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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

New Musical About the Childcare system in the UK to open in July

Multi-award-winning LUNG return with new musical The Children’s Inquiry which will shine a light on the UK’s childcare system when it premieres at London’s Southwark Playhouse Elephant in July. Taking first-hand experiences from young people, social workers, politicians, foster carers, care leavers and transforming them into lyrics set to a heart thumping and vibrant soundtrack, this verbatim musical investigates and questions the system using words from those who have lived it. With more than 80,000 children in England alone currently in care and a crisis in the availability of suitable local placements*, the show is aiming to comfort anyone who is in or has experienced the care system, as well as urging anyone in power to take action and stand up for the rights of young people in care.  


Jelica has been told by social workers she’s a success story, Frank is on his eighth foster home and at their school, no one knows Amber and Angelica are in care. Spanning over one hundred years of the system’s development starting in 1896, these teenagers will travel through time stopping at workhouses, meeting evacuees, child migrants and care leavers on their quest to discover the truth about the state of children’s care in this country. The foursome will ask difficult questions about the past in the hope they can come up with answers to the future. The Children’s Inquiry looks at the ties that bind a family, the value of childhood and how we can all find love in unexpected places. 


The music is composed by Owen Crouch and Clementine Douglas, former members of critically acclaimed band Kudu Blue. Clementine won BBC Radio 1’s Dance Artist of the year in 2022 and has been a guest vocalist for some of the UK’s top acts including Chase & Status and Dizzie Rascal. She has also written songs for a number of leading artists including Olivier award winning Nicole Scherzinger. Owen is Associate Sound Designer for LUNG and has worked on a number of theatre productions including Woodhill. Their score brings together a range of influences from the decades the show covers including Dusty Springfield, Marvin Gaye and Lizzo.  


The choreography comes from Woodhill choreographer Alexzandra Sarmiento who was a member of the original London cast of Hamilton and will include dances from the different periods in the show including the Charleston and doo-wop. The cast will be confirmed in the coming months.  


Helen Monks and Matt Woodhead, Co-Artistic Directors LUNG said, ‘For the last 5 years, we have been cooking up this incredible musical with a fearless group of care experienced teenagers in Havering and Essex. This is a story that is burning to be told. We can't wait to share it with the world’. 


Founded in 2012, LUNG is a campaign led verbatim theatre company that tours work nationally. They work closely with communities to make verbatim theatre and hidden voices heard. LUNG creates work that shine a light on political, social and economic issues in modern Britain, using people’s actual words in their stories. Their previous acclaimed productions include Trojan Horse (now on the AQA Curriculum) about teachers and governors who were falsely accused of instigating a plot to takeover Birmingham schools which won the Fringe First Award in 2018 at the Edinburgh Fringe as well as The Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award and Woodhill, a state of the nation look at the crisis in UK prisons co-created with families whose relatives died at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes which received universal acclaim at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. They are currently Creative Associates with National Theatre Learning and partners at The Lowry.  


Southwark Playhouse is a registered charity that delivers a year-round programme of entertaining and enriching work. Southwark Playhouse operates two separate venues ‘Southwark Playhouse Borough’ and its newest theatre ‘Southwark Playhouse Elephant’ which opened in January 2023. Southwark Playhouse has always prided itself in telling stories and inspiring the next generation of storytellers and theatre makers, where support for the community has been rooted at the core of the organisation. 


For more information and to buy tickets go to


*Statistics taken from Children’s social care data in England 2023 released by Ofsted and published in July 2023 and updated in September 2023


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