School pupils stand up to knife crime

Play promoting reduction in knife use touring the country.

Up to 12,000 school pupils throughout the country are having their perceptions on knives challenged in the coming months by a touring performance.

The Balisong (another name for a butterfly knife) is a No Knives Better Lives initiative, written by Jennifer Adam, developed in collaboration with young people. In the play, three teenagers discuss the circumstances leading to an incident where their friend stabs someone and whether they could have done more to stop it.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson attended a performance of The Balisong at Ardrossan Academy.

He said:

“While I was struck by the effectiveness of drama in conveying this important message, I was equally struck by the conversations that took place among pupils immediately afterwards.

“Some young people previously indicated they would not tell anyone if someone they knew was in possession of a knife. What I witnessed, and what I’m told is taking place in other schools, is the instant behaviour change The Balisong delivers.”

Head of Ardrossan Academy, Jamie Milligan said:

“We are delighted to welcome the Cabinet Secretary to our school today. The No Knives Better Lives programme is one that we support as a school and this drama performance helps to reinforce our key messages to young people and families about responsible citizenship, violence reduction and promoting positive relationships in school and in society at large."


Led by national agency YouthLink Scotland as part of the No Knives Better Lives programme, The Balisong is a collaboration between youth work charity Fast Forward and Strange Town theatre company.

The play is expected to be performed at 64 schools, reaching approximately 12,000 pupils. The series began at the end of September and will run for the next few months.

No Knives, Better Lives is Scottish Government-funded youth engagement programme that aims to reduce the incidence of violence and knife carrying among young people. Targeting ages 11-18, the programme raises awareness of the potentially devastating risks and consequences associated with carrying a knife and encourages young people to make positive life choices.


Media enquiries

Back to top