Looking back on our first dementia-friendly performance

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On Wednesday 26 July, we hosted our first dementia-friendly performance, an all-male version of The Mikado by Gilbert & Sullivan.

Dementia-friendly performances were pioneered by West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds in 2014, and have since been adopted by a number of theatres around the UK. There are 850,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK; dementia –friendly performances can help people living with dementia continue to enjoy theatre in a welcoming and supportive environment.

We chose ‘The Mikado’ as evidence suggests that our brains process music differently to other functions like speech; so people with dementia can enjoy music long after other abilities are diminished. ‘The Mikado’ is a well know piece, with tunes that may be familiar to a lot of the audience.  The company producing the show (Sasha Regan) were also very keen to take on the challenge.

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146 people came on the day and we received some great feedback:

“I work with people with dementia and a couple that I saw this morning went to see the dementia friendly performance of Mikado on Wednesday. They absolutely loved it. Both the lady with dementia and her husband said they greatly enjoyed the performance and it’s something that will stay with them.”

“We now know that we can make more trips to the theatre and enjoy our days out together”.

“All the service users that I know that came today had a fantastic time and are hoping that the Lowry are planning to do more dementia friendly events.”

Thanks to everyone who helped support this event – we hope to be able to do it again soon!