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Care kids sought for new Carriageworks play

Paul Clarke on a new theatre project with a difference

Published on March 16th 2011.

Care kids sought for new Carriageworks play

Organisers of a new arts project coming to Leeds want to hear from people who spent all or some of their childhood in institutional care.

Their stories will become part of an exhibition running alongside the world premiere of Brian Daniels' latest play 'Where's Your Mama Gone', which opens at Leeds Carriageworks for a six-week run from April 18 to May 28.

The exhibition aims to tell a much wider local story of looked after children alongside the new drama set in West Yorkshire, which follows the lives of two siblings who find themselves in care after their mother becomes the victim of a serial killer.

Drawing on the first-hand accounts of those who were placed in institutional care, the installation will explore how their experiences as children impacted on how they explored their own cultural and ethnic heritage in later life.

Organisers are keen for people in West Yorkshire to come forward and recount their stories to trained student volunteers from Leeds Metropolitan University. The project is led by social commentator and writer Bea Campbell, and Professor of social work at the university, Nick Frost.

Daniels was born and brought up in Leeds. His last play 'A Big Day for the Goldbergs' sold out theatres in London, Radlett, Leeds, Edinburgh and Harrow.

“The idea behind the exhibition is to collate oral histories of people from Yorkshire who have spent all of, or a portion of their childhood in care,” he said.

“We believe these accounts will provide an excellent accompaniment to the play and help to draw out some of its most important themes as well as highlighting important social issues.

“Of course, we understand that childhood stories are very private to some and our volunteers have been trained to handle every single one with care and discretion. We hope to hear from those people that would like to share information about their time in care and what this period of their life means to them."

The exhibition and educational programme is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund for Yorkshire and Humberside. It is hoped that with the agreement of participants, an interactive website and book will be created that compiles the stories captured during the project.

The information gathered will also help educators understand the heritage loss of looked after and fostered children as well as informing the work of statutory organisations including probation, social services, the police and prison authorities.

If you would like to be a part of the project, contact Brian Daniels here, or call him on 020 7794 7088

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