Lancaster theatre helps to improve lives of people with dementia

Music making memories at Still Me.
Music making memories at Still Me.
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People with dementia and their carers are taking an artistic approach to life, thanks to a pioneering project at The Dukes.

Still Me is a groundbreaking new multi-arts group which focuses on creativity, imagination and fun. It is a collaborative approach where everyone is equal and contributes to the content of the sessions.

Still Me is part of the Dukes A Life More Ordinary project which aims to improve access to the arts for people with dementia and their carers.

The first series of Still Me sessions ended in the same week as a new report on arts, health and wellbeing was published by an All-Party Parliamentary Group which included a section on how the arts can help improve the lives of those with dementia.

“We know that the people attending Still Me have their challenges in their day-to-day lives but when they come to the group, they experience pure joy, play and laughter,“ said Gil Graystone, The Dukes Inclusive Film and Theatre Officer.

“Still Me is about living in the moment and is a lovely way of bringing people together.”

The group includes two married couples and two others with their carers recruited by Age UK who are ALMO partners.

The Still Me group members with dementia are in the early stages of the condition but face different challenges. They work alongside a composer, dancer, film and theatre practitioner and a visual artist/maker.

The aim is to share their lives, loves and memories while building stronger bonds between them.

The sessions have resulted in Still Me forming a band called The Originals, creating a short animation based on a Laurel & Hardy film, songwriting, producing a model of Williamson Park, experimenting with shadow play and even recreating the Sgt Pepper album cover featuring the group members and people and ideas explored in the sessions.

Still Me will meet up again from October and run through until May 2018.

For more information, visit http://dukes-lancaster.org/creative-learning/inclusive-theatre/ where there’s a short film about the project.