A play about young carers in Salford is about to embark on a five-week, 27-venue national tour – culminating in a performance at The House of Lords in Westminster.
The show, Who Cares, was written by Matt Woodhead and co-produced by The Lowry and LUNG Theatre. It was made in partnership with The Gaddum Centre’s Salford Carers Service.
It features interviews with young carers 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 society – those who provide care under the radar of their friends, schoolteachers and local authorities – and signpost them to the support available.
The 27-venues – none of which are traditional theatre spaces – have been chosen in partnership with Onside Youth Zones – a national youth centre charity; and Aldridge Education – the academy schools chain founded by ex-Capita Plc boss and Lowry chairman, Sir Rod Aldridge.
Primarily located in areas of high deprivation – where the need for support services is strongest – the venues will see the work presented to more than 3,000 young people.
The tour opens in Salford on Monday 30 October, with the final performance in Westminster set for Tuesday 5 December. The performance in The House of Lords will be hosted by Baroness (Jane) Bonham Carter, a trustee of The Lowry.
Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry, said: “Who Cares was a highlight of our 2016 programme and its national tour will ensure this potentially life-changing work will be seen by a further 3,000 young people across the country.
“It is a great example of the role that theatre has to play in the education and development of young people – and we hope the opportunity to present the work to peers and MPs at The House of Lords will help highlight the importance of the need for young carers to be well supported”.
Casting for the tour has been confirmed. RADA graduate, Lizzie Mounter, plays ‘Nicole’ a 14-year old caring for her mother. Bristol Old Vic favourite, Jessica Temple, plays ‘Jade’ a 17-year old caring for her brother and their dad after he was paralysed in a motorbike accident. And former Billy Elliott star, Joey Philips from Lytham St Annes, plays ‘Connor’ a 12-year old struggling to juggle his school work with his responsibilities at home caring for his mum who faces mental illness.