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  We prepared for nuclear fallout at our school
Updated 25 May 2004, 08.26
Making a shelter
A group of Year 10 students at Hampstead High School spent a day exploring what would happen if there were a nuclear accident on the railway lines outside their school.

They had one school day to turn this into a piece of theatre.

Here is what they thought of the experience.

"Every week there are trains, carry highly radioactive nuclear waste, travelling past us on the lines and if there was an accident the whole area would be contaminated.

Risks involved

We met in our drama room and were given a talk by Patrick van der Bulck, a campaigner against nuclear technology, (CND).

He spoke about the risks involved and what would be likely to happen if there was such an accident.

Created scenes

Neela Dolezalova, the writer responsible for the project, gave each participating student a piece of paper with paragraph of background information into the characters we were to become for the rest of the day.

Aside from that we were given only a few lines at the beginning and in the middle to guide our improvisations.

For the rest of the day we formed groups and, with the help of a few choice lines from Neela, we created several scenes throughout the school.

Getting into character
Getting into character
Fooled students

We were told to close all doors and windows and wait for the police to come and were exploring how we would feel were we plunged into that situation.

In fact, during the course of the day we got so into our characters and the situation that fellow students, coming in just to watch for a few minutes, could not tell when we were acting and when we were not.

At the end of the day we went over what we had created and were filmed by cameramen and had photographers taking pictures for local papers.

Eye-opener

What made what we were doing so interesting and hard-hitting was, for us, the fact that an incident like that could happen at any time.

And, before today, I had no idea that there were nuclear trains let alone the consequences of one crashing."

Ahmed and Robert, 15, Hampstead High School


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