The issue of dementia is being explored by a new play being performed across South Lakeland and Furness.
Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre has joined forces with Dignity in Dementia to commission a new play taking a fresh look at dementia and encourage people to examine their own attitudes to the condition.
The play, entitled A Different Tune, is a gentle comedy about a community orchestra which includes some members dealing with dementia and explores the developing relationships between them.
The play was penned by up-and-coming playwright Elis Shotton, who worked closely with Dignity in Dementia to gain an understanding of the condition.
He was mentored on the project by established writer Kevin Dyer who also penned the play Ruby for last year’s Applied Theatre in Cumbria project which saw a play about anxiety in young people performed to thousands of schoolchildren across the county.
Elis said: “Working with Dignity and Dementia on this project has been really exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing how the piece looks on its feet and how these different characters interact and help audience members see that life doesn’t have to end when you get dementia, you can form new relationships and take on new tasks.”
The project has been made possible thanks to £19,000 of funding from Arts Council England, Cumbria County Council The Sir John Fisher Foundation and is being performed by the Brewery’s Act Your Age company of senior amateur actors.
Brewery Creative Learning Manager Tricia Gordon said: “Projects like this show how the arts can be a beneficial force in improving people’s mental health and well-being. It is full of positive messages about dementia and how it shouldn’t be seen as ‘the end’ but can be embraced and be viewed as another important chapter in someone’s life.”
Based in Arnside, Dignity in Dementia supports hundreds of people across South Cumbria and North Lancashire providing a range of dementia embracing community activities, awareness training for family carers and personalised dementia activity plans. They also work with care homes, Cumbria Police, mountain rescue teams and others.
Director of Dignity in Dementia Lesley Gill said she hoped the project would raise the profile of the charity and the work they do.
“We are really excited to be working on this project as it enables us to show those affected by dementia, as well as the wider public, that with the right support, people with dementia can continue to remain active in their community and feel valued and fulfilled as a result.
“It was great to see his how Elis incorporated our approach, which is to help people with dementia to feel as normal and positive as possible, into the script.”
A Different Tune will be performed at:
- The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal – Tuesday 14 May at 7.30pm
- Cookes Studio, Abbey Road, Barrow – Wednesday 15 May at 7.30pm
- Victoria Hall, Grange-over Sands – Thursday 16 May at 7.30pm
Tickets are £5.50 and are available at the Brewery website www.breweryarts.co.uk or by calling box office on 01539 725133. Tickets are also available on the door for the Barrow performance and in the Victoria Hall information office for Grange.