Tuesday, 17 February 2015


 In collaboration with Edinburgh’s Health and Social Care Partnership and Alzheimer Scotland, the Festival Theatre Edinburgh hosted a pilot event for dementia friendly audiences on Monday 16 February.

Alzheimer Scotland has welcomed The Festival Theatre Edinburgh’s Dementia Friendly pilot performance. A spokesperson said: “We are delighted that Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Hearts & Minds and Plutôt La Vie have collaborated to create this dementia-friendly performance. 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. However, there are many things we can do to make going to the theatre more comfortable and welcoming for people with dementia. 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.”

The City of Edinburgh Council launched a new awareness campaign this week 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.

The Council identified the necessity of meeting the needs of an aging population by approving plans to work towards making Edinburgh a dementia-friendly city in November 2013. The report published at that time estimated there were 7, 688 people with dementia in the city and expected that number to increase by 62% over the next 20 years. It identified the need to increase awareness of the issues that affect people with dementia and challenge some of the stigmas attached to the condition. In order to become a dementia-friendly city, the partnership will reach out to retailers, public transport providers and partners in the health and voluntary sectors to provide advice about how to help people and service users with dementia. 

Hearts & Minds is a Scottish arts-in-health charity that aims to improve the experience of people in hospital and in hospice, residential and respite care by using the performing arts to encourage communication, interaction and laughter. The charity operates two specialist creative programmes; The Clowndoctors, who work specifically with children, and The Elderflowers, who work with elderly people with dementia.

Plutôt La Vie is a Scottish touring theatre company producing imaginative, entertaining and visually driven performances,the quality of which is recognised by Creative Scotland, press and audiences alike. Their most recent project, the UK premiere of La Tragedie Comique by Yves Hunstad & Eve Bonfanti toured throughout Scotland in 2014. Driven by the unique collaboration of Tim Licata and Ian Cameron, Plutôt La Vie has delighted audiences throughout Scotland with A Clean Sweep (“innovative theatre that defies classification”-The Sunday Times) By the Seat of Your Pants (“…sequence after sequence of inspired comedy and a profound playfulness...” The Scotsman) and First You’re Born, co-production with the Byre Theatre (“…Top of Form – a white-knuckle roller coaster ride into the” The Stage). In 2013 Plutôt la Vie and Strange Theatre collaborated on Couldn't Care Less, a moving story of a daughter caring for her mother with Alzheimer's disease. Inspired by the experiences of carers, Couldn’t Care Less is a dark, surreal, funny and moving story of two women whose lives are disappearing and featured in the S.M.H.A.F.F. and Luminate Festivals in 2013. Ian Cameron and Tim Licata also work as Elderflower Practitioners with Scottish charity Hearts & Minds, working with ladies and gentlemen with dementia in residential care.

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