A nurse from Gloucestershire has created and written a play about dementia which is being performed at a Tewkesbury theatre next month.
Mary Keating, Community and Service Development Lead, Dementia and Education Training Team, ²gether NHS Foundation Trust, has dedicated much of her career to working with older people, particularly those with dementia.
She has created and written ‘Al’s Yellow Slipper’, an educational intergenerational community play, which will be performed by Tewkesbury School and the Tewkesbury Community Groups at the Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, on Saturday 12 March.
The play tells the story of Al, a 70-year-old gentleman who receive a diagnosis of dementia. Following this, it then explores how he adjusts and changes as he grapples with dementia, and how his relationships with family, friends and his community are severely tested. The play attempts an honest portrayal of explaining the darker side of dementia, while at the same time using gentle humour and conveying hope.
The children from Tewkesbury School have been encouraged to be innovative and creative with the script, under the supervision of Miss Nicola Rope and Mr James Anthlett, Head of Drama, where they have been able to produce a remarkable piece of work.
Mary said: “I wrote this play to demonstrate the Prime Minister’s top five challenges on dementia 2020. As well as raising awareness of dementia and tackling the discrimination against people within our communities who have dementia, the play can also be used as an educational resource.
“I wanted to share a message that dementia is not something experienced in isolation, but very much a community, county, and national experience.
“There are believed to be just under nine thousand people in Gloucestershire living with dementia or memory difficulties, with thousands of people who support them and that includes family members, friends, neighbours and the wider community. Many of these people do not know where to go to find out relevant information, to understand the impact of dementia on the person, or how to approach the person. The play tries to address some of these questions.”
The play has been sponsored by the Barnwood Trust, Severn Vale Housing, Gloucestershire CCG , and Gloucestershire County Council.
There will be two performances of ‘Al’s Yellow Slipper’: a matinee at 2.30pm and an evening show at 7pm. You can buy tickets here: http://www.rosestheatre.org/events/entry/als-yellow-slipper
Mary has worked for the mental health services in Gloucester for more than 27 years, predominantly working with older people and, in particular, people with dementia. She has been relentless in her work to improve the quality of life for people with dementia. As well as her work for the trust, she has also published articles in the UK and abroad on dementia leadership, and has spoken at conferences on specialism and leadership in dementia.
She has been very interested in developing the community model, where people can gain a greater confidence in supporting other people to live their lives with dementia, and the production of ‘Al’s Yellow Slipper’ is part of a dementia-friendly community model which Tewkesbury is working to deliver.
Please note, the play is not suitable for children under 12 years’ old and, due to the nature of one or two scenes, may not be suitable for people who have been diagnosed with dementia.