 

Terriers was written by local playwright Maurice Bessman and produced by Miriam Mussa, whilst the Ariel Trust created and developed educational support packages for use in secondary schools. To date more than 40,000 school children in Liverpool, Knowsley and Sefton have seen the play and studied it as part of the national curriculum. 

The play is complemented by a Key Stage 3 educational resource package, which includes an interactive CD-Rom (featuring scenes from the play) the script and 10 lesson plans. This means students can examine the play in detail and also gives them the opportunity to explore the moral dilemma that some young people could find themselves faced with. 

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Richardson, who heads up the specialist Matrix team, explained: “In the last four years The Terriers has been seen by more than 40,000 school children across Merseyside and the feedback we have had from the young people involved, and the schools themselves, has been tremendous. It’s great to be able to put the play on for a public performance. 

“Terriers brings home the stark reality that people do die when guns are used and shows the devastating impact that guns can have on individuals and their families. If you use a gun the potential is that somebody won’t walk away; injuries from a gun can affect you for the rest of your life, and you could end up behind bars for a long time.”  

Playwright Maurice Bessman, said: “Earlier in the year Terriers took its powerful message to schools and acadamies all over South London. The play gained much praise from the pupils, teachers, youth offending teams and youth workers, school governors, and the Metropiltan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe. Terriers returns to Merseyside reinvigorated by great support from Mersyside Police and the very welcome assistance from the Royal Court Trust.” 

Tickets for the Terriers performance at the Royal Court are available for £5 from The Royal Court Box Office on 0870 787 1866 or on the theatre website at Details and tickets for the school performances are available at 


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