Drama, theatre and performance students at NUI Galway have this week premiered the short film Lucy’s House Party, directed by Dr Charlotte McIvor and created as part of a sexual violence prevention initiative, The Manuela Programme, aimed at transition year students in more than 120 secondary schools across Ireland.
An NUI Galway and Galway Rape Crisis Centre co-production, Lucy’s House Party, created by the students, is a film adaptation of a devised theatre play, 100 Shades of Grey. The play was initially responding to a report written by researchers at NUI Galway’s School of Psychology entitled, ‘Young People, Alcohol and Sex: What’s Consent Got to Do With It?’
The Manuela Programme is a six-session, 12-hour, classroom-based intervention of which the film will form an integral part. The necessity to have an Irish-based context film inserted into the programme was thought essential, and resulted in The Manuela Riedo Foundation Ireland committing funds to this film project. The short film will be used as a specific learning tool to create discussion, debate, and learning around the issues of healthy relationships, and sexual consent along with the context, consequences, and attitudes to excessive alcohol and drugs within a group of friendships.
After being piloted earlier this year at schools in Kerry, Wexford, and Galway, The Manuela Programme has just been funded for expansion into 120 secondary schools with significant financial support from the European Commission for Justice, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, and The Manuela Riedo Foundation Ireland.
Manuela Riedo, a 17-year old Swiss student, was raped and murdered in October 2007, just two days after arriving in Galway on a language and cultural holiday.
“Sexual assault prevention, particularly among young people, is one of today's most pressing issues," said Dr Charlotte McIvor. "Our drama and theatre studies students have passionately brought their skills to bear on adding to this conversation by making this film. We look forward to seeing our work used as part of the groundbreaking Manuela programme.”
In October 2015 the Manuela Riedo Foundation Ireland invited and funded the 16 rape crisis centres throughout Ireland to send delegates to a two-day conference in Galway. This was the first step in harnessing their expertise to build a nationwide, comprehensive, evidence-based education programme targeting 15- and 16-year-olds in the area of sexual violence prevention.
The outcome of this conference and continued research resulted in forming The Manuela Programme, which has the potential to be a powerful prevention programme to reduce sexual violence by empowering participants with the necessary skills, knowledge, and behaviours. The programme draws on best practice from Ireland’s Rape Crisis Centres as well as building on international evidence in the field. Dr Sue Redmond, a social research consultant and facilitator in this area of expertise, was the primary author of the final draft document.