LUNG debuts new verbatim musical on UK’s childcare system

The Children's Inquiry poster

Verbatim theatre company LUNG is set to premiere its latest production, The Children’s Inquiry, at the Southwark Playhouse Elephant.

This new musical, which opens on 5 July and runs until 3 August, delves into the complexities of the UK’s childcare system through the unique lens of verbatim theatre—a style that uses the precise words from interviews and testimonies of real people.

The Children’s Inquiry features a narrative seen through the eyes of four teenagers, each navigating the challenges of the care system. Their journey spans more than a century, beginning in 1896, and touches upon historical elements like workhouses and child migration. The cast comprises children and teenagers aged between 8 to 18, bringing authentic voices and profound insight to the stage.

The lyrics, drawn directly from interviews spanning several decades, reflect the experiences of young people, social workers, politicians, foster carers, and care leavers, set against a vibrant and emotional musical score. The show not only aims to highlight the systemic issues within childcare but also serves as a call to action for those in power.

Music for the production is crafted by Owen Crouch and Clementine Douglas, incorporating influences from artists like Dusty Springfield, Marvin Gaye, and Lizzo. Choreography by Alexzandra Sarmiento, known for her role in the original London cast of Hamilton, will reflect the varied time periods depicted in the show.

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.”

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


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