Hello! My name is Ellie Claughton, I am the Tour Producer for Who Cares and LUNG Theatre’s Producer. The project has just reached the end of it’s first week of rehearsals and we are waist deep in the knitty gritty of getting this project on the road and sharing it with our audiences!
My job consists of a number of different strands. From liaising with The Lowry, pulling the creative team together to managing the logistics of the tour. One day I will be in a funding meeting, and the next day I will be running around The Lowry gathering props. It’s a very hectic project, requires a lot of time and people management but is ridiculously fulfilling.
The model in which we are working is new to both LUNG and The Lowry. We are taking a really high-quality piece of art in to a number of non-theatre spaces (in areas of high deprivation) with the aim of raising awareness of young carers and helping identify ‘hidden’ young carers. The push and pull between artistic quality and engagement can be challenging at times, but the beauty of this project is that we are all on the same page with what we want to achieve and who we want to benefit from the work. Without this shared aim, we wouldn’t be in a position to produce a brilliant piece of theatre that is going to affect change.
To summarise the company, LUNG are a political documentary theatre company that makes theatre with communities, by communities and for communities. We are made up of myself, Artistic Director Matt Woodhead & Creative Director Helen Monks. For us, the audience is everything. Whether it’s the people whose stories we are telling, or the people we are sharing this work with who may leave that space with a greater understanding of young carers or of their own situation. We are undertaking something huge, not just in scale, but in responsibility. This is the first time we have co-produced with a venue of The Lowry’s scale. We have been Associate Artists at The Lowry for the last two years, which means we already have a close relationship with the team, and this project means we have been able to learn from each other in a really hands on way. Furthering a relationship with a venue that has such a brilliant Learning and Engagement department is really crucial for us.
Since Who Cares’ first life, our Director & Writer Matt Woodhead has been working tirelessly to rework the script and the design with the help of his creative team and the four young carer whose stories the play looks at. The young carers have been involved every step of the way, looking at the script, chatting about costumes and on Tuesday they met the actors who will be telling their story for the very first time. There was a real buzz in the room during that first meeting, and it really reflects how exciting and important the project is.
This play doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of young carers lives, and details the every days challenges they face. And it’s a privilege to be able to share this story, and to produce a project which is helping to identify hidden young carers and provide a greater understanding of their experience.
Who Cares embarks on a five-week, 27-venue national tour – culminating in a performance at The House of Lords in Westminster from 30 October- 5 December.
Who Cares is a gripping verbatim theatre production based on a year of interviews that offers a rare insight into a year in the lives of three young carers from Salford. The play aims to help identify ‘hidden’ young carers in society and signpost them to support available through local young carers services.
Who Cares, was written by Matt Woodhead and co-produced by The Lowry and LUNG Theatre, who are Associate Artists at the Salford-based venue. It was made in partnership with The Gaddum Centre’s Salford Carers Service.
The 27 youth settings across the country are non-traditional theatre spaces – these venues have been chosen in partnership with Onside Youth Zones – a national youth centre charity, Aldridge Education – the academy schools chain founded by Sir Rod Aldridge and local Young Carers Services across the country.