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Progress Theatre

Progress Theatre is a self-governing, self-funding theatre group founded in 1946 and maintained by volunteers. As a registered charity we are committed to promoting education in the performing arts as well as producing a programme of varied, interesting and challenging drama to the highest standard. Our intimate 96 seat venue has a fully licensed bar and is the oldest producing theatre in Reading. There is wheelchair access to the Theatre with a seat for disabled patrons and their carer, as well as a recently-installed hearing loop. Progress has a thriving Youth Theatre and a Writers' Group. Progress Theatre enjoys good relations with Jazz in Reading, and Reading Borough Council. We produce the Reading Open Air Shakespeare annually in Caversham Court Gardens. We are members of the Little Theatre Guild (LTG) and the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) and we are a registered in England as a charity (no. 205440).

18 April 2019
South East
Arts, Voluntary Sector
Local Alliances:
Reading Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

At a local level, Progress will support people, along with their carers, by:

Providing a supportive environment in which to experience the arts, via reasonable improvements to the building and awareness training of volunteers (Outcome 6)Engaging with and enabling them to contribute to artistic outcomes, ensuring they feel listened to and valued, via a programme of outreach work (Outcomes 5 and 6)Introducing them to new people within a safe environment (outcome 6)

Progress will share the outcomes of its work, its successes and learnings with other arts organisations:

Locally, by promoting the work through local media contacts and sharing best practice through existing connections with other local theatres and community groups.Nationally, via the Little Theatre Guild (LTG) network and National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA).    

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

Ensuring the organisation successfully enhances its understanding of dementia through achieving an optimal level of training Encouraging volunteers to give up their time to be trainedEnsuring enough volunteers are trained to enable coverage on our FoH rotasHaving a large enough pool of vlunteers to deliver outreach on a regular basisFinding the capacity to meet demand for outreach activities, without having a dedicated resource available full time or during weekdaysEnsuring reasonable adjustments are considered as part of maintenance improvements, and budgeted accordingly

2. Actions

  • Outreach project - taking theatre to the dementia community

    Arrange for continuation of our piloted outreach project, working with local residential homes to create theatre based on the memories and lives of residents with dementia.

    Apply for funding for a paid member of staff to work as our outreach coordinator. This person would be trained as a Dementia Friend, and would help cascade this training to other volunteers.

    Create a pool of volunteers willing to work on the outreach project.  Offer them in dementia awareness training as required.

    Being implemented

    2015 - Third Quarter Update

    Outreach Manager appointed.

    3 care homes have registered to take part in the project.

    All volunteers on the project have become Dementia Friends.

    The project has launched at Lakeside Care Home.

    2015 - Second Quarter Update

    Funding has been secured from the Earley Charity. 

    Recruitment for the Outreach Manager post is underway.

  • Dementia Awareness Training of volunteers

    Ensuring volunteers receive dementia awareness training to enable us to staff Front of House rotas with trained volunteers.

    Initially we will look to volunteers who act as FoH managers to attend training.

    Being implemented

    2015 - Second Quarter Update

    Appointment of an Outreach Manager who was already volunteering as a Dementia Friends Champion.

    2 Dementia Friends sessions have been run so far, with a total of 9 of Progress' volunteers becoming Dementia Friends

  • Building a dementia friendly theatre - considering building updates and improvements

    When building maintenance improvements and updates are scheduled, review to ensure any reasonable adjustments which could be made to accommodate patrons with dementia are considered.