More details about new play, Credit, announced

Published: 10 September 2020
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Cooper McDonough and Christina Berriman Dawson Credit: Lyndsay Duncanson
Christina Berriman Dawson Credit: Lyndsay Duncanson
Cooper McDonough Credit: Lyndsay Duncanson
Director Brad McCormick Credit: Lyndsay Duncanson

Newcastle theatre company Cap-a-Pie has announced more details of Laura Lindow’s new play, Credit, which streams this month, and has also released photographs of the 'socially distanced' rehearsals at Alphabetti Theatre.

Credit draws on an in-depth study published by leading experts into the rollout of Universal Credit in Gateshead and Newcastle, commissioned by Gateshead Council in partnership with Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health. A Guardian exclusive when it was published in 2018 and now part of a growing body of research, the study was among the first to focus on the experiences of vulnerable people and advice and support staff in an area where Universal Credit had been rolled out.

Co-authored by Dr Mandy Cheetham from Teesside University, Professor Suzanne Moffatt and Dr Michelle Addison from Newcastle University, the study concludes that Universal Credit does not achieve the aims of simplifying the benefit system and improving work incentives, that it is not working for vulnerable claimants and that it significantly adds to the pressures facing claimants and workload of staff supporting them.

Made alongside people who are claiming Universal Credit, support organisations and researchers the play is a picture of how people in the North East are dealing with the ongoing changes to the welfare system.

Director Brad McCormick explains, “as part of the process for making this show, we were able to speak to many people who either claim Universal Credit or who work with people who are claiming. Alongside the research, this gave us such a clear picture of the situation that people in the North East are facing under this welfare system and was invaluable in grounding the show in truth. You will see elements of these people’s stories in Credit and they are a mixture of fascinating, darkly funny and heart-breaking.”

There will be two previews with two separate Q&A panel discussions on Wednesday 16 September:

  • At 2:00, the Q&A panel will consist of Patrick Butler (Guardian), Clive Davis (Welfare Rights Officer, Newcastle Council), Alison Dunn (Strategic Lead for Poverty and Inequality Gateshead Council & CEO of Citizens Advice Gateshead), chaired by Professor Liz Todd, Director, Institute of Social Science Newcastle University
  • Members of the 7:00 panel will be Patrick Butler (Guardian), Laura Lindow (writer), Alice Wiseman (Director of Public Health, Gateshead Council), chaired by Professor Liz Todd, Director, Institute of Social Science Newcastle University.

The preview and the discussions can be watched on the Cap-a-Pie web site.

The production's cast and creatives are:

  • Laura Lindow - writer
  • Brad McCormick - director
  • Christina Berriman Dawson & Cooper McDonough - performers
  • Anna Reid - designer
  • Roma Yagnik - composer
  • Katy Vanden - producer
  • Rachel Glover - production & stage manager