A play about young carers in Salford that “knocked MPs sideways” is about to embark on a national tour in June 2019.
The show, Who Cares, was written by Matt Woodhead and co-produced by The Lowry and LUNG. It was made in partnership with Greater Manchester Charity, Gaddum and its Salford Carers Service and is funded by Arts Council England and the Oglesby Charitable Trust.
It features 200 hours of interviews with 4 young carers from Salford about their lives – as well as input from their families and schoolteachers. Local councillors and MP, Barbara Keeley, were also interviewed – along with GP’s and young carers’ workers in the city-region.
The play aims to help identify ‘hidden’ young carers in the UK – those who provide care under the radar of their friends, schoolteachers and local authorities – as well as signpost them to the support available. The tour also aims to provide resources for professionals that work with young carers on a daily basis by offering CPD training and workshops.
The tour opens at Folkestone Quarterhouse in Kent on 4 June and then travels to Action Transport Theatre, Merseyside on 11 June, Rosehill Theatre, Cumbria on 18 June, CAST Doncaster, South Yorkshire on 25 June, Arts Depot, London on 2 July and Battersea Arts Centre, London on 8 July.
Venues have been chosen with the express purpose of presenting the work in areas of deprivation – where the need for support services is strongest – and where there are low levels of engagement in live theatre. Across the tour, it is hoped the work will be seen by more than 4,000 people.
Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry, said: “Sharing the inspirational stories of young carers from Salford with audiences across the UK is a real privilege and a vital part of the campaign to raise awareness of this, often hidden, issue.”
Who Cares premiered to critical acclaim at The Lowry in November 2016, and embarked on a 27-non theatre venue tour in 2017 that reached over 3000 young people.
A number of young carers were identified and 97% of young people who saw it said it changed their perception of young carers.
The production also performed at the House of Lords in December 2017 to MPs and policy makers in they were ‘knocked sideways’ by the story.
The 2017 national tour was made possible thanks to funding from The Oglesby Charitable Trust and Curious Minds.