The Trouble with Sam and Steve


2015 has seen the rollout of an exciting Community Legal Education project using theatre to teach primary students about the law. The Trouble with Sam and Steve is an early intervention Theatre in Education project which toured SA primary schools in June 2015. It reached 1,500 students, teachers, and community members – prompting smiles, applause and thoughtful discussions about legal issues .

 As an early intervention strategy, the project targeted young people at the beginning ages of criminal responsibility and was offered as a free performance and workshop for young people in years 5, 6 and 7.

The Trouble with Sam and Steve explores the choices young people may face when boredom might lead  to bad choices, property damage and the destruction of a friendship. A 20 minute performance by professional actors was followed by a 30 minute workshop. During the workshop, students took part in discussions involving our Legal Education Officer, Ella Pak Poy, the show’s Director, and the characters of Sam and Steve.  The discussions focussed on the social and legal consequences of the characters’ actions, and the steps young people can take to get legal help and support.


The theatre performance and workshop show young people that:

  • Legal help is available to them, their friends, and their families;
  • Committing offences can get them into trouble with the law – even if they didn’t mean to do anything wrong or thought it was just a bit of fun;
  • Committing offences affects the community,  friendships, families, and their future;
  • It’s worth thinking about how their words, actions and choices can hurt others, themselves or their community.


Produced by Community Arts Network SA, the project was supported through a Crime Prevention and Community Safety grant from the SA Attorney General’s Department.  The creative development process began in 2014 to ensure the theatre piece would engage students and accurately reflect the realities of young people committing offences. To this end, the creative team, including our Legal Education Officer, consulted with young people, teachers, police and community members.

Our involvement with The Trouble with Sam and Steve is consistent with the Legal Services Commission’s primary function of providing quality legal assistance to all South Australians.

The project promoted:

  • Knowledge of the work of the Commission and the accessibility of the Free Legal Helpline;
  • Increased awareness of legal rights and the means by which they can be effected;
  • Recognition of legal responsibilities and legal implications, and strategies for early intervention; and
  • Awareness of assistance services and avenues for appropriate legal advice.

The Trouble with Sam and Steve embodies some guiding principles in Community Legal Education: it is relevant to the community, it responds to a need, and it is delivered in an engaging and accessible format. The vigorous applause from students – and their dynamic discussions about legal issues –underscores the success of this unique initiative.



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