Creative Collaborations with Young Carers

by Playback Theatre South West in Torquay, Torbay, United Kingdom

We did it
On 2nd February 2022 we successfully raised £10,675 with 105 supporters in 49 days

Will you lend support to our work with Young Carers in the Torbay area, one of the most deprived wards in the country.

by Playback Theatre South West in Torquay, Torbay, United Kingdom

Will you lend support to our work with young carers in the Torbay area, one of the most deprived wards in the country with very limited facilities able to support them?

We have changed our target to £10,000 to gain the support of Torbay Council +Extra funding.  Although we are short of our original target, with enough funds to do one collaborative weekend supporting young carers we would like to run two if possible. We have been in contact with Crowdfund Torbay who are keen to support this project but they can only pledge funds if their additional funding (max £5000) means we reach our target.  In other words, by changing our target to £10,000 we are likely to get funding from Torbay council, which will enable us to do 2 weekends instead of just the one.

We need your support to run three residential weekends for young people living with the marginalisation, responsibilities and dependencies involved in caring for family members who are ill, disabled or struggling with addiction. Our highly skilled Playback Theatre team will run the project with supervision from and in collaboration with Young Carers Services team for Torbay Youth Trust. The YCS team, in touch with Young Carers at schools and during the pandemic, will join us at these weekends, taking part in activities we create with them and offering the youth any support needed.


These residential weekends will give the Young Carers a break from the demands of others’ lives, a time where their own well-being and needs are at the centre. We create a framework that fosters peer and community support, helps build a range of life skills in an emotionally supportive and understanding context. Time is given to building trust between all present before we initiate a Playback Theatre experience of shared stories from the heart of their lives.

1639244227_young-carer.jpgOur Playback Theatre methods offer young people a chance to explore aspects of their home lives with one another in a safe, supportive setting, giving them time and chance to go through a process of unburdening the most difficult aspects of their lives, and to reflect together in other shared activities. Our project is also fun and nurturing. The weekends incorporate life skills, cookery training and arts workshops as well as the Playback Theatre story telling where the whole group learns about each other’s situations. Strong empathy is built, emotional support provided and foundations for friendships can emerge.



It is a form of spontaneous, improvised theatre in which the audience is invited to share stories from their lives, which are then ‘played back’ by skilled actors in a safe and supportive environment. Seeing their stories dramatised, often gives people insight and ability to see problems from a different perspective. The playback method can raise awareness of subtleties, complexities and the systemic nature of social issues, such as are faced by Young Carers. Hearing stories from others reduces a sense of isolation, realising they are not alone. The method fosters healing and strengthens moves towards change. The exciting and unusual experience it offers makes it extremely engaging for Young Carers.

How the pandemic has affected Young Carers:

We have been practising as Playback Theatre SW facilitators, training and supporting skilled actors since 2005. We began work with young carers in 2012, when invited into local secondary school to work with 40 self-identified young carers. We encountered their moving and shocking stories of their struggles, their social isolation, bullying, and the complexity of their home lives. Big Lottery funds enabled us in 2013 -14 to collaborate with Cool Recovery, a Torbay mental health charity, and Young Devon to hear and ‘play back’ the stories of Young Carers at in-school and outside-school settings. A drama therapist observed our work and gathered participant feedback that documented how many participants welcomed the sessions and hoped for more. We went on to work with Torbay Young Carers who were supporting 540 young people and had strong links both with schools and Young Carers. Feedback from the support workers and young people themselves led us to devise a whole residential weekend of activities with Playback Theatre at its heart, so the young people could immerse themselves in a more deeply supportive process.


Though hard to secure funding, we stuck with it and brought it to fruition in January 2020. Ashburton Cookery School kindly provided delicious food and a chef who gave cookery lessons with food young carers could take home to their families. Support workers from Torbay Youth Trust, Young Carers Services oversaw the young people’s wellbeing and the residential venue offered us a discount. (The photo above is young carers at the weekend event)


Feedback from this first weekend has led us to aim to hold three Young Carers’ residential weekends per year and all the partners in this project are on board.

Feedback and evaluations of our earlier work can be found at:

Other feedback from Young Carers (PDF download of testimonials)

Will you support us now to take this work forward?

Your donation will be providing the heart of this work. It will enable us to: 

  • manage co-ordination of the overall 3-weekends project
  • bring in the specialist Playback Theatre practitioners - the team of 6 Playback Theatre actors and the skilled facilitators to deliver specially designed programmes of performances and creative workshops.
  • ‘In kind’ contributions are willing to offer us support from 3 youth workers, the venue hire, food and catering, cookery lessons, and the Young Carers’ travel costs.

In these times of covid and economic uncertainties, it is a real challenge to get funding for Young Carers projects and ‘the arts’.

Your donation will be worth its weight in gold.

Thank you.

Please circulate the link to this page to family and friends – with hopefully your encouragement for their support too.



This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£5 or more

3 of 100 claimed

£5 Reward

We will throw a pebble into the sea in a chorus calling thanks to your name.

£30 or more

1 of 2 claimed

£30 Reward

Book of poems from Daverick Leggett: either 'Cairn' or 'Wild Hearts'

£40 or more

1 of 3 claimed

£40 Reward

Book by actor Harriet Walter with her signed dedication to you. One of: 'Facing It, 'Brutus and Other Heroines' and 'Other People's Shoes'

£50 or more

0 of 2 claimed

£50 Reward

Two free Dream performances (local to Totnes)

£80 or more

0 of 2 claimed

£80 Reward

Print from Katie Sarra:

£100 or more

0 of 1 claimed

£100 Reward

Wonderful home made luxury curry meal in Dartington with artistic directors (Alison and Amanda) and two trustees

£300 or more

0 of 1 claimed

£300 Reward

Beautiful original painting from Philip Lyons (delivery included). He paints the outside world from inside gaze ...working with grid structures & passing of time.

£500 or more

0 of 1 claimed

£500 Reward

A beautiful original painting from Katie Sarra (delivery included): She paints in oils, bringing the beauty and eros of nature into people's homes.

£7 or more

5 of 5 claimed

£7 Reward

We will sow wild flower seeds in the Totnes community orchard in Devon

£25 or more

3 of 3 claimed

£25 Reward

Book of poems from Hilary Bee: 'Enter Here Beloved'

£40 or more

1 of 1 claimed

£40 Reward

New book from Chris Salisbury of Wild Wise. 'Wild Nights Out' A masterful guide for night walks. Full of engaging games and fascinating information, this book makes leading nighttime excursions a joy.

£75 or more

1 of 1 claimed

£75 Reward

Hand made leather journal from Tanner Bates:

£100 or more

1 of 1 claimed

£100 Reward

Beautiful handmade vase with green woodpeckers design, from ceramicist Jennie Hale (delivery included)

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