Grandma Remember Me?

Exploring the journey of dementia 

Synopsis

Grandma Remember Me? is a beautiful story told through a mix of puppetry, drama and storytelling. It is written from the perspective of a young child, Lilly, whose Grandma develops Alzheimer’s disease. It explores their changing relationship from Lilly’s initial recognition that there is something wrong with her grandma, through the unfolding challenges and final acceptance and understanding of the disease.

It explores the wider impact on family, the need for support and understanding within our communities and the importance of memories and relationships within our lives and how to keep and treasure them. It is a piece of high quality theatre, very powerful, realistic and deeply moving.

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Project Development

Grandma Remember Me? was initially developed and produced in Oct/Nov 2012 from a research and development grant from the Arts Council, FEAST and The Works. It was performed to a diverse section of people and the evaluation undertaken were outstanding.

The Spring Tour took place in March and May 2013, sponsored by Cornwall Council and NHS Cornwall & The Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust, The Arts Council, The Works and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales Duke of Cornwall. Evaluations from this tour were also outstanding and identified a variety of groups who wanted to use the play as an innovative and impactful way to train and educate people about dementia.

Based on these evaluations a national tour was undertaken in December 2013 developing the idea of using the play as an innovative training tool to support awareness and education around dementia. This tour was supported by the Arts Council, Cornwall Council and NHS Cornwall & The Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust.

National & International Performances

Demand for Grandma Remember Me? continues to grow. It has now had 5 national tours and has been used as an impactful, innovative training tool by an eclectic range of organisations. It is now embedded within the curriculum with a number of universities, embraced as a creative & empathetic way to understand the progression of dementia and the wider impact it has.

In November 2014 Grandma Remember Me? found an international platform, supported by Alzheimer’s Disease International. Performances took place at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon and Nirmal Bhartia School, Dwarks in New Delhi, India.

It was also performed at the National School of Drama in New Delhi as part of “JashneBachpan” a National Theatre Festival for Children.

Grandma Remember Me? has been performed twice at the Houses of Parliament for MPs, representatives of the House of Lords and specialists within the field of dementia.

Having seen the play, Baroness Greengross, Chair of the APPG on dementia said: “This plays should have been shown at the G8 Summit on Dementia”

Audiences

The value of Grandma Remember Me? as an exciting, innovative training tool has been recognised by many within the field of dementia. It engages on an emotional level which impacts positive change. Audiences have included:

Primary Schools.

Secondary Schools.

Universities

Medical Schools

GPs

Dementia Services

Councils

Health, Social & Childcare Services

Care Agencies

Support Services

NHS, CCG’s & PCT’s

Professional bodies within the field of dementia.

Development & training agencies

Families, Carers and people with dementia

Memory Cafes

Dementia Friendly Town Initiative

Museums

Clergy

MP’s and representatives from the House of Lords

Theatres

Examples of how Grandma Remember Me? is being used:

  • To increase the level of Dementia awareness in the workforce
  • To understand the impact of dementia on the whole family
  • Ensure delegates understand the real issues facing those with dementia and their families so have a better understanding of how services can be improved to support them
  • Open students minds to the experience of dementia from different perspectives
  • To get people to think positively about how to be with people who have dementia
  • Raise public awareness
  • Provide encouragement & support for people with dementia, so they realise they are not alone
  • Provide support for carers and families as they will identify with some of the issues raised
  • Raise awareness with the public, to think through the issues and be more understanding of the needs of people with dementia
  • Help make the Borough more dementia friendly by raising awareness amongst professionals, signposting services & activities to make them more accessible
  • To encourage students to think about how dementia affects the person
  • To further enhance & develop understanding of how dementia impacts on the family
  • Delivered as part of a module entitled “Foundations in Communication and Professionalism” helping to think about communication with people with dementia and how to show communication, care and compassion
  • Continue organizational discussion about how we support patients and families
  • For students to see dementia through a different lens rather than a clinical lens
  • To develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the condition and also the county council’s work
  • To continue to raise awareness through creative media
  • To encourage dialogue amongst participants
  • To provide a safe space for people to share their own experiences as has happened following previous performances
  • To promote awareness of services available which support people with dementia and their carers
  • Using a different engagement strategy through performance
  • To have a different delivery method to power point
  • To engage students with person centred care
  • To provide thought provoking insight
  • To support awareness and understanding of dementia and show it is possible to live well with dementia
  • Regardless of the student’s chosen field of nursing, caring for adults with dementia is something that all students could encounter be it personally or professionally. Dementia awareness is fundamental in caring for adults in todays society. We are using the play to support this
  • To support outreach work within the church
  • To open up the opportunity for carers to talk more openly about the challenges they are facing. It will be an awareness raising event for those who know people who care
  • To show the importance of making connections and communication
  • Promoting thought about needs in relation to health care settings
  • Enjoyment of training
  • Raise awareness & reduce stigma
  • Engaging with a real life perspective using a different method for teaching health professionals
  • To offer a fresh perspective to the subject area

