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Anger over theatre firm's show flyer; Bad taste after sea tragedy.

Byline: SONIA SHARMA

A DRAMA has blown up over a theatre company's advertising flyer. It features a man apparently tombstoning to advertise The Beautiful Journey.

The WILDWORKS production will be staged on the banks of the Tyne at Oceana, Davy Bank, Wallsend, later this month.

But the leaflets has sparked anger among people who feel the photo should not have been used, just months after the death of 17year-old Jamie Sutton, who died jumping from cliffs in South Tyneside in May.

A nationwide campaign has since been launched by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to warn youngsters against the dangers of the activity.

Jenna Hall, 24, of North Shields, said: "It's insensitive and wrong to use a picture like that.

"There have been so many warnings by emergency services and the coastguard asking people not to jump from cliffs, especially after the death of the young lad. This leaflet seems to be showing it's OK to do things like that. They are sending out the wrong message."

But WILDWORKS, which is based in Cornwall, said they did not intend to cause offence.

Emma Gibson, communications manager, said: "We are not promoting tombstoning.

"The theme of The Beautiful Journey is one of hope, hope for the future, and this image was commissioned to symbolise that.

"We have had many positive comments about the image and the print has recently been recognised as one that would encourage people to attend the arts, which is our sole aim.

"It was not our intention for people to interpret the image in this way and cause any offence."

The show is described as an outdoor promenade performance featuring an international and local cast, live music and choirs.

It is set in shipyards and dockyards, sometime in the future, where people are gathered together. It will run from July 28 to August 8 and is supported by Find Your Talent and The Customs House and forms part of North East England's word-class programme of festivals and events developed by culture10.

Coastguards are working with the RNLI and local authorities to tackle the problem of tombstoning.

A radio advert has also been launched warning young people about the dangerous craze.

Greg Albrighton, coastguard sector manager for Tyne and Wear, said: "Sadly, we are dealing with deaths or injuries from this activity on a regular basis and we'd like to see far fewer devastated families.

"The campaign aims to raise awareness amongst young people about the risks involved in tombstoning. We are urging youngsters to think of the consequences."

CAPTION(S):

DANGERS: Lads tombstoning off the North East coast - such practices have been condemned PUBLICITY: The poster advertising the shows has ben criticised for encouraging tombstoning
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 20, 2009
Words:448
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