Coram has published the script of the play Echoes Through Time: The Story of Care, created in collaboration with care-experienced young people. The script is published alongside a digital resource pack to support schools and youth groups to stage their own performances of the play and learn about the past and present of the care system.

The play is the culmination of the theatre-making project in Coram’s Voices Through Time: The Story of Care programme, made possible by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. It centres on a group of young people navigating between the modern care system and the historic Foundling Hospital, exploring resonances between life in care today and the lives of real children who grew up at the Hospital in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Foundling Hospital was established by Thomas Coram in 1739 as a home for babies whose mothers were unable to care for them. In the Voices Through Time programme, Coram has digitised nearly a quarter of its Foundling Hospital Archive, a rich historical resource which offers a window into the lives of the ‘Foundlings’ and the desperate plight of the mothers who had to part with their children. The archive was a key source for the care-experienced young people who collaborated with writer Brian Mullin to devise the script. 

Brian Mullin says:

“We tell the story of real children raised in Foundling Hospital in the 1700s and 1800s, but also the story of care today. The two time periods and the systems are very different, but many of the feelings are the same. Young people from the past can have their voices heard through the imaginations and experiences of the young people of today.” 

The script is freely available for schools, youth groups, and theatre companies to download. The accompanying resource pack contains: 

  • A production guide with tips on characters, staging and props 
  • A fact sheet about the Foundling Hospital with biographies of the Foundlings and mothers who appear in the play 
  • An introduction to the present day care system, exploring issues that children and young people face 
  • Videos and photographs of the play’s premiere in Hoxton Hall, London, in April 2024, performed by a cast of care-experienced young people and directed by Vicky Moran 

Carol Homden, CEO of Coram, said:

“Echoes Through Time: The Story of Care is an extraordinary achievement by the care-experienced young people who imaginatively interwove the stories of the children who grew up in the Foundling Hospital nearly three hundred years ago with so much depth from their own emotions and lived experience to create a play that will live on. This play gives a voice to those children who lived centuries ago as well as young care-experienced people today. We hope that many more young people across the country have the chance to perform this play and learn about the past and present of the care system.”

A group of care-experienced young people performed the premiere of the play, directed by Vicky Moran, to a sold-out audience at Hoxton Hall, London, on 4 April 2024.

The script is for a company of performers aged 14 to 24 and is suitable for audiences aged 14+. 

Download the play and digital resource pack