A PLAY about young carers in Salford that “knocked MPs sideways” comes to Oldham Coliseum Theatre on October 6 and 7 as part of a national tour.
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 the Oglesby Charitable Trust and the Leche Trust.
It features 200 hours of interviews with four 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 GPs and young carers’ workers in the city-region.
The play aims to help identify ‘hidden’ young carers in the UK who provide care under the radar of their friends, schoolteachers and local authorities as well as signpost them to the support available.
The tour will engage with thousands of young people in schools across the UK and provide resources for professionals that work with young carers by offering CPD training and workshops.
Matt 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.
“With each venue we’re able to perform in we’ll educate more people about the plight of young carers and hopefully recruit them as advocates for better funding and support for these incredible young people.”
The tour opens at North Wall in Oxford on September 28 before touring to Hat Factory (Luton), Oldham Coliseum (Oldham), Dukes Theatre (Lancaster), MAST Mayflower (Southampton), Mercury Theatre (Colchester), Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (Guildford), Clapham Omnibus (London), The Place (Bedford), Midlands Arts Centre (Birmingham), Norwich Playhouse (Norwich), Leicester Curve (Leicester), Bridport Arts Centre (Bridport) and Unity Theatre (Liverpool). The play will also call at its birthplace, The Lowry in Salford.
Venues have been chosen with the purpose of presenting the work in areas of deprivation where the need for support services is strongest.
Who Cares premiered to critical acclaim at The Lowry in November 2016, and embarked on a tour of 27 non-theatre venues in 2017 that reached more than 3,000 young people.
A number of young carers were identified and 97 per cent 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 2019, Who Cares embarked on a second tour before performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe reaching more than 4,000 audience members and winning a Sit Up Award for Engagement, Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe and Summerhall Lustrum Award.
In February 2021, Who Cares was performed on BBC Radio 2 reaching over 800,000 listeners.
The 2017 national tour was made possible thanks to funding from The Oglesby Charitable Trust and Curious Minds and the 2019 national tour was made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England and The Oglesby Charitable Trust.
To book tickets for Who Cares at Oldham Coliseum, visit www.coliseum.org.uk