University of Huddersfield makes raising awareness of dementia a priority

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grandma remember me - puppetry2.jpg-orig grandma-play.jpg-orig GRM-Poster.gif-origAz2B Theatre Company returns to the University of Huddersfield with the highly-acclaimed play Grandma Remember Me

The need to raise awareness on the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is now more important than ever with an increasing number of families dealing with the traumatic implications of the disease due to the number of sufferers rising year-on-year.

Recognising the need for public awareness on Alzheimer’s disease, the University of Huddersfield’s School of Human and Health Sciences, in collaboration with Kirklees Council and Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, are hosting two performances of Grandma Remember Me – written and produced by the innovative touring Az2B Theatre Company – which is returning on Friday 10 October after the highly-acclaimed success of the performances last year.

Grandma Remember Me is written from the point of view of a young child whose grandma develops Alzheimer’s. It explores their changing relationship, from the girl’s initial recognition that there is something wrong with her grandma, through the unfolding challenges and final acceptance and understanding of the disease.

Positive message

Belinda Lazenby, Artistic Director of the Cornwall-based Az2B Theatre Company, wrote and produced the play from her own true-life experience of growing up with her grandma who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

Despite its subject matter, the play has a positive message, says Belinda: “The play raises awareness and understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, supports early intervention and diagnosis and shows it is possible to ‘live well’ with dementia.”

The play runs for 55 minutes and is a mix of puppetry, drama and storytelling. A question-and-answer session follows the performance.

Professor Janet Hargreaves, who is Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching, in the University’s School of Human and Health Sciences, was keen to back the performances of Grandma Remember Me, especially as dementia care is embedded in the curriculum for both health and social care students at the University.

“Having a free event where the public and professionals can share experiences and learn about dementia is something the School, Council and local NHS are keen to promote,” declared Professor Hargreaves.

“A play that speaks to people’s hearts and envisions what it is like for an ordinary family dealing with Alzheimer’s, is a positive way of raising awareness, which may be more effective that just written material, explains Professor Hargreaves.

“The idea of having public events, which aren’t just about an academic talking about their research in technical terms, but are about bringing different mediums and perspectives to an audience, is something we are excited about at the University of Huddersfield, ” says Professor Hargreaves.

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