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Unique play booked for library

Actors will bring a story about a woman’s life with a serious medical condition to a new audience in Bognor Regis.


Human Story Theatre Company will be performing its critically-acclaimed play about dementia to the town’s library.


The performance of Connie’s Colandar at the library, in London Road, will take place at 2pm on May 24 during the national dementia action week.


It will be followed by a Q & A session with a medical or care expert about the issues that have been covered.


Dr Marion Lynch, the dementia expert and deputy medical director for NHS England South, said the play had a valuable role in enabling dementia to be discussed.


“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,” she said.


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


Connie’s Colander was written by Human Story Theatre’s Gaye Poole and is being staged in libraries and community spaces around England in the next two months.


Connie is a retired domestic science teacher. Her daughter, Emily, is enjoying hosting her first TV cookery show, Connie’s Colander, bringing her mother’s onscreen and up to date.


The hour-long play traces the evolving relationship throughout their lives, and the impact of Connie’s Alzheimer’s.


It tackles the issue of whether their relationship and the TV show can survive the condition.


After the play, the actors facilitate a 20-minute Q & A session with guest specialists, offering information and stories of living well with dementia, and encourage the audience to share their own experiences.


Arts Council England’s libraries director, Sue Williamson, 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.”


Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK, according to the Alzheimer’s Society. The number is expected to rise to more than one million by 2025 and two million by 2051.


The charity estimates 225,000 people will develop dementia this year alone.


Gaye runs Human Story New Theatre with Amy Enticknap. They focus on plays with a health and social care issue at heart.


“Our aim is to be accessible to all,” said Gaye. “We ‘pop up’ in any designated space with minimal set, giving a shared-light, shared-space experience.


“We also operate a pay what you can policy where possible.


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


“Human Story Theatre partners with local communities and groups relevant to the issue being explored in each play.”


Other Human Story Theatre library and community space performances have included Flat 73, tackling loneliness and isolation, and the importance of breast checking in The Fourth Dog.

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