AN ACTOR joined a cast dealing with the thorny issue of body image.
Samuel Speed (21), a student at the Birmingham School of Acting, said the subject was a vital one for discussion, with social media, peer pressure, advertising and fashion magazines also having an impact on how young people view themselves.
New show Do You See What I See? premiered on Friday.
A cabaret show devised from research and improvisation and aimed at young people aged 11 to 14 and their families, the production features original songs and music.
It was devised and performed by first year students on the Applied Performance undergraduate course at Birmingham School of Acting, part of Birmingham City University.
Samuel, from Maltby, said: “Body image should not be ignored.
“It is one the main factors which affect younger people like myself today. The fact that we have to change something about ourselves every second of the day just to have that sense of fitting in and belonging is upsetting and growing worse.
“The aim is not to give a right or wrong answer to an audience, neither is it to solve the problem.
“But we are at least standing up to the reason and saying that there is help out there and no one has to or should feel alone.”
Samuel said he was learning something new every day on the course, which he said was “shaping me in all different kinds of ways and is opening my eyes up to the world in a bigger picture than before”.
The cast have called upon their own struggles with body image and spoken to other young people as they researched the play, as well as conducting a survey on social media.
Do You See What I See? tells the story of 12-year-old Molly, who struggles with the way she looks and, affected by society around her, she desires to have the “perfect body”. Through social media, catwalks, makeup and fairy tales, the audience is taken on a journey through a day in Molly’s life.
The show also uses music heavily, including parodies of Beyoncé’s Pretty Hurts and Justin Bieber’s Sorry, which further highlight the play’s central themes.