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Norwich Playhouse

A 300 seat riverside theatre in the heart of the city, Norwich Playhouse is a friendly, relaxed and intimate venue developed from a Georgian maltings. As well as being recognised as one of the very best comedy venues in East Anglia we present international music stars, critically acclaimed drama companies and innovative children’s theatre. We are committed to providing high quality performances and practical resources for local communities and to making our work as accessible as possible.

14 March 2018
East of England
Arts, Businesses and shops, Charity, Children Young People and Students, Education Sector, Hospitality, Local DAA Members, Recreation, Voluntary, Voluntary Sector
Local Alliances:
Norwich City 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?

We are aiming to make Norwich Playhouse a supportive and safe environment for people living with dementia, a friendly venue in the local community in which people living with dementia and their carers feel valued and welcome. In order to achieve this we will establish a Dementia Champion role within our organisation to deliver Dementia Awareness training to our staff. We are also planning to offer the opportunity for the general public to attend Dementia Friend sessions here at the venue, to increase understanding and awareness of dementia in the wider community.

We are also endeavouring to work with other organisations and groups to explore opportunities for people living with dementia and their carers to engage with the arts. We are currently undertaking a 2 year project in conjunction with Vamos Theatre which includes bringing an interactive theatre piece into a care home. The project also has at its heart the desire to reach out to carers - health professionals and ‘hidden’ carers looking after loved ones at home - to offer them respite and support, and also to offer the opportunity to develop their skills by offering free workshops in non-verbal communication. 

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

We have a large workforce of paid staff and volunteers who would all contribute to making the Playhouse dementia friendly. To find the opportunity to deliver training to this great number of people working irregular hours will be difficult, but not impossible.

To identify and reach out to ‘hidden’ carers who may not have visited us before to promote our activities will also be difficult.

To sustain the relationships we build during our project work with people living with dementia and their carers will pose a challenge but one we embrace wholeheartedly.

2. Actions

  • Create an inclusive and welcoming environment for people living with dementia and their carers

    Norwich Playhouse will establish a Dementia Friends Champion and deliver the Dementia Friends Info Session to front line staff.

    Being implemented

    2017 - Fourth Quarter Update

    We have recruited a Dementia Champion and have currently delivered training to 43 staff/volunteers

  • Raise dementia awareness in the wider community

    We will organise and promote annual Dementia Awareness training sessions available to our customers and the general public.

    Being implemented

    2017 - Fourth Quarter Update

    We hosted a Dementia Friends Information Session, open to the general public, on Thursday 31 August at 4pm attended by 3 people. We will programme a further session at a different time of day to see if this proves more accessible.

  • Promote awareness of Norwich Playhouse as a dementia friendly venue

    We will work with local organisations such as Age UK Norwich to ensure people with dementia and their families are aware they can visit the theatre, make use of special ticket reductions and approach a member of staff on their visit if they need assistance. 

    Being implemented

    2017 - Fourth Quarter Update

    With the support of Age UK Norwich, Norse Care, Dementia Friendly Communities and local care homes, we promoted a theatre piece at Norwich Playhouse specifically programmed to engage carers of people living with dementia. 166 people booked tickets for the show. We took the opportunity to invite Age UK Norwich to provide a stand after the show, with information regarding the services they provide, alongside Eyebrow Art, a local organisation that devises and delivers art activities for people living with dementia.

    We also used Dementia Awareness Week to promote our outreach activities and proudly display a Dementia Friendly sticker on our front door. 

  • Seek opportunities to work with other organisations

    We look forward to working alongside other members of the Norwich City Dementia Action Alliance to create a dementia friendly city.


    2017 - Fourth Quarter Update

    We are looking forward to meeting with other Alliance members at the Annual Public Meeting in January 2018 and exploring ways in which we can link activites.

  • Seek opportunities to engage people living with dementia and their carers with the arts

    We are currently working on a 2 year project with Vamos Theatre:

    -          to take performances of  ‘Sharing Joy’ into a city centre care home setting. The show is an interactive performance highly suitable for people living with dementia.

    -          to hold workshops for carers that provide skills in non-verbal communication - workshops created in collaboration with theatre practitioners and health professionals.

    -          to present performances of ‘Finding Joy’ – a full mask theatre piece that explores Joy’s experience of her dementia and her relationship with her grandson.

    Being implemented

    2017 - Fourth Quarter Update

    We have successfully completed the first year of this project.

    Marion Road Day Centre hosted the performance of Sharing Joy on Thursday 13 July. It was attended by 14 service users and 15 care/theatre staff with remarkable responses from all who watched it. About Sharing Joy, Susan Ringwood, CEO of Age UK Norwich said, “We were extremely fortunate to have a visit from the Vamos theatre group at our Marion Road Day Centre recently…it was so moving, and truly life affirming. We all had a tear in our eye by the end, and came away literally dancing.”

    We successfully raised funds to provide a free workshop for carers on Thursday 17 August. The session, focusing on non-verbal communication, was attended by 21 people and the feedback was immensely positive. One participant wrote, “A brilliant, innovative and dynamic workshop – helps me to always try and remember to let the person with dementia take the lead where possible – and lots lots more!”

    The performance of Finding Joy took place on Tuesday 26 September at 2pm - a time suggested as most accessible in conversation with care staff. We offered reduced ticket prices for carers and dementia friends in addition to our usual concessions. The number of people who attended, exceeding our expectations, was 166, the vast majority sold at the concessionary rate indicating we had hit our target audience.