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Who Cares National Tour

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by David Keyworth (subscribe)
Iím a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester. keyworthdavid@gmail.com https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/david-keyworth/49/b3a/b83
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Little space to breath
A play about young people which began life in Salford two and a half years ago and was performed in the House of Lords, is set for a second UK tour.

Who Cares is concerned with the all too common issue of young people who juggle school work with caring duties.

The NHS website defines a Young Carer as someone under 18 who looks after a relative with a disability, illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem.

Who Cares was was written by Matt Woodhead - Artistic Director of LUNG Theatre company. However, it is not simply a work of creative imagination.

Folkestone Quarterhouse, Action Transport Theatre Merseyside, Rosehill Theatre Cumbria, CAST Doncaster, Arts Depot London, Battersea Arts Centre, Lowry Centre, LUNG Theatre
The Lowry & Lung presents Who Cares by Matt Woodhead


LUNG - one of The Lowry's Associate Artist companies - specialise in verbatim theatre. Who Cares is based on a year of interviews with a group of young carers in Salford. They also talked to teachers, the parents of young carers and politicians, including Barbara Keeley MP for Worsley and Eccles South.

The House of Lords performance in 2017 was the culmination of a 27-venue national tour.

In December 2017 Rebecca Long-Bailey MP tweeted: "Absolutely knocked sideways by performance by @YACSalfordCarer @The_Lowry @LungTheatre at the House of Lords today for #WhoCaresTour @_Lisa_Stone what a strong and inspiring group of young people doing Salford proud."

Rebecca Long-Bailey is Member of Parliament for Salford & Eccles and Shadow Secretary of State for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Rebecca Long-Bailey MP. Photo: Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)


Barbara Keeley MP‏ tweeted: "So proud of young Carers from @YACSalfordCarer at the House of Lords for #WhoCaresTour final performance. Well done & thanks to The_Lowry and LungTheatre."

Previously, in a House of Commons debate, she had also praised "the excellent Salford Carers Centre, and an amazing group of young carers are supported by the young carers project." (Hansard, 9 June 2016).

In 2018, 22 per cent of the children who completed a questionnaire recorded that they provided some care for a family member with an illness or disability. The research was carried out by BBC News and Nottingham University.

The questionnaire was completed by 925 children across England from two year groups: 11 to 12-year-olds and 14 to 15-year-olds.

If the survey was extrapolated across England it would correspond to more than 800,000 secondary-school age children carrying out some level of care.

In 2017, the Carers Trust reported that 53 per cent of the young adult carers they surveyed were having problems coping with school work and nearly 60 per cent said they were struggling to meet deadlines. A third said they had to skip school most weeks.

LUNG theatre company was founded in Barnsley, South Yorkshire in 2012. Its past productions include Chilcot by Richard Norton-Taylor and Matt Woodhead. It was another piece of verbatim drama - this time based on the public inquiry, published in 2016, into the Iraq War (2003 - 2011).

Chilcot Inquiry, Iraq Inquiry, Richard Norton-Taylor, Matt Woodhead, LUNG Theatre company
ww.iraqinquiry.org.uk/ Public Domain,https://commons.wikimedia.org/


Trojan Horse was sourced from another official inquiry. This time into alleged Islamist takeover of a number of inner city schools in Birmingham.

Helen Monks - who co-wrote Trojan Horse with Matt Woodhead - is the Creative Director, of LUNG. She has combined writing with TV appearances including Upstart Crow (BBC2) and Raised by Wolves (Channel 4).

You can see Who Cares at the following venues:

Folkestone Quarterhouse, Kent on 4th June

Action Transport Theatre, Ellesmere Port, Merseyside on 11th June,

Rosehill Theatre, Cumbria on 18th June,

CAST Doncaster, South Yorkshire on 25th June,

Arts Depot, London on 2nd July

Battersea Arts Centre, London on 8th July.


Who Cares
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.

In June 2018 the Government published its Carers Action Plan: 2018-2020. Section three of the Action Plan looks specifically at young carers.

More information at National Learning and Work Institute, Young Adult Carers.
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Why? Drama based on real-life testimonies about juggling school work with care work
When: 4th June - 8th July 2019
Phone: 0843 208 6000
Where: Folkestone Quarterhouse, Action Transport Theatre Ellesmere Port, Rosehill Theatre Cumbria, CAST Doncaster, Arts Depot, London, Battersea Arts Centre
Cost: See individual veues
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