Let’s Get Together & Feel Alright
Anyone who has been in the theatre foyer over the last five weeks will not have failed to notice the positive impact of our sell-out production One Love: The Bob Marley Musical. Audiences have left smiling and uplifted : “Haven't cried in 10 years, haven't danced in 5 – I done both tonight….Beyond incredible … It was totally joyous !”
It is a vibe we have been able to extend beyond our theatre into our local communities. Thanks to the generous grants of six Birmingham-based charitable trusts and foundations, our Learning and Participation team have been working with 30 Afro Caribbean elders at risk of dementia to explore the power of music to unlock memory.
Dementia is rapidly becoming the health and social care challenge of the 21st Century. There are estimated to be around 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK, and in Birmingham alone there are 6692 people listed on the dementia register. The power of music, especially singing to unlock memories and kickstart the grey matter is an increasingly key feature of dementia care : It seems to reach parts of the damaged brain in ways other forms of communication cannot.
Working with the West Bromwich Afro Caribbean Resource Centre and the Pannel Croft Residential Village, our experienced L&P practitioners have used Bob Marley's iconic songs to act as a springboard for participants to explore shared and personal memories, experiences and feelings. One lady recalled that she had actually played on the street with Bob Marley, back in Jamaica.
On Thursday 13th April, all the participants came to see a matinee performance. Afterwards they met the cast and were able to share their own recollections of Bob, the era and the music.
One elder said "We have had a lovely afternoon, and been totally spoilt. Thank you to The REP and donors for this happy time - If it hadn't been for my old knees, I would have been up jammin' with the rest of them".
Daniel Tyler, The REP's Head of Education who led on this project said “We are delighted with our initial success. Over the next few months, we will be extending our work to include more elders within Birmingham's diverse communities and especially those living with or at risk of dementia. Already the impact of this pilot project has been hugely positive and encouraging; we hope to build more opportunities like this.”
As a registered charity, Birmingham Repertory Theatre is fully committed to using the gift of theatre to make a positive and meaningful difference in the lives of the many communities we serve. Like Bob Marley, we aim to bring people “together and feel alright.”
We are extremely grateful for all the philanthropic donations we receive, and in particular the following trusts who have funded this project:
George Fentham Birmingham Charity, GJW Turner Trust, The George Henry Collins Charity, The Grimmitt Trust, Grimley Charity and Henry James Sayer Charity.
If you would like to know more about our outreach activity or ways to support, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call our fundraising team on 0121 245 2162.