Every Third Minute: a festival of theatre, dementia and hope is a unique collaboration between nine Festival Curators – people living with dementia and their supporters – and theatre-makers at Leeds Playhouse.
This ambitious and innovative festival was staged over seven weeks at Leeds Playhouse between 9 February and 31 March 2018. The title of the festival, reflecting that every third minute in the UK, someone will begin living with dementia, was chosen by the Festival Curators. The impact of the Festival Curators in the planning and delivery of the whole project cannot be overstated – it underpinned the entire ethos of the festival, asking the question: ‘what stories would we tell about dementia if people living with dementia were making the decisions?’
Every Third Minute attracted 7500 people to attend events, including a brand new production of Still Alice, guided by activist Wendy Mitchell, who lives with young-onset dementia, and a consultant to the director and acting company. After its Leeds premiere, Still Alice tours the UK in Autumn 2018, bringing a balanced story of living with dementia, informed by lived experience, to an even broader audience.
The festival’s 11 productions (including 4 newly commissioned plays), 4 training programmes and 16 workshops/talks attracted people with dementia and their families and friends, care staff, researchers, artists, policy-makers and a general theatre audience. On an individual level, the festival gave opportunities for people with dementia to laugh together, to share moments of joy and achievement with family members, and to express themselves.
Work with the Festival Curators is ongoing, as the group shares learning from the festival at conferences such as UK Dementia Congress, and weekly meetings are now focused on developing the skills of the Festival Curators to share their creative skills with people living in care homes.
Download the festival brochure here