Canoe Theatre, in partnership with the Ffwrnes, present This Incredible Life, a warm-hearted comedy about memory by Bruntwood Prize winning Welsh playwright Alan Harris, directed by Julia Thomas, at the Fwrnes, Llanelli, on Fri 24 – Sun 26 June. The run includes a Dementia Awareness Day on Fri 24 June, which will feature a dementia friendly performance of the play, as well as free workshops and refreshments, supported by the Alzheimer’s Society.
This Incredible Life tells the story of retired journalist Nin and her granddaughter Catherine. As they spend time together, revisiting old memories, events from Nin’s past blend with the fantastical stories she told Catherine as a child, and it becomes increasingly difficult to separate truth from fiction.
Current research shows that less than 50% of those living with dementia in Wales have received a formal diagnosis. In order to combat this, the Welsh Government has made provision for dementia training and awareness a priority. Taking the theme of memory from the play, Canoe Theatre are working with the Alzheimer’s Society and the Ffwrnes to host a Dementia Awareness Day on Fri 24 June. The day will feature free Dementia Friends training for local businesses, a Singing for the Brain workshop and lunch, followed by a Dementia Friendly performance of This Incredible Life tailored to meet the specific needs of people living with dementia. This will feature adaptations to the show, clearer visual markers and signage in the physical environment and a relaxed attitude to movement and audience responses during the show.
The Ffwrnes are committed to becoming a certified Dementia Friendly venue and theatre staff have been taking part in Dementia Friends training and have recruited a team of young volunteers, who are being trained to support the Dementia Awareness Day.
‘We are very excited about working on this co-production with Canoe Theatre and The Alzheimer’s Society’ says theatre management. The Theatre is committed to becoming a Dementia Friendly venue so staff are training to become more aware of our audiences needs which is a commitment from the theatre so that more events and performances in the future are dementia friendly. ‘This is the first time that the Ffwrnes will providing this style of performance with the auditorium being well lit, hot drinks and ice cream being provided throughout the performance as well as members of the audience will be assisted by young volunteers before, during and after the performance says Eleanor Shaw, Dementia Friends Day facilitator. ‘It’s very important to us that we make this day a special day for all’ adds Carwyn Matera-Rogers, Theatre Manager.
Canoe Theatre was formed in 2014 by Julia Thomas and Megan Price, both alumni of Llanelli Youth Theatre. Julia was born in Llanelli and attended St John Lloyd, before studying acting at London’s Drama Centre. Since moving into directing, she has returned to direct at Llanelli Youth Theatre, as well as working with National Theatre Wales, as Associate Director on Illiad at the Ffwrnes, the National Theatre Studio and The Curve, Leicester, where she is currently Resident Director under the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme. Canoe Theatre’s first production was blue/orange by Joe Penhall at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff. Julia said:
“It’s exciting to be bringing a play from one of Wales’ leading playwrights to my hometown of Llanelli and to be working with Ffwrnes to make the theatre dementia friendly. This is such a vital part of making theatre accessible to all. I’m so happy to be doing this in a town that means so much to me.”
Welsh Playwright Alan Harris recently won the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, the UK’s biggest playwriting competition, for his play How My Life is Spent. Alan is currently under commission by Paines Plough, Manchester Royal Exchange and The New York Musical Theatre Festival and his work has been performed at the National Theatres of Japan and Wales, and at festivals in Atlanta and Washington DC.
Friday 24th June at 1.30pm Dementia Friendly
(A buffet lunch, hot drinks and Ice cream are included for this performance).
Friday 24th June 7.30pm
Saturday 25th June 7.30pm
Sunday 26th June 3pm
30 Companion tickets available for the Dementia Friendly Performance
0845 2263510 | www.theatrausirgar.co.uk
Ffwrnes, Park Street, Llanelli, SA15 3YE