Extra support, advice and entertainment for those with dementia and their families is coming to Norwich.
As Dementia Awareness Week continues, Norwich Theatre Royal and Norwich Playhouse are aiming to build and support the work being done across the county with a wide range of initiatives including performances, workshops and training.
The Theatre Royal will present its first-ever dementia-friendly concert at 2pm on Friday 15th September. The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company will be presenting extracts from HMS Pinafore, The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance as well as a host of popular music hall melodies to sing along with.
The concert will be compered by the company’s Richard Gauntlett, who is very well-known to theatre audiences having written, directed and starred in the venue’s pantomime for many years.
And the ticket price of £17 will include a song-sheet plus tea and cake after the performance.
Later in the month, Norwich Playhouse will host Finding Joy, a play by the Worcester-based full-mask company Vamos. Taking to the stage on Tuesday September 26, the wordless production tells the story of a rebellious teenager’s decision to care for his grandmother with dementia.
The critically-acclaimed production mixes humour, poignancy and warmth, and has already enjoyed sold out two international tours as well as enjoying incredible success at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
A lot of work will be happening off-stage too. Vamos and the Playhouse will be delivering a series of workshops for carers, healthcare staff and arts professionals in non-verbal communication which becomes increasingly important as the condition of those with dementia worsens.
A number of dementia friends sessions are also running. These will help participants learn more about the condition and how they can create dementia-friendly communities. Norwich Theatre Royal is planning more for its staff and volunteers so that, by the end of the year, more than 200 will have gone through specialist training.
And the Playhouse is holding a Dementia Friend Information Session on Thursday 31 August at 4pm which is open to anyone. It will last around an hour and is free but must be booked in advance at www.dementiafriends.org.uk
Both venues will also continue to be members of the Norwich City Dementia Action Alliance which is a group of organisations who are passionate about raising the profile of the condition in the city as well as making Norwich a more inclusive and friendly city for those people living with dementia and their families.