The Belgrade Theatre’s Guide to a Dementia Friendly Performance

A dementia friendly performance is a performance
that’s tailored to meet the needs of people living with dementia. So that could be somebody who has a diagnosis
of dementia or the people that are with them, so it could be somebody living with dementia
coming with their family members, or friends, or a companion, or a carer. At the Belgrade we’re committed to make our
performances as open and accessible as possible, and we’re working to become a dementia friendly
venue, and as part of that we’re putting on this dementia friendly performance. When you have dementia or people that have
got a diagnosis of dementia can become quite isolated and we’re doing this to try and ensure
that anyone who loves theatre can still come to the theatre. So people living with dementia could come
with their families and loved ones that may not otherwise want to come to the theatre
if it wasn’t a dementia friendly performance. In order to make the performance dementia
friendly we’ll be making some changes within the theatre. So we will have extra staff and volunteers
on hand all of whom would have had some Dementia Friends Information Training and we will also
have some signage changes, we’re putting up extra signage within the building. And we’re also going to be having a familiarisation
event the week before the dementia friendly performance – so anyone that hasn’t been to
the theatre before or is worried about what the surroundings might be, or, you know, just
getting used to the environment, we will be having a familiarisation event the week before,
so anyone can come along, and see where they will be sitting, get familiar with where the
toilets are, the routes in and out of the theatre, maybe have a go at trying to get
to the theatre for the first time, in a car or on the bus and we’ll have extra staff there
to help you, to help you with anything that you may need. During the actual performance, the sound effects
and the lighting might be slightly less extreme than in a normal performance and people will
be free to go in and out of the theatre. So if somebody is getting anxious or somebody
needs to go to the toilet they don’t have to feel worried about leaving the theatre. The door will be left slightly ajar so people
can find the exit easily in the theatre and they will be able to come and go as they please,
and there will be extra ushers on hand to be able to help people to get in and out of
the theatre safely and comfortably. Although the Saturday matinee is a dementia
friendly performance, that doesn’t exclude anyone else from coming. Anyone can come to the Saturday performance
which is dementia friendly, it’s just that the theatre’s tailoring this specific performance
to be more suitable for people living with dementia.

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