“Older people, they’re still people. Like you and me. Just a bit, well, baggier around the edges.”
What is beyond caring?
Beyond Caring, a powerful new play by Christina Castling that takes a frank, humorous and heartbreaking look at life behind the doors of a care home, will be touring the North East of England this autumn.
Based on interviews with residents, relatives and staff, the play, co-produced by Gala Durham and Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, uncovers the reality of caring for others, looking after ourselves, and getting older.
Beyond Caring is the second full-length play by Durham-based playwright Christina Castling. It follows the success of A Way Home, which toured theatre and community venues across the North East of England in 2022.
Who are the characters?
Audiences are being invited to meet Queenie, Elaine and Alex, resident, relative, and carer at Cedar Point Care Home – a place where the corridors roar with laughter and ache with sadness and where outrageous antics mingle with tough conversations.
Care home resident Queenie, played by Judi Earl, is staging a protest because she wants a tab and can’t have one without supervision.
Elaine, whose mum is busy deciding whether she wants to go into a care home, will be played by Jacqueline Phillips, and Alex, a carer working in the care home, will be brought to life by Rosie Stancliffe.
What the people involved have to say
As playwright, Christina Castling explains:
“In 2021, as part of the research and development phase of the play, I interviewed carers, residents and their relatives at care homes across the North East of England to better understand the reality of life working, living or supporting someone living in a care home.
Alongside fascinating conversations with academics, social workers, and care home managers, the result is a play that shines a light on often hilarious and hard-hitting experiences and asks crucial questions about ageing, identity and adult care provision.”
Dr Clare Winter, Counselling Psychologist at Care Home Wellbeing Service, who shared her thoughts during the research and development of the play, said:
“Covid19 tragically demonstrated how the needs of older people, their relatives and carers can be forgotten if not championed. It is vital for today’s society that older people’s stories are truly heard and valued. This is a timely and necessary project. I believe that Beyond Caring champions our carers’ work, gives them an authentic voice and can be a real vehicle for reflection that is much needed.”
Where will the Tour land in Newcastle?
As part of the North East of England tour, Beyond Caring will feature as the centrepiece at two special celebration events in Durham and Darlington encouraging care staff to explore their wellbeing and help them feel empowered.
These events, delivered in partnership with Durham County Council and Darlington Borough Council, aim to provide opportunities for skill-sharing across cultural organisations and councils regarding training, recruitment and retention of social care staff.
“We’re delighted that Beyond Caring will help facilitate crucial conversations about the wellbeing of care home staff. We hope the play will have a lasting impact on audiences, whilst demonstrating how the arts can play a meaningful role in encouraging debate around timely issues.”
The Beyond Caring tour will stop off at Gala Durham; Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham; Blackhall Community Centre; Hamsteels Community Centre; Clara Vale Village Hall; Hipp @ The Hullabaloo at Darlington Hippodrome; The Customs House in South Shields; Arts Centre Washington; The Witham in Barnard Castle; Trimdon Grange Community Centre; Coundon & Leeholme Community Centre; Hamsterley & Low Westwood Community Centre; Witton Park Village Hall; Pelton Community Centre; St John’s Hall, Meadowfield and Live Theatre in Newcastle before heading to Casterton Village Hall, Carnforth; Kirkby Stephen Sports & Social Club; Frosterley Village Hall and Middleton & Todridge Village Hall, Morpeth as part of Highlights Rural Touring Scheme.
To ensure that staff and residents at care homes and their families also get the opportunity to watch the play together and be part of the tour a digital recording of the play will be made available to be screened/shown in care homes across the region for a limited time.
Where has the funding come from?
Beyond Caring has been made possible with funding from Gala Durham and Queen’s Hall Arts Centre and with public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England as well as support from the North East and North Cumbria Staff Wellbeing Hub, Creative Darlington, Darlington Borough Council and Darlington Hippodrome. It has also been supported by the Derwent Valley Partnership, East Durham Rural Corridor Area Action Partnership and Mid Durham Area Action Partnership through the Neighbourhood Budgets of Councillors Watts Stelling, Chris Varty and Jonathan Elmer.
Where to book tickets
For more information about Beyond Caring and to book tickets visit www.beyond-caring.co.uk
CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT THE BYLINES NETWORK CROWDFUNDER!