Special performance of Lear/Cordelia at Derby Theatre

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1623 is inviting people living with dementia, their carers, families and friends to a dementia-friendly performance of Lear/Cordelia and to take part in workshops based on the production.

Before the 2pm performance at Derby Theatre Studio on Saturday, November 19, audience members will have the opportunity to meet the cast and explore the set.

Auditorium doors will be open, houselights will be on and sound levels reduced throughout the performance. The cast and creative team will be around after for a brief chat after the show.

Lear/Cordelia is a double-bill of Shakespeare and new writing that explores how dementia impacts on family life today. The first play is a radical reworking of King Lear and the second piece is a new play from the perspective of Lear’s youngest daughter.

Both halves of the double-bill are inspired by the findings of our extensive research project that explored King Lear in the context of dementia through participatory activities in care homes.

1623 artistic director Ben Spiller said: “Lear/Cordelia has been created by, with and for people whose lives are affected by dementia. It brings to light questions about who should care for our loved ones and what our responsibilities are.

“About 400 years ago, Shakespeare wrote a play about a man with dementia. Attitudes and care strategies have changed since then, so we’re reworking and responding to his play to reflect and question the world in which we live right now.”

Alongside Lear/Cordelia, 1623 is running workshops in care homes and hospital wards. These are based on Lear’s memory box, a prop full of evocative objects that feature in the first half of the double-bill.

1623 participation coordinator Shane Lynch explained: “Together, we’ll open up the box and use the sensory objects inside to tell the story of Lear and his daughters, before shaping new stories inspired by the objects.

“We’ll do this through music, song, movement and words in response to the objects. All activities will be interactive for those who wish to take part.

“The workshops are designed to evoke memories and stimulate imagination in a fun and creative way for all participants in a safe and social environment.”

Tickets for the dementia-friendly performance of Lear/Cordelia are available from Derby Theatre box office on 01332 593939 and online at derbytheatre.co.uk. To find out more, visit 1623theatre.co.uk/learcordelia.

Lear’s Memory Box workshops are available to book now with Shane on 01332 285434 or shane.lynch@1623theatre.co.uk. More details are at 1623theatre.co.uk/participation.

The production is at Derby Theatre on November 18-19.

Photo by Robert Day