Pop-up dementia play aims to tackle dementia fear in Stevenage and St Albans

Gaye Poole plays Connie and Amy Enticknap plays her daughter, Emily, in the human interest play Conn

Gaye Poole plays Connie and Amy Enticknap plays her daughter, Emily, in the human interest play Connie's Colander. Picture: Judie Waldmann. - Credit: Archant

A play designed to strip dementia of its fear and help prevent the isolation of sufferers is set to be performed by a pop-up theatre company with a pay-what-you-can policy.

Connie’s Colander, written by Human Story Theatre’s Gaye Poole, goes on national tour next month and is at St Albans Library at 2.30pm on June 6 and Stevenage Central Library at 2pm on June 7.

The aim is to offer support to people who may otherwise suffer in isolation, with a Q&A with a medical or care expert following each performance.

The bitter-sweet play, which has funding from the Arts Council, is about a mother facing dementia with the help of her daughter.

Doctor Marion Lynch, dementia expert and deputy medical director for NHS England South, said: “Connie gives us permission to laugh and cry about our own situation, the roles lost and responsibilities gained when living with dementia, and notice that we are not alone.

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“More of this would lead to a different view on what it is to grow old and care for those who need our help.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, 850,000 people have dementia in the UK. That number is expected to rise to more than one million by 2025 and two million by 2051.

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Sue Williamson, libraries director at Arts Council England, said: “An awful lot of people who are interested or touched by these issues don’t feel safe in a theatre, but they do feel comfortable in their local library.”

Human Story Theatre, run by actors Gaye Poole and Amy Enticknap, focuses on plays with a health and social care issue. Amy said: “Our aim is to be accessible to all. We ‘pop up’ in any designated space with minimal set and operate pay-what-you-can where possible.

“We believe highlighting health and social care issues in our productions is an exciting way to engage, entertain and educate.

“Human Story Theatre partners with communities and groups relevant to the issue being explored in each play.Professionals then come to lead post-show Q&As with the aim of signposting the audience to their local services.”

Other Human Story Theatre performances have included Flat 73 which tackles loneliness and isolation, Happy Ever After about domestic abuse, and The Fourth Dog about the importance of breast checking.

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