True life tales of care in the community

Catrina McHugh as Mary and Zoe Lambert as May in Swags and Tails. Photo by Keith Pattison.
Catrina McHugh as Mary and Zoe Lambert as May in Swags and Tails. Photo by Keith Pattison.

Swags and Tails, Seahouses Sports and Community Centre, Saturday, March 10, 7pm. Tickets £7, £4 child. Alnwick Playhouse, Wednesday, March 14, 2pm, Tickets £10, £8 conc.

MORE than 150 older women and carers have assisted with Swags and Tails, a new play coming to north Northumberland.

At a time when the care of older people is never far from the nation’s thoughts, Open Clasp Theatre Company has brought together the views, concerns and experiences of older women and carers in a comedy drama set on the day Margaret Thatcher dies, against a backdrop of the austerity and cuts with which we’re becoming all too familiar.

Swags and Tails introduces us to Gloria, her past eroded during years living in dementia units, Mary, the care-worker getting it from all angles and housebound Lillian, locked in her own spare room with only herself and eight bottles of sloe gin for company as well as Ellen and Marlene who are faced with the closure of their local day centre.

While the play, written by Catrina McHugh, will be performed by professional actors (including Dirty Dusting’s Helen Russell), the characters in the play have all been informed by older women and carers from their own experiences making the play a true-to-life social commentary which promises entertainment as well as food for thought.

Catrina said: “I’m really excited about Swags and Tails and look forward to the tour in February and March.

“I have loved working with the women, they have made me laugh, given me inspiration, they are great role models and I have done my very best to write a play and produce a show that values all the women that have put their trust in us.”

Swags and Tails is funded by Arts Council England, the Northern Rock Foundation, Newcastle City Council and The Ballinger Charitable Trust.