Festival Theatre Edinburgh Hosts Dementia Friendly Event

An event for dementia friendly audiences was held at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh on Monday 16 February in collaboration with Edinburgh’s Health and Social Care Partnership and Alzheimer Scotland. The event was the beginning of the work of Kings and Festival Theatre in making their twin performance and public spaces available to people living with dementia.

An audience of 120 that included people living with dementia, their carers and families, attended a performance of A Clean Sweep, a show devised by Plutôt La Vie theatre company. The show was directed by Magdalena Schamberger, one of the founding members of Scottish arts-in-health charity, Hearts & Minds who 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. …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.”

The performance in the Studio at the Festival Theatre was followed by an informal cream tea reception at the Festival Theatre that provided an opportunity for the audience to meet the performers and the musicians in the show.
Co-ordinator of the event and Festival and King’s Theatre Learning and Participation Manager, Cerin Richardson 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.”

Alzheimer Scotland has welcomed the Festival Theatre Edinburgh’s Dementia Friendly pilot performance and a spokesperson said. “We are delighted that Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Hearts & Minds and Plutôt La Vie have collaborated to create this dementia-friendly performance. [which is] a wonderful way for people with dementia to enjoy a great afternoon.”

The City of Edinburgh Council launched a new awareness campaign this week to highlight the stigma associated with dementia and the little things everyone can do to help. Devised in conjunction with Edinburgh residents who have dementia and their relatives, the campaign is part of ongoing work by a partnership of City of Edinburgh Council, NHS Lothian and Alzheimer Scotland to make Edinburgh a dementia friendly city. To find out more search #dementia6littlethings on Twitter.