Boy X - the first play in the Blade Trilogy

Boy X by Clifford Oliver
Boy X

Boy X by Clifford Oliver

Four boys stand at a graveside. Boy X is dead. Another 16-year old murdered. The cycle of revenge begins again.


Arc's hard-hitting play Boy X - the third in the powerful Stereo Trilogy written by Clifford Oliver and originally directed by Carole Pluckrose, and now the first play in the new Blade Trilogy - continues to perform for school, college and adult audiences throughout the UK.


Recent Boy X feedback

"This performance was amazing.  I cried, I laughed and I thought; "This performance should be seen by everyone". I found I listened and understood this 'play' more than if police, with a badge and a gun stood infront of me, shouting the rules. The performance showed me no one can choose who you are, no one can tell you who you are, no one can stand behind you forever, not everyone's going to be there to catch you when you fall. When you make the decision to take the gun/money/knife, you're making the decision to betray yourself, your family, and everyone that who was once there to catch you. So sometimes it's best to think about consequences of your actions, and the people who love you, will warn you to stay away from the people who will hurt you.

The discussion, let us see what was going through everyone else's mind and how other people look on the same situation, but in another light. I will take knowledge knowing that the things I see on drama shows actually happen in real life. And it's us being the younger people who can change the future.

Think twice, be aware of the action I am doing now can always come back to me later. No one should carry a gun because when you carry a gun the more likely you will use it."
Barking & Dagenham Secondary School student

"These moving performances struck a chord with our students and helped them to consider the consequences of gangs, drugs and knife crime in a way that would be difficult to replicate in an ordinary lesson. By addressing the issues in this way, we are influencing our students to make positive choices about their actions and reconsider their attitudes towards those who are willing to use violence. Arc's performances are a major factor in our school's success in terms of delivering the citizenship curriculum."
Christopher Sullivan, Director of Student Development, the Sydney Russell School, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham

Download full Sydney Russell testimonial (pdf, 163k)

To book Boy X

Boy X does not make any attempt to answer the questions that result from violent crime, but rather invites its young audiences into an experience, which presents a set of complex decisions. The play and follow-up discussions (up to 90 minutes in total) are ideally suited for Years 8 to 10 (audience numbers limited to 120 per performance).

To find out how to book in your area or for more information about The Blade Trilogy, email Nita Bocking.

Download Boy X Briefing Document (PDF, 319k)

Watch the Boy X trailer on You Tube



About Boy X

Boy X builds on the themes of  Stereo and To Die For, exploring weapon-carrying, gang culture and violent crime. The play was originally developed and performed by four of Arc's dynamic young actors who, along with actor Troy Glasgow, helped create the story through workshops drawing upon real experiences of living on gang-dominated estates.  The play is followed by a lively discussion where young people are offered a safe forum to talk about their feelings, fears and the complex pressures they experience.

Boy X castBoy X with actors Jordan Barrett, Michael Kofi, Lee Vassell and Tendayi Jembere.

Images by Katie Snooks

Lee Vassell with audience


Tendayi Jembere with audience

Lee Vassell and Tendayi Jembere in dialogue with the audience

Boy X was first performed on 17 February 2009 at EC1 Music Project in partnership with The Flavasum Trust, in memory of Tom Easton who was stabbed to death after leaving work there in September 2006. For more information, visit The Tom Easton Flavasum Trust

.Flavasum Trust

The play has gone on to tour secondary schools in Barnet, perform at Government and youth conferences and as part of Arc's special Neville Lawrence OBE Patron event. Touring London for Peace Week in September 2009, performances included unique public events at Jacksons Lane Theatre and on Waterloo Station Concourse. Tours to Hackney, Thames Valley, Enfield, Ealing and other London Boroughs continue into 2011 and beyond.

“The storyline of the play was extremely relevant to the lives of the young people.”
Head of Year 10, St Mary's CE High School, Barnet

“People think you are more protected if you have a knife, but you're not - it just brings you more trouble.”
Year 9 student, Hounslow school

"I was privileged to be in the audience last evening and to experience such a powerful drama, performed by four compelling young men. I really hope that engaging with our young people at risk through such drama, complemented by the standing up of good role models, in homes, wider families, and the community, will see a way out of the descending spiral of senseless activity, violence and killing."
Robin Field-Smith MBE, HM Inspector of Constabulary (Personnel, Training & Diversity), HM Inspectorate of Constabulary


About The Blade Trilogy

Arc’s Blade Trilogy, written by Clifford Oliver and originally directed by Carole Pluckrose, represents a journey of work exploring some of the most hard-hitting issues affecting young people, the community and our society today.

From youth violence and gang crime, to loyalty, trust and abuse, each play has been developed through talking with young people about their personal experiences. Each performance and workshop programme for ages 12+ offers an opportunity to explore difficult themes in a safe space. The play is followed by a lively discussion where young people are offered a safe forum to talk about their feelings, fears and the complex pressures they experience.

Find out about the second in The Blade Trilogy, Pact by Clifford Oliver and the third Girl E by Clifford Oliver both commissioned by BTP.

Move over flyer for reverse...

About The Stereo Trilogy
Stereo, To Die For, Boy X

72 young people aged 10 to 19 were murdered with a knife in the UK in 2008; 29 in London alone. Many of them were caught in complex gang and postcode warfare, whilst others got accidentally caught in the crossfire. The Stereo Trilogy is a powerful series of plays for 12 to 18-year olds, which meets the issues head on and encourages serious debate with young people about their fears, aspirations and solutions.

A group of young, black men, in hoodies, on the corner of the street. Stereotypes are dangerous things; they reflect our secret prejudices. If we do not challenge them they can erupt as discrimination at any moment. To Die For isn't set in a knife-crime hot spot. It's a play about ordinary young people and the choices they make to carry a knife, the impact of their actions and the need to be 'cool'.

Boy X
Four boys stand at a graveside. Boy X is dead. Another 16-year old murdered. The cycle of revenge begins again. Boy X was developed by Clifford Oliver and Carole Pluckrose with Jordan Barrett, Troy Glasgow, Tendayi Jembere and Lee Vassell, and draws upon real experiences of living on gang dominated estates.


Arc recommends you visit: Fearless - an independent UK Charity, Fearless is part of Crimestoppers which runs the 0800 555 111 number, which you can call to give information about crime anonymously, or give information about crime online.  

For information for Community Safety Partnerships, Local Authorities, Criminal Justice Agencies and partners, download Boy X Briefing Document (PDF, 319k)

To talk about Boy X, The Blade Trilogy or Arc's work with vulnerable young men and women, call Nita Bocking at Arc on 020 8594 1095 or email