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Poignant play puts spotlight on dementia

The lecture theatre hosted ‘An Evening with Dementia’ this week, a special play that focuses on raising awareness of the condition. Coming shortly after dementia awareness week, it tells the story of a former actor with dementia who recounts life experiences and shares his inner-feelings with the audience.

The play was performed twice on 31 May. Attendance to the show was free and Rev. Declan McConville, our Head of Chaplaincy and who organised the hosting of the play at the hospital, said “Dementia is a huge issue nationally and we tried to tie the play in with the recent dementia awareness week. The play was a creative and interactive way of raising awareness. Staff who are working with dementia patients hopefully had a new insight.” 

An evening with dementiaOn stage, the props were limited to just a chair, a walking stick and a blanket but writer and actor Trevor T Smith’s performance was magnetic, resulting in a thought-provoking and poignant play with a sprinkling of humour. Producer Janet Westgarth said of the play, which has previously been awarded a five star review from the British Medical Journal and British Theatre Guide. “It’s about an old man who expresses his inner life. He normally doesn’t speak but he comes and shares his inner feelings to the audience about what it’s like to be an old man in a care home.”

After the performance, there was a short audience Q&A on the subject of dementia, which is one of the main causes of disability later in life, ahead of cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke. There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and in eight years’ time, that number will rise to an estimated one million.

For more information, contact the play’s producer Janet Westgarth on 01453 752 751, email wesdtgarthproductions@gmail.com or visit http://www.aneveningwithdementia.co.uk/.The play can be booked for both theatrical performances or Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training.

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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