A DRAMA group is taking a play into schools in a bid to tackle hate crime.

Dramatic Action, made up of Bolton at Home tenants, premiered Poles Apart at the Octagon Theatre on Monday.

It will now be shown to pupils at St Catherine's Academy in Harwood and Sharples School.

A spokesman for the group, which formed in 2010, said: "Poles Apart is a play about hate crime that raises awareness for young people.

"We wanted to do this play because some of our members have been victims of hate crime themselves.

"We are working in partnership with GMP who are supporting us in rehearsals."

A total of 100 free tickets were snapped up for Monday's production which features Sharon Rogers as a bullied Polish student.

The cast is made up of people of all ages including some who live in Bolton at Home's social housing, as well as staff such as Val Hulme, Bolton At Home's customer engagement officer.

Audrey Denton, aged 70, of Astley Bridge, who has been involved with the group for about four years, said: "You do get a lot of satisfaction out of it.

"You meet different people of different social status.

"Some people come to the group and they have no confidence, no self-worth and you watch them grow.

"They have gone back into work and that's a big achievement."

Dramatic Action has staged six productions which have looked at a range of topical issues and they also take part in craft sessions, fundraising and health/wellbeing activities.

Jennie Webster, aged 37, from Egerton, who is helping direct the play with the Octagon's Lisa O’Neill-Rogan, said: "It's to express how you feel. If you are going through it, you can show your emotions and how you really feel.

"People are afraid to speak up — it's good to let it all out."

About 20 people are involved with the group which helps members make new friends, socialise, build confidence and reduces social isolation.

PC Bev Carolan, who is appearing in the play, said: "I used to be the schools officer and I have worked with the schools we are going to be visiting.

"It's just something that the police did, as a matter of course, talking with the children about all manner of things.

"I was interested to come along to this just to make sure that they know what the law says and what we can do."