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Glyndŵr University theatre students produce ‘Open Voices’ stage production to raise awareness of dementia

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15 May 2013

Theatre, television and performance students are helping to raise awareness of dementia through a stage production based on their interviews with carers and people living with dementia.

Performances of the show, called ‘Open Voices’, will run on Wednesday 22, Thursday 23 and Friday 24 May, after the university teamed up with the Alzheimer’s Society in Wrexham to encourage people to get talking about dementia this Dementia Awareness Week ™ (19 – 25 May 2013).

The final year theatre, television and performance students will be holding two performances each day at 1.30pm and 7.30pm of a stage production based on the subject of dementia.

It was written by the students themselves, and will be performed at the Catrin Finch Centre, Glyndŵr University.

Between performances on Wednesday 22 May there will be a tea party held between the matinee and evening performances.

Elen Mai Nefydd, senior lecturer in theatre and performance at Glyndŵr University, is directing the play.

She said: "The challenge throughout has been balancing that fine line between respecting the seriousness of the condition while conveying the message that people can live happy and fulfilling lives with dementia.

"We don’t want people to shy away from the performance as we’ve been aiming to create a good, positive message and we hope that this is the feeling that audiences go away with after watching the play."

Sara Hughes, one of the theatre, television and performance students at Glyndŵr University who has worked on the play, said: ‘Through verbatim, we are acting as the voice of the carers and people living with dementia.

"We have been working very closely with staff at Alzheimer’s Society who provide support for people who have dementia and their families. We have been able to consult them about various statistics and different aspects of the disease and they have also provided us with a lot of literature.

"As a group, the main objective we would like to achieve is to raise awareness of dementia and to educate people about what help and support is available to them. We want the audience to realise how important it is to not dismiss dementia."

Jacky Baldini, locality manager for Alzheimer’s Society said: "As the population ages, we all face the risk of one day developing dementia. The more we know about the condition, the more prepared we’ll be to face it.

"The students have put a lot of effort into researching dementia for their performances and we hope this event will raise awareness of the condition. This event is a great opportunity to find out more, talk to us, and join the conversation that everyone’s talking about."

Performances of ‘Open Voices’ will take place at 1.30pm and 7.30pm across the three days with all performances taking place in the Catrin Finch Centre. The price of tickets will be £5 for Adults and £4 for students and concessions.

People interested in booking tickets or wanting further information should contact Elen Mai Nefydd on 01978 293409 or call the Box Office on 01978 293293.

Information can also be found at twitter.com/OpenVoicesUK and facebook.com/OpenVoicesUK.

Alzheimer’s Society in Wrexham has a range of services which support people with dementia and their carers. These include Singing for the Brain, a dementia support worker, and a Dementia Café in Penley. For details contact 01978 364 859 or email wrexham@alzheimers.org.uk.

Alzheimer’s Society is also hoping that local businesses and individuals will hold their own fundraising events between 19 – 25 May 2013 to raise valuable funds for people with dementia and their carer’s. There are as many as over 800,000 people in the UK with dementia and as many as 44,598 in Wales.

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