We need to talk about consent: NUS women’s officer speaks on panel

Friday 13-11-2015 - 11:02

Following the launch of NUS’ lad culture campaign, the National Youth Theatre (NYT) has produced a thought-provoking play called Consensual. NUS women’s officer Susuana Amoah was invited to speak on a one-off panel discussing the play’s key theme, consent.

The NYT production of Consensual tells the story of a relationship between a student and his teacher, exploring ideas around grooming, consent and healthy relationships. 

NUS women’s officer Susuana Amoah joined the We Need to Talk about Consent panel after the performance on November 10. The panel was hosted by writer, broadcaster and NYT council member Janet Ellis. Susuana was joined by David Brockway from the Great Men project, playwright Evan Placey and star of the show Lauren Lyle.

Evan was inspired to write the play by the debate around what age students should be taught about healthy relationships.

‘It’s not a piece that provides answers – I don’t have them. But I hope that its characters and story will help foster discussion and debate.’

Susuana told the audience how important it is to teach consent before starting sex education.

‘A lot of children are picked up and kissed on the cheek and told they have to be polite. But they should be taught about boundaries – you have the right to set them. It’s your body.

‘If they grew up thinking these things teaching them consent is much easier. You don’t have to rush the sex talk but if you talk about boundaries and their bodies and having ownership then that’s a start.’

Lauren said when the cast first saw the script they were surprised consent was being explored in such a graphic way.

‘It is such a grey area. When I was doing research I couldn’t even find solid information on it.’

Evan said consent is everyone’s problem.

‘You all live in the world with young people. All of these issues, it’s not just about the people you read about in the newspaper. It’s your children and your colleagues, it matters to everyone.’

Susuana has pioneered I Heart Consent workshops in institutions all over the UK. The project is a joint initiative between NUS and Sexpression UK and teaches young people about sexual consent.

Consensual is directed by Pia Furtado and runs until December 2 at the Ambassadors Theatre.

Photo credit: Helen Maybanks



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