Who Cares by Matt Woodhead

Paul Bateson
Monday, February 1, 2021

This is a two-part scheme of work for secondary Drama teachers, providing opportunities for learning devising skills and drama conventions in the first half; before exploring scripted work by focusing on Who Cares by Matt Woodhead in the second half. A verbatim theatre production based on two years of interviews, it offers an insight into the lives of young carers. The play is a great introduction to text for secondary school students, featuring teenage characters, contemporary references, and an up-to-date soundtrack. The themes are at once universal for young people, struggles of fitting in at school and growing up; whilst also shining a light on a perhaps less well-known subject of young carers. In this sense the script is also a useful PSHEE resource. The first part of this scheme explores themes, characters, and settings of the play through process and devising sessions. The second part of the scheme is an exploration of the actual text, which could culminate in a performance if desired, and/or an introduction to verbatim theatre as genre or LUNG as practitioners. Each part has three ‘sessions’ which can last from an hour to two or three hours depending on group size and extension activities. The lessons are suitable for Y8 upwards and the work on the play text can be used as part of some of the scripted components of GCSE/BTEC exams. It will be beneficial to read the play text before starting part one. There is a recording of the live show which can be requested from info@lungtheatre.co.uk which would also support this scheme, though is not essential. The play deals with some difficult themes that young people may find challenging. Be aware of this as you progress through the work and the text, and be ready to respond if any young person is showing signs of distress or even discloses they may be a young carer. Please see whocarestour.org.uk for more information on young carers and the services in your area that can be used for referrals. With this in mind, it is important to close each session safely for each group. One activity to use after a session to support the young people to let go of the topic and leave the space as safely as possible could be: One thing I would say to a young carer … Go round the group and ask everyone to say one thing they might say to a young carer. This should be an affirmation or piece of advice, try and be positive and uplifting. As the facilitator, you should start to set the tone for the rest of the responses. If you want to develop this you can ask them to write a letter to one of the characters as homework. Students can then decide to keep the letter or post it in a box to say goodbye to their character. Learning objectives By the end of this scheme students will have: - Learnt drama conventions to use in devising: Still Image, Thought Tracking, Hot-seating, Narration, Forum Theatre - Developed understanding of working with text, approaches to script and creating characters - An introduction to verbatim theatre as a style - An understanding of what we mean by young carers and an insight into how to support them.