Preview: Credit

Credit by Laura Lindow

A new play by award-winning writer Laura Lindow based on stories and experiences of people living on Universal Credit will be streamed online on 16 September.

With many more people moving onto Universal Credit as a result of COVID-19, the issues highlighted in Credit are now more important than ever to discuss and the panel includes Guardian social policy editor Patrick Butler, Gateshead’s Director of Public Health, Alice Wiseman and writer Laura Lindow. 

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. 

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 benefits system and improving work incentives, that it is not working for vulnerable claimants and significantly adds to the pressures facing claimants and workload of staff supporting them. 

Professor Suzanne Moffatt is an academic at Newcastle University’s Population & Health Sciences Institute with over 30 years’ experience researching health inequalities and the relationship between welfare and health. She says, 

By creating a play out of the research, we hope to reach a wider audience. The Q&A sessions will create a space for discussion about whether this is an adequate and fair social security system and if not, how we might, as citizens, increase pressure to substantially improve Universal Credit or scrap it altogether.

Dr Mandy Cheetham explains

“The play is rooted in these and other claimants’ experiences. We were keen to find creative ways to share the findings and prompt debates about what kind of world we want to live in. Working with Cap-a-Pie has enabled us to bring these issues to a wider audience. With many more people moving onto Universal Credit as a result of COVID-19, these issues are more important than ever to explore”

Cap-a-Pie has built a reputation for creative collaborations with universities and schools, working with academics and experts alongside their local communities.

 Credit is made in collaboration with Newcastle University, Teesside University, Gateshead Council, Newcastle City Council, Citizens Advice Gateshead, Your Voice Counts, Oasis Community Housing, Women’s Health in South Tyneside, Changing Lives, Larkspur House and Fuse.

Credit is written by Laura Lindow (Woven Bones/Cap-a-Pie). Designed by Anna Reid (Rattle Snake/Open Clasp & Live Theatre). Sound design is by Roma Yagnik (Leaving/Live Theatre). The cast is Christina Berriman Dawson (Key Change/Open Clasp) and Cooper McDonough, a member of Northern Stage’s Young Company and an associate artist with the internationally acclaimed Cardboard Citizens.

A rehearsed reading from Credit will be streamed on 16 September at 2pm and 7pm. Each preview will be followed by a live Q&A discussion chaired by Professor Liz Todd, Director, Institute of Social Science Newcastle University with writer Laura Lindow and some of the country’s leading experts on the welfare state including The Guardian’s social policy editor Patrick Butler, and Gateshead’s Director of Public Health, Alice Wiseman. 

To watch the preview and take part in the Q&A events on 16 September visit:

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