A Dementia-Friendly Pantomime

A DEMENTIA-Friendly pantomime performance has been deemed such a success organisers are already looking to arrange another for panto season 2018-19!

Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough approached the team at the town’s theatre with the idea of holding a specially-adapted performance of last season’s pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

The organisation supports businesses and public facilities to become Dementia Friendly, offering awareness raising sessions and providing resources and an accreditation process, which Middlesbrough Theatre had already undertaken.

The aim is to help people living with dementia to remain active and included members of their community, maintaining their independence for as long as possible and to continue enjoying activities they always have.

The team at Middlesbrough Theatre were enthusiastic about the idea and set about organising the show. Representatives of Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough watched a performance and noted which changes could help make the pantomime dementia friendly.

Brian Rowcroft of Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough said: “Pantomime can be an experience with sensory overload – it’s loud and there can be bright lights and bright colours.

“But it is also very much a family event and something all the generations like to enjoy together. That’s why we thought having a performance where people living with dementia, their families and friends could all enjoy would be a good idea.

“Middlesbrough Theatre were fantastic. They worked with the cast and production crew, who were also superb, to ensure the performance met the needs of the people in the audience.

“To help make the performance dementia-friendly the sound levels were taken down and the house lights were taken up slightly so it wasn’t so dark. There was an element in the original performance where one of the comic characters sprayed water and we felt that might not be appropriate, and so that was taken out.

“It was all smashing and more than 260 people went along and enjoyed the show. We’re already looking forward to next year!”

David Kime from Middlesbrough Theatre said: “We were delighted to work alongside Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough to develop this performance. It was a huge success and we are already looking to next year and what we can do then.”

The performance was also praised on social media by one of the show’s stars, Adele Silva (of Kelly Windsor from Emmerdale fame) who played Snow White. Writing on Twitter she said: “Lovely audience in for our #dementiafriendly show this afternoon – Well done @Mbrotheatre for recognising this.”

Middlesbrough Theatre’s next dementia friendly performance is Hooray for Hollywood on Thursday 21st June at 2.30pm. The show features songs from the golden age of Hollywood.

A musical play which promises quality hours filled with the most memorable Hollywood melodies, “Hooray for Hollywood” recreates the glitz of the Roaring Twenties and features popular classic Hollywood hits such as Top Hat, Let’s Face the Music, There’s no Business like Show Business, Putting’ On the Ritz, Cheek to Cheek, Singing in the Rain and many more.

Tickets are £20.50 / Concession £17 (Includes Booking Fee) and available from the Box Office on 01642 81 51 81 or can be booked online at www.middlesbroughtheatre.co.uk