- Katharine Gemmell
- 13 August 2019
The young carer experience placed under the microscope
From the company behind last year's award-winning Trojan Horse, LUNG presents another piece of politically searing verbatim theatre, focusing on the lives of young carers and the impacts of austerity on social services.
Who Cares is based on two years worth of interviews with young carers living in Salford, accounts that authentically build the characters of Connor (Luke Grant), Nicole (Lizzie Mounter) and Jade (Jessica Temple). On the surface, these young teens are just like everyone else at school; dealing with the gossip, school work and teenage emotions that come with this period of life. However, when they get home they aren't just kids anymore – they have the serious responsibility of caring for a parent due to either physical or mental illness.
Their stories give insight into how the care system is built against these young people: for example, they aren't allowed into GP appointments with their parents even though they are the ones caring for them, or if they're late for school due to caring, they're still reprimanded. The three candidly portray how such major responsibility at a young age seriously impacts their mental health, schooling and social life.
Testimonies from adults who work in the care system and the parents being cared for are also deftly depicted by the three actors, revealing how the government fails to provide proper support or services.
This timely work is a chilling indictment on a group of forgotten and ignored young people, estimated to be around 700,000 in the UK. It exposes the impacts of austerity on real people and is a confirmation that the system is built by people who seemingly just don't care.
As part of the play, the show has launched a political campaign calling on Parliament to improve services for young carers. To find out more, go to whocares.co.uk
Summerhall, until 25 Aug, 6.20pm, £12 (£10).