Two masked actors dancing.

Sharing joy with people living with dementia

Posted on 19 January 2017

For people living with Dementia, daily life can become increasingly isolated. But we believe everyone should have the chance to benefit from the enjoyment and happiness art and culture can bring. That's why we’re supporting Vamos Theatre’s new plans.

Two masked actors dancing.
Finding Joy by Vamos Theatre. Image © Vamos Theatre / alienpen

Sharing joy

Worcester-based theatre company Vamos has created two plays about people living with Dementia.

In its award-winning show Finding Joy, Vamos tell the true story of Joy and her grandson Danny. When Danny decides to take care of Joy, the play explores how her memory loss begins to impact on their lives.  

Sharing Joy is an interactive show created especially for people living with Dementia and their carers. Using dance, music and dash of nostalgia, the play encourages those watching to celebrate life.

To make sure people living with Dementia continue to have opportunities to enjoy the arts in the places they live, our funding from the National Lottery is helping Vamos take these plays on tour not just to theatres but to care homes and hospitals.

In an ageing society…the health and well-being of those who care for, work with, and live with dementia, is of paramount importance. Rachel Savage, Director, Vamos Theatre

Two masked actors holding a baby sit on the floor eating a picnic.
Finding Joy by Vamos Theatre. Image © Graeme Braidwood. 

Listening with your eyes

By taking shows into residential homes and hospitals as well as theatres and arts centres, Vamos want to help share the joy which art and culture can bring with people who can so often become cut off from the things they used to love.

But with one in six people over the age of 80 in England now living with Dementia, Vamos also want to help others to better understand how to help improve their quality of life.

As Dementia progresses non-verbal communication becomes more and more important.

Using masks and body language, Vamos creates plays that draw you into wordless worlds where you listen with your eyes and begin to see the things around you in a new way.

A masked actress pulls on a pink coat. Two masked actors dressed as children peak out from behind her.
Finding Joy by Vamos Theatre.  Image © Graeme Braidwood. 

Over the next two years, Vamos will use these techniques as part of workshops for the carers and health professionals looking after people in the homes and hospitals they visit.

The workshops will explore the impact of eye-contact, touch, and gesture, and show how tone of voice, pitch, pace, pauses, and emphasis can change the meaning of the words we say.

Using masks, people taking part will discover how the angle of a face or a gesture can speak loudly, without saying a single word.

We know art and culture can have a powerful impact on people’s quality of life which is why we’re supporting Vamos. Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England

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