This summer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, LUNG and The Lowry present Who Cares.
The play is described as ‘a three-hander about young carers, examining our failing care system, the impact of austerity and what happens when a child becomes the parent.’ It has been touring around the country for the last two years, visiting not just theatres but also schools, youth zones and community settings.
Who Cares comes from multi-award winning verbatim and documentary touring theatre company LUNG, who make work with, for and about communities. Their play Trojan Horse won both the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award and Fringe First Award in 2018.
The script is adapted from real-life testimonies gathered from young carers over two years in Salford. LUNG worked with the carers throughout the production of the show, ensuring what was being put onstage was true to them.
Described as ‘documentary theatre,’ the piece tells the story of three young people who live ordinary lives when out-and-about but very different ones at home. For instance, Nicole started caring for her mother when she was just four years old, whilst Jade bares the responsibility of not only caring for her younger brother, but also her own father.
Award-winning playwright and director Matt Woodhead says the aim of the play is to help identify ‘hidden’ young carers in the UK, of which there are over 800,000. He describes sharing the ‘inspirational’ stories of young carers from Salford as ‘a real privilege and a vital part of the campaign to raise awareness of this, often hidden, issue.’
Indeed, the production serves as more than just a play with a strong message; it is a campaign. 1 in 12 young people care for someone, and they save the country £123 billion in the work they do.
LUNG, The Lowry and Gaddum believe the services these young people receive should be improved and have launched a Parliamentary petition.
The petition calls upon the government for ‘all councils to have a statutory responsibility to monitor the quality of their young carers’ and ‘include young carers in the School Census’ and the Ofsted Handbooks’ definition of vulnerable young people.’ It also advocates for the introduction of a ‘young carers identification card’ in Parliament.
After every performance, audience members are invited to sign the petition and join the campaign to ‘stand up for the rights of young carers in the UK’.
Who Cares has even garnered celebrity support from Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), who tweeted: ‘We must shine a light on those who’ve been in the dark for so long.’
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@edfringe OH MY GAAAAAAD! Ok- I might’ve got stuck in a thunderstorm or two, I might’ve slept less than I have done at any point in my life I might’ve laughed and cried and all that’s in between at the talent I was witness too and so…get on a train and get to the festival! 🚨🚨🚨And here’s a list of the people you MUST go and see! 🖐Unknown @_rise_strong_ (❤️POWERFUL SURVIVOR QUEEN YOU HAVE MY WHOLE HEART❤️) (greenside at infirmary street) 🖐Square go @danportman (talent on legs as if we didn’t already know 🥰🥰🥰🥰) (Roundabout at summer hall) 🖐Diane Chorley @dianechorley (Will you adopt me?! Please? Profound love in abundance- YAS KWEEEN 💃) (assembly george studios) 🖐Who cares @lungtheatre (We must shine a light on those who’ve been in the dark for so long 💔🏆🙌👌🔥) 🖐 Cat Cohen @catccohen (JADORE you beautiful chic kitten❤️❤️❤️) pleasance courtyard 🖐 the canary and the crow @middlechildhull (🤩mind blowing and toe tapping BRILLIANCE) summer hall 🖐 john kearns (😂HYSTERICAL happy making heaven) monkey barrel 🖐 Roisin and Chiara @roisinandchiara (LADIES I SALUTE YOU AND THEM FUNNY FUNNY BONES!👑) the hive #❤️ #🙏🏻 #peaceout #offtosleepcrazyfringedreams
The Mother of Dragons included LUNG theatre’s production in her list of must-see shows playing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this month.