Mon 4 Jan 2016

The idea behind the Dementia Friendly performance is to tailor the theatre experience to meet the needs of people living with Dementia, their family, friends and carers so that they the can all come along and enjoy the performance in a relaxed and supportive environment.

Curve Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:

“We believe great theatre should be accessible to all and we’re delighted to be offering a Dementia Friendly performance of Oliver! this January. In the last few years we have grown our number of access performances significantly and we are truly thrilled to be adapting our production of Oliver! for people living with dementia and their families. We hope this will be the first of many more Dementia Friendly performances at Curve in the future.”

The Dementia Friendly Performance is another part of Curve’s lasting commitment to working with and producing theatre for everyone- a commitment that saw Curve win The Promotion of Diversity Award at this year’s UK Theatre Awards.

Curve’s Dementia Friendly performance of Oliver! will only differ in subtle ways yet, the combined effect of the changes are designed to reopen the joys of theatre to an audience who may have thought that a trip the theatre was no longer an option for them. Changes and additions can range from opening theatre doors earlier to allow theatre goers more time to take their seats,  leaving the house lights on during the performance, providing quiet areas and additional signage to altering some of the sound and lighting cues in the performance itself to ensure a relaxed and secure environment for all those attending.

The concept has truly captured the imagination of our community with local firm of Chartered Accountants, Rowleys, who will be sponsoring the event. Rowleys Chairman, Tony Jarvis commented:

“The staff at Rowleys are involved in many charitable activities and we have been in the very fortunate position to work with Curve for some time now. Dementia is an illness that has touched many of our lives, or those of our friends, family and colleagues and we are privileged to sponsor this event which we hope will enable those affected by dementia to experience this fantastic performance in a safe and reassuring environment that is aware of and responsive to their needs.”

Staff from all departments at Curve have also volunteered to offer additional assistance on the day. The team of volunteers, all wearing Oliver! t-shirts will be on hand to offer directions, assist with seating or just sit and have a chat with audience members before, during and after the show.

Also attending on the day will be members of support group The Alzheimer’s Society. Dave Basset from the society said:

“All too often people with dementia and their carers feel isolated and cut off from community life. The Dementia Friendly performance of Oliver! will enable carers and people with dementia to be part of their community whilst also raising awareness of this condition. We would like to encourage other arts venues in Leicester and beyond to think about ways they can make themselves more dementia friendly.”

It is hoped that this inaugural Dementia Friendly performance at Curve will be the first of many and will complement the relaxed and captioned performances already programmed by Curve.

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