Testimonials

Christie NHS Foundation Trust – Training conference

  • Superb! A true insight into dementia. Thank you
  • Profoundly moving performance. Accurate representation of the stress it causes carers. Very isolating disease. More help needed for all. Thank you
  • Powerful stuff. Thank you for creating something so common yet significant. Looking forward to the next instalment!
  • A very emotional performance. Really fantastic
  • What an amazing, powerful performance. It felt like I was in the play! Absolutely superb!
  • Have taken away points to help me and my friend look out for signs. Keep up the good work and DON’T STOP! Cheers
  • Thank you so much. I really enjoyed it. A window into a families experience. Keep up the good work
  • WOW!
  • Excellent play, moving, realistic, emotional, powerful, thank you
  • Amazing production of a devastating disease
  • Excellent way of raising awareness.
  • Very powerful which made me think more deeply. Thank you

Feedback Christie

Sheffield Hallam University – student feedback “Many thanks for such a beautifully executed story. The show definitely helped me understand how dementia affects not only the person diagnosed but the family too. This would have helped my family when my grandad had this. Thank you. God bless” “Such a great and meaningful performance. Taught me a lot of things of which I did not know. I will use this knowledge in my future career” “It was always something I wanted to avoid in my career as I would find it too difficult and upsetting to work with. This play has opened my eyes, I know I can’t ignore it an hope in the future I can make positive changes.”

Kingston University – student feedback “Absolutely amazing performance, many  hours of teaching wouldn’t do what this performance did!” “Very emotional. I work for an older people’s team – but you can’t know too much! I will try to be kind and understanding to all families where they are experiencing dementia. Great learning experience.” “Very educational and emotional. It has given me ideas for my assignment.”

Staffordshire University: student feedback “What an insightful, beautiful play. The information given is really helpful, it will help me reassure and care for patients, families and carers in the future” “Fantastic production, insightful. Will help me within my future career. Draws you into their personal journey” “Touched me forever!”

University of Hull: Mark Gretton – lecturer “This is an outstanding play and should be included within the curriculum for the delivery of dementia training ”

UWE – University West of England: Sarah Green “It was a fantastic experience and great value for money”

Huddersfield University: Professor Janet Hargreaves “We were overwhelmed at the feedback” “Our expectations have been surpassed”. Dr Berencie Golding “The evaluations have been outstanding” “The play has created lasting impact”

Kate Mitchell – joint Dementia Programe Manager Cornwall “Fabulous! Excellent actors and puppetry masters. Thought provoking, emotive, sensitive, engaging, humorous bur above all realistic with a positive tone. Personally I think it would be a fabulous training play for everyone who works with people with dementia whether they are volunteers or consultants! I think it’s relevant for all ages. An incredibly powerful play.”

Jo Hague – Outlook SW Lostwitheal Memory Cafe “We were extremely impressed with the production of Grandma Remember Me and could not fault it. As a trainer and advisor to many families who live with the condition of dementia, this play has been extremely well researched. It helps to breakdown the stigma of memory loss and dementia and brings the audience to fully appreciate the positive, but sad times, aspects of living with dementia. It is fabulous for children as it helps bring about awareness and develops their knowledge and understanding”

Jill Greenwood – Actor/Director “I thought it was brilliant, excellent, brave, intensely moving, accurate, humorous and extremely important…It’s a play everyone should see. Two of my grandparents had forms of dementia I wish I’d seen a play like this then.”

Sarah Wilson – Head PSHE Redruth School “I was astounded by how fantastic today was – I wept, I laughed and I reflected on my own personal experiences. I enjoyed every second of it – the realisation that other people go through these things and how hard it can be. I had never thought of it through a young person’s perspective and today was really superb.”

Burnley College – Staff “This production touched my heart. It made me think deeply about relationships with the ones I love. Thank you.”

Burnley College – Student “The realistic experiences throughout the plays left me both amazed and relieved. To know other people experience the sadness and the emptiness of dementia is comforting. Thank you deeply for inspiring and understanding.”

Rose Barnet -FEAST “A powerful evocation of what it means to be diagnosed with dementia …a piece of work with a lot of substance.”

Penryn Primary School – 8 years old “I wish my mum had seen this play maybe then she might have let me see my nan. I also liked it when they tell Lilly about her grandma because nobody told me until I was older that my nan had Alzheimers and she had died.”

Penryn Primary School – Yr 6 Teacher “As I watched the play, I was worried that the children would find it too hard hitting to be accessible But their mature feedback demonstrated that they welcomed the chance to talk about this challenging topic.”

Kate Hort – Liskeard Memory Cafe & Liskeard Dementia Carers GP “A wonderful production. This ought to be required watching for GPs, in fact all health care professionals. It showed very skilfully how the various demeaning illnesses affect various family members”

Janet Brown – Director The Think Tank Life Organisation CIC “An excellent piece of drama, outlining Grandma’s decline into dementia and its effects on the granddaughter and son.”

Colin carbis – The Old Dairy Community Centre “It was fantastic. Deeply moving and so true to life. Brilliantly observed”

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