Acclaimed playwright Mark Wheeller to bring Daniel Spargo-Mabbs's death to stage in play performed by former Archbishop Tenison's High schoolmates

Daniel Spargo-Mabbs died on January 20

Daniel Spargo-Mabbs died on January 20

First published in News
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Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

An acclaimed playwright is to bring the tragic death of teenager Daniel Spargo-Mabbs to the stage.

Award-winning Mark Wheeller will pen a play telling how the 16-year-old died in January after taking ecstasy at an illegal rave. 

He will begin writing the scrip next week, days before the man who sold the Archbishop Tenison's High School pupil MDMA is sentenced at court for drug-dealing.

Pupils at the school will perform the play's premiere next year after Daniel's parents ensured performance rights were written into their contract with Mr Wheeller.

They hope the play - set to be called I Love You Mum, I Promise I Won't Die in reference to Daniel's last words to his parents - could open at Fairfield Halls in autumn 2015, before being performed across the country.

Daniel's mum Fiona, 47, and dad Tim, 51, of Rymer Road, Addiscombe, want their son's story to teach young people about the dangers of drugs. 

Daniel's drama teacher Izzy Forrester at Archbishop Tenison's, where he was studying for his GCSEs, will produce the play.

Mrs Spargo-Mabbs said: "It will be a really powerful thing but it is also going to be really difficult for us, because it is going to be Dan dying on stage every night, and it will be for her as well to prepare a production.

"But on the other hand, she wouldn't want anybody else to do it because she'd want to know that they were doing Dan justice."

She added: ""It's really exciting. He is such a well-established, well-known and well-respected playwright and he just writes so powerfully for teenagers.

"He uses theatre as education to get teenagers to see things differently. He writes about issues that affect teenagers and is really widely used for GCSE drama so potentially it's a way of getting that message about the decision-making and risks of potential harm into schools across the country, which would be fantastic."

Mr Wheeller, whose work Too Much Punch For Judy is among the most widely performed contemporary plays, will interview Daniel's friends and family in preparation for the script, scheduled for publication in September next year.

He hopes the work could follow some of his previous plays in being introduced to GCSE syllabuses.

But the family know watching Daniel's death played out on stage would be harrowing. 

Mrs Spargo-Mabbs said: "I can't imagine ever wanting to watch it. I don't know if I could bear it.

"It is going to be a really heavy cost to us and we just hope there the benefit will be worth it and that we can help people make better decisions."

A 27-strong group of Daniel's family and friends cycled from Croydon to Brighton on Saturday to raise the £4,800 needed to fund the play and have already raised £1,690 in sponsorship. 

The cyclists set off from Emmanuel Church in Normanton Road, South Croydon, of which the family are congregation members. 

Daniel, a keen cyclist, set up a cycle group at the church with his mum and 19-year-old brother Jacob last year while training for a triathlon. 

Croydon Guardian:

The triumphant cyclists after arriving in Brighton

Mrs Spargo-Mabbs, who completed the 45-mile cycle with her husband - who rode Daniel's bike - and Jacob, said the ride was "the best possible antidote to the horribleness" of watching two men accused of supplying Daniel and friends with 2.5g of MDMA appear in court.

Nicqueel Pitrora, 18, of London Road, had been due to stand trial at Isleworth Crown Court last Monday but admitted supplying class A and class B drugs before it began. He will be sentenced on August 1.

His co-defendant Ryan Kirk, 21, of Beckenham, was found not guilty of all charges on Friday.

The court heard Daniel and two friends ordered the drugs from Pitrora, known as Shampz, for £80. 

Daniel collapsed after taking the ecstasy at a rave in a disused cotton factory in Hayes, west London, on January 17.

The drug caused his body to overheat, causing his liver, kidneys, lungs, heart and circulatory system to shut down.

He died in King's College Hospital on January 20.

His parents, who established the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation in the wake of his death, are now considering organising alcohol-free and drug-free club nights for under-18s.

In a statement released after the trial on Friday, they said: ""Our biggest hope and prayer has always been that those responsible would through this legal process connect their actions with their consequences, that their hearts and minds would be changed by this, and that they wouldn't waste the rest of their lives continuing to supply drugs and playing their part in the damage, destruction and death of other people's children.

"The person who supplied this drug has choices remaining to them and the rest of their lives in which to make them, and we will continue to pray that they choose to use them for good."

You can donate to the charity and help fund the play at dsmfoundation.org.uk

 

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