Dementia-friendly Clean Sweep

February 18, 2015 | By More

First dementia-friendly performance at Festival Theatre

Edinburgh’s King’s and Festival Theatres have taken the first step towards becoming one of the first dementia-friendly theatres in the UK, with a specially adapted, dementia-friendly performance from Plutot La Vie.

The theatres eventually hope to be commissioning work made specifically for dementia-friendly audiences.

Tim Licata and Ian Cameron from Plutot La Vie with audience member Christine Macleod. Photo Greg Macvean

Tim Licata and Ian Cameron from Plutot La Vie with audience member Christine Macleod. Photo Greg Macvean

The performance of A Clean Sweep took place on Monday 16 February 2015 in the Festival Studio and was followed by an informal cream tea reception at the Festival Theatre, providing an opportunity for the audience to meet the performers and the musicians in the show.

Director Magdalena Schamberger said: “A Clean Sweep is a play about friendship, making mistakes, dusting yourself off and moving on. We have adapted the existing version of this highly visual story for today’s dementia friendly performance by including live music, softening light and sound cues and focusing even more on the direct contact with the members of the audience.

“We hope that we have provided a stimulating enjoyable experience and engaged the audience, particularly people living with dementia. I am delighted about today’s audience response and how the performance style and the show’s characters have managed to connect with the audience by sharing their vulnerability and humanity.”

communication, interaction and laughter

Schamberger is also one of the founding members of Scottish arts-in-health charity, Hearts & Minds, that aims to improve the experience of people in hospital and in hospice, residential and respite care by using the performing arts to encourage communication, interaction and laughter.

The charity operates two specialist creative programmes; The Clowndoctors, who work specifically with children, and The Elderflowers, who work with elderly people with dementia.

Tim Licata and Ian Cameron from Plutôt La Vie in A Clean Sweep. Photo Greg Macvean

Tim Licata and Ian Cameron perform A Clean Sweep. Photo Greg Macvean

The production of A Clean Sweep is part of a trend. In December, West Yorkshire Playhouse presented an adapted, dementia-friendly performance of White Christmas and this is part of a broad movement across the UK to make theatre more accessible for a range of audiences.

Coordinating of Monday’s event was Learning and Participation Manager at the Festival and King’s Theatres, Cerin Richardson. She said: “The Festival and King’s theatres have been developing work for children and young people with additional needs through their Relaxed theatre programme and are delighted to be expanding their participation work to include people living with dementia and their families, so that they can take full advantage of the performances in our theatres.”

Expressing their delight at the performance, a spokesman for Alzheimer Scotland said: “Many people with dementia, as well as those who care for them, can become isolated by the illness and may not feel confident taking part in activities they enjoy.

“However, there are many things we can do to make going to the theatre more comfortable and welcoming for people with dementia. Whether someone has always liked going to the theatre, or wants to try something new, performances like this are a wonderful way for people with dementia to enjoy a great afternoon.”

Links

Plutot La Vie website: www.plutotlavie.org.uk

Hearts & Minds website: www.heartsminds.org.uk

ENDS

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