Real Life Inspired Story Premieres at Scottish Storytelling Centre This November

Caring, by Rhona McAdam from Edinburgh, is a play based on a mother’s experience of caring for her severely disabled son and will be performed this November at the Scottish Storytelling Centre by Leith based Citadel Arts Group.

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According to charity Care for Carers there are now more than 800,000 adult carers in Scotland and 82 per cent have no time for respite or breaks. McAdam based the character of Joey on her own son Ruairidh, who had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and died this year, aged 29, shortly after she finished writing the play. Boys and young men with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy lack a protein which causes progressive muscle weakness, leading to respiratory problems and difficulty swallowing.

McAdam was one of the writers of Leithers One Family, which Citadel Arts Group created and staged online during lockdown with a new version entitled Leithers Live having been performed at Custom House, Leith in June.

 Rhona McAdam, who lives in Colinton, says, “It’s a realistic view of a mother caring for her teenage son. She is finding it tougher to care for him because he has a lot of physical care needs. Now he’s getting older she is maybe mothering him too much…”

As well as losing her son this year McAdam also lost her husband Iain, who died during lockdown. Writing the play and working with Citadel has given her a welcome focus.

She adds “I have written short stories before, but I have really enjoyed being part of the collaborative process and working with actors and directors.”

Erica Whitaker Wallis of Care for Carers said “Across Scotland, there were an estimated 700,000 to 800,000 unpaid carers before the COVID-19 pandemic. Survey work from Scottish Government in September 2020 suggests the number of adult carers had grown to around 839,000. As a result of the pandemic 90 per cent of carers are spending more time caring, with 82 per cent having had no access to respite or breaks from caring.

“It is therefore more important than ever that we continue to shine a light on the vital contribution that unpaid carers make to our society. As an organisation we work alongside community partners to provide carers with access to short break opportunities which this year has involved providing drama workshops with Citadel Arts. For a carer, just a few hours break away from their caring role can make a big difference to their wellbeing which is why we view these partnerships as so important.”

Thanks to support from the National Lottery Community Fund, the performances will be free, with a special invitation extended to carers’ groups in the city.

Caring, by Rhona McAdam, will be performed at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, High Street, Edinburgh on 3rd and 4th November at 7pm with a matinee on November 4th at 4pm after which there will be a Q and A with Erica Whittaker Wallis from Care for Carers.

Irene Brown

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