5:05pm Tuesday 17th April 2012
By Nikki Jarvis
A powerful, hard-hitting play about how stop and search police powers effect families is being put on in Catford.
Stop Search, featuring the voice of Bill Nighy as a senior officer, highlights the tense drama young people are forced to play out in public – sometimes over and over again - thanks to the police policy.
It tells the story of two happy families, one white and one black, thrown together by celebration and disaster.
Renée Castle plays Dianne, the mother of a boy repeatedly stopped by police.
She told Vibe: “I’ve never been stopped and before this production I had never met anyone who had been stopped.
“But wow, this happens a lot.
“People have often been randomly walking along the street and stopped and told they match the description of someone who has committed a burglary.
“The case often seems to be it’s because they are black.
“From the stories I’ve heard from people connected to the production, people feel a sense of shame.
“You are being embarrassed and picked on for what might seem like no apparent reason and it happens repeatedly.”
In the show Dianne and Ivan discover how little they understand of son Callie's journey into the adult world.
Renée says the play connects to people on a human level, as well as being very politically relevant, and demonstrates how the policy can lead to people feeling resentful towards the police.
She added: “It’s alienating people and that is making the situation worse rather than better.
“I would be freaking it out if it happened to me three times, let alone over and over again.
“It breeds the attitude and frustration and creates problems where there were none before.
“It’s also destructive to the people that have to do it – they are part of a system that doesn’t work, creates victims and targets.
“It basically gives permission and tools to be able to practice racism and target groups in the community – that is just wrong.
“It’s a human rights issue really.”
Renée was attracted to the role thanks to the compelling human interest story, powerful message and strong writing.
She said: “I thought ‘wow, this is absolutely something I can support’ - everyone needs to be aware of this.
“Putting something into an artistic form is such a powerful way to reach people – it makes you look at it and think ‘this could be me’.
“This thing is a bit of a poison in our society.
“There’s nothing anyone can do about it.
“It’s not a story about the black community, it’s completely universal, a London issue – none of us are immune to this thing.
“The play is definitely worth seeing, all politics aside.”
As well as addressing a very serious issue, Stop Search is proud to feature the vocal talents of film stars Bill Nighy and Siân Phillips.
The play runs from Friday (April 27) to May 26 at the Broadway Theatre, Catford.
For bookings visit stopsearch.co.uk or call the box office on 020 8690 0002.
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