What About Me? New Writing North presents a discussion about dementia, combining arts and science
For the last six months, New Writing North has been working in partnership with The Changing Age team at Newcastle University, Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK Newcastle to better understand the science and the experience of living with dementia.
Funded through Science City and ERDF, this project brings together the arts and literature, the science community and dementia care specialists to raise public awareness of living with dementia.
We commissioned three writers each with experience of dementia – Fiona Evans, Romi Jones, and Rebecca Jenkins – and asked them to work alongside people diagnosed with dementia and their carers, providing creative opportunities for them to share their own thoughts and feelings honestly and with dignity. This has informed the play Geordie Sinatra by Fiona Evans, inspired a series of flash-fiction postcards by Romi Jones with images by photographer Keith Pattison, and an animation short written by Rebecca Jenkins, along with a series of writer blogs that you can read at http://nwncommunities.wordpress.com.
The Changing Age team at Newcastle University have also worked with us to facilitate a unique series of events where writers meet the scientists, providing an insight into the work and lives of people active in leading edge biomedical and clinical research as well as the world of business and ageing.
Following this unique project we are pleased to be hosting a very special pre-show talk:
What About Me?
A conversation between arts & science about dementia
Live Theatre, Newcastle: Wednesday 25 April, 5pm
Before the night’s performance of Geordie Sinatra, join playwright Fiona Evans, along with fellow writers Rebecca Jenkins, Romi Jones, and guest writer Valerie Laws, to discuss their exploration into the social, ethical and medical issues of dementia with Newcastle University’s Changing Age scientists and clinicians Professor Jim Edwardson, Professor Elaine Perry and Professor Elizabeta Mukaetova-Ladinska.
Admission free but booking required
For more information and to booking info, see www.live.org.uk or call 0191 232 1232
Geordie Sinatra by Fiona Evans
Live Theatre, Newcastle: Wednesday 18 April to Saturday 12 May
A new play presented by Live Theatre & Stephen Joseph Theatre in association with New Writing North
‘That’s life, that’s what all the people say; you’re riding high in April, shot down in May…’ Welcome to the coolest party in town. Kick back, snap a Dunhill, help yourself to the liquor cart and let Frank ‘The Voice’ Sinatra serenade you till the wee small hours.
That’s what’s going on in ex-club singer Geordie’s head anyway. His dementia-induced hallucinations are causing his daughter Nancy major headaches that make her wonder what would Ava Gardner do?
Geordie Sinatra is a dark comedy that gets under the skin of dementia.
Tickets: £10-£18. Tickets must be booked on 0191 232 1232 or online at www.live.org.uk.
About the writers
Fiona Evans’ play Geordie Sinatra was borne out of her research into dementia and its effects on the sufferer as well as his or her loved ones. Fiona is a playwright (Scarborough; Geoff Dead: Disco for Sale) and screenwriter (EastEnders, Holby City) from Sunderland.
Romi Jones has used her skills as a writer of fiction with her experience of creative ways of working with Age UK and older people for over a decade. Romi has recently completed a novel that explores the effect of dementia on the individual and the family.
Rebecca Jenkins has worked with an animator to create a short film about how the label dementia impacts upon our humanity and the ways in which we communicate with each other. The animation will be distributed across the project partners and will be on our website at the end of April.
Valerie Laws is a poet, playwright, novelist, mathematician and sci-art specialist. She brings a unique perspective to the debate following her writing residencies at a London pathology museum, and at Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Health.
About the scientists
Professor Jim Edwardson was founding director of the Institute for Ageing and Health (1995-2006) and director of the MRC Neurochemical Pathology Unit. He is an honorary vice president of the Alzheimer’s Society with long-standing research interests in this and related disorders.
Professor Elaine Perry is a neuroscientist who has pursued a range of research activities focused on disorders of the human brain, pathological mechanisms and potential therapies.
Elizabeta Mukaetova-Ladinska is a senior lecturer in old age psychiatry at the Institute for Ageing and Health, and honorary consultant in old age psychiatry at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.
This work is a unique collaboration of the arts, science and local communities and is supported by Newcastle Science City and ERDF.