Capital Theatres has announced its new project developed in partnership with Traverse Theatre which is aimed at people with a lived experience of dementia and older people experiencing isolation and sensory deprivation.
Delivered to care homes in and around Edinburgh as well as to individuals who are living in the community, the audio play was devised in lieu of the annual Capital Theatres’s Care Settings Theatre Tour which had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it also follows on the success of Sundown Stories, a series of short, calming stories written by and for people living with dementia.
Set in iconic Edinburgh locations – from summertime in the Meadows after the war, to a Beatles gig in the ABC on Lothian Road, Christmastime on the Mound in the 80s and ending up in the Port O’Leith after the turn of the millennium, When The Sun Meets The Sky tracks Maggie through the decades as she discovers herself, her city and tries to get to the bottom of a mystery that’s eluded her since childhood.
From the Traverse Theatre, Jack Nurse, Artist in Residence (Creative Development) and Robbie Gordon, Creative Development Producer, led the creative aspect of developing the play, working very closely with Creative Contributors – people living with dementia, their family and friends, carers and ex-carers. Creative Contributors were instrumental not only in developing the script for the play by sharing their personal stories but also informed casting, contributed artwork and had cameo roles in the play.
Dawn Irvine, Learning and Participation Co-ordinator (Dementia Friendly Projects) said: “Undoubtedly, the global pandemic has put an unimaginable strain on care homes and those living with dementia, their families, carers and friends. Due to the lockdown restrictions, we weren’t able to deliver our usual creative engagement programme so decided to produce something that can be enjoyed remotely and included craft activities and sensory resources to be enjoyed by residents and staff.
“We are very pleased to now be able to share the audio play with public: a quality, creative experience that is shaped by and for people living with dementia. We hope that through this project they will feel encouraged to share their own personal stories and ultimately, feel more empowered and connected to those around them which is more important now than ever before.”
Capital Theatres has over 5 years of experience in working creatively with persons living with dementia, the creation of dementia friendly performances as well as trained staff who are knowledgeable about dementia inclusive practice and dementia enablement. Traverse Theatre is Scotland’s leading new writing theatre and expert in theatre production – recently also in audio play and podcast production.
During the Research & Development phase of the project, Capital Theatres’ team carried out extensive consultations with care homes staff, people living with dementia and their loved ones with whom they have developed a relationship over the years through various projects. The feedback was extremely positive.
Interviewees were very keen on increasing the level of creative engagement in their everyday life – something that has substantially diminished over the past 12 months due to the lockdown restrictions. They were highly supportive of a radio play as an opportunity for people to engage in either large or small groups or individually as well as support those with visual impairments to enjoy creative work not reliant on sight. They also appreciated that radio play could be enjoyed with minimal need for care staff intervention and is a resource that can be used over and again. The episodes of the audio play can be enjoyed individually or as part of a larger, connected story. Delivered in a relaxed, conversational manner with no loud noises or loud music, the audio play focuses on real stories and narration that is easy to follow, without hindrance of sub plots or many characters.
The audio play will be available to experience for free on the Capital Theatres’ YouTube channel and Traverse Theatre website from Thursday 4th May. In order to make it as accessible as possible, Capital Theatres’ team has produced a transcribed version, a large print version and will provide CDs and DVDs to those without Internet access.
The audio play will be distributed among Edinburgh and Lothians care homes and people living with dementia in their own homes. Capital Theatres and Traverse Theatre would like to encourage those who are interested in experiencing the project to get in touch by emailing email@example.com.