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Helen Monks & Matt Woodhead (LUNG) (Theatre-Makers, 2022)-LUNG, E15, 2018-2019. Photographer: David Monteith-Hodge

Helen Monks & Matt Woodhead (LUNG)

Finalist in 2022 for Theatre-Makers

Helen Monks and Matt Woodhead’s campaign-led verbatim theatre company LUNG uses people’s actual words to tell their stories and make hidden voices heard. LUNG tours work nationally to advocate and campaign against political, social and economic inequalities in modern Britain. 

In 2016, LUNG worked in collaboration with four local young carers to amplify their voice. 70% of young carers are hidden – meaning their caring duties are unknown with no recognition or support. Who Cares toured school and youth zone venues across the UK, performing to over 8,000 pupils, children and young people, teachers and youth professionals culminating in an event at the House of Lords for key policy and decision-makers. The play was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and 200 hidden young carers were identified and signposted to support as a direct result of seeing the show. 

Trojan Horse (2020) saw LUNG collaborate with Birmingham schools, where teachers were falsely accused of ‘radicalising’ and ‘Islamising’ students. Made over 4 years with a core group of teachers and governors at the heart of the scandal, Trojan Horse aimed to disrupt assumed truth and challenge the mainstream narrative presented by the media. A live Urdu translation of the play was made available to those who participated in LUNG’s engagement package. By invitation of Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the play is set to be performed at The Houses of Parliament in partnership with the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims. 

In 2018, E15 responded to the events of 19th October 2013, in which 29 sheltering single mothers and children in East London got an eviction letter from Newham Council. Faced with forced relocation out of London, the young mums fought back. In collaboration with the real-life mums and campaign group, LUNG co-created a piece of agitprop theatre that confronted the social housing crisis and celebrated how one group of women refused to be marginalised.

Alongside their shows, LUNG is proud to have launched the Who Cares Campaign advocating for the rights of young carers across the UK. During lockdown, LUNG launched a Digi-Fund to buy young carers the digital devices they need to catch up on school work and care for a loved one. The young carers LUNG work with have been featured on the BBC, ITV and Channel 5.