Edinburgh Theatre Hosts Dementia Friendly Show

A scene from A Clean Sweep. Photo by Greg Macvean

The Festival Theatre Edinburgh recently hosted a dementia friendly performance of A Clean Sweep, a show which has delighted audiences across Scotland.

On Monday 16 February – thanks to a collaboration between Scottish arts-in-health charity Arts & Minds, Edinburgh’s Health and Social Care Partnership and Alzheimer Scotland – an audience of 120, including people living with dementia, their carers and families attended the show, which was devised by Plutôt La Vie theatre company and directed by Magdalena Schamberger.

“Focusing on live music, softening light and sound cues and direct contact with the audience”

“A Clean Sweep is a play about friendship, making mistakes, dusting yourself off and moving on,” explained Director Magdalena Schamberger, who is one of the founding members of  Hearts & Minds.

“We adapted the existing version of this highly visual story for the dementia friendly performance by including live music, softening light and sound cues and focusing even more on direct contact with the members of the audience.”

The event was the beginning of Festival Theatre Edinburgh and The King’s Theatres’ work to ensure its performance and public spaces are inviting and inclusive to people living with dementia.

Co-ordinator of the event and Learning and Participation Manager at the Festival and King’s Theatres, Cerin Richardson, said: “We have been developing work for children and young people with additional needs and are delighted to expand this to include people living with dementia and their families, so they can take full advantage of performances in our theatres’.

The performance in the Studio at the Festival Theatre was followed by a cream tea reception at the Festival Theatre, providing an opportunity for the audience to meet the performers and the musicians in the show.

“A wonderful way for people with dementia to enjoy a great afternoon”

“We are delighted that Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Hearts & Minds and Plutôt La Vie collaborated to create this dementia-friendly performance,” said a spokesperson from Alzheimer Scotland.

“Many people with dementia, as well as those who care for them, can become isolated by the illness and may not feel confident taking part in activities they enjoy. Whether someone has always liked going to the theatre, or wants to try something new, performances like this are a wonderful way for people with dementia to enjoy a great afternoon.”

Dementia Friendly Edinburgh

  • In February, The City of Edinburgh Council launched a new awareness campaign to highlight the stigma associated with dementia and the little things everyone can do to help.
  • Devised in conjunction with Edinburgh residents who have dementia and their relatives, the campaign is part of ongoing work by a partnership of City of Edinburgh Council, NHS Lothian and Alzheimer Scotland to make Edinburgh a dementia friendly city.
  • To find out more search #dementia6littlethings on Twitter.