A Showman’s Life

A Showman’s Life

Roll up! Roll up!

A Showman’s Life is a film about the Showmen’s yard and community in Cheetham Hill. It draws on national research with the Showmen community about their health and wellbeing.

Cheetham and Crumpsall’s Showmen community has a rich history going back generations. The largest yard is just half a mile from here. This film invites people and services in Manchester to learn more about the Showmen community, their way of life and their access to health and social care.

‘A Showman’s Life’ is a finalist in the 2024 Prolific North Creative Awards!

Watch the film below:

Manchester Local Care Organisation (MLCO), in partnership with The Showmen’s Mental Health Awareness Charity and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), have made a film with the Showmen community.

A Showman’s Life is the first film of its kind to be made in the UK – a candid conversation between members of the Showmen community about their lifestyle and how they access education and health and care services. Its purpose is to help educate statutory services about the community, improve the community’s access to services and improve their health outcomes. 

Showmen are a Travelling community who have been in the UK for hundreds of years. Showmen have lived on the same yard in Cheetham Hill for decades, yet in a recent study many health and care staff said that they did not know much about the Showmen or their health and care needs. The study carried out by The Showmen’s Mental Health Awareness Charity and ARU, was supported by MLCO. They spoke to both the Showmen community and health and care staff. The staff and community were interviewed separately, their answers were compared to highlight gaps in knowledge and identify where services may need to change their approach for some conditions.  

This study is part of a wider programme of research by The Showmen’s Mental Health Awareness Charity and ARU, the first phase of which can be viewed on the ARU website. 

The film A Showman’s Life premiered to a live audience on 19th March 2024, which was followed by presentations and a panel discussion with the organisations involved. There were also exhibitions from the National Fairgound and Circus Archive and Sheldon Chadwick’s PhD research. Guests who attended included Greater Manchester Police, Sir Richard Leese from Greater Manchester Integrated Care Board, nurses, social workers, community staff, public health and many more. 

Mary Jeal said: “I knew very little about the lives of the Showmen community before yesterday and after Sheldon and his team gave a brilliant delivery around their health and wellbeing, I can now appreciate the way of life and the challenges encountered along the way, especially from a mental health perspective.” 

Lizzie Hughes, integrated neighbourhood lead for Cheetham and Crumpsall, where this was filmed, said “Really pleased at the interest and response to the film yesterday and keen to look at how we share the resource with wider health and social care professionals in GM to improve the outcomes for this community.” 

This film is now available for download here.