The Songbirds The Songbirds is an innovative new piece of theatre, produced by An Grianán Theatre, and made in association with the Ulster University School of Nursing and Dementia Northern Ireland. It’s a play about dementia, but not really, it’s more a play about memory and life, and how one family finds a way to navigate a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Based on extensive research by the University, face to face interviews with Dementia Dyads (person with dementia and their primary carer) and contributions and suggestions from people living with dementia, the play explores the issues surrounding the disease, the diagnosis and one family’s journey through it all. It’s a play filled with humour, music, dancing and love. The piece is a two hander, performed by Donegal actors Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhridge and Valerie Bryce, and was written and directed by Guy Le Jeune, whose practice is in the area of reminiscence theatre and theatre from memory. It has already received remarkable audience feedback from student nurses, junior doctors, consultant psychiatrists, secondary school students and from people living with dementia themselves.
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“This play really touched me and really extended my knowledge in regards to dementia. It illustrated dementia in a light-hearted, emotional and realistic way; we witnessed tears and laughter. My granny has recently been diagnosed with dementia which has been hard for both me and my family to get used to but this play has honestly helped me to gain an insight into how my granny must feel, therefore my patience will be much better from now on.”
“Thank you so much for allowing us to see your play. It really opened my eyes to Alzheimer’s and dementia. I never knew how much it can impact on a family/relationship. This really moved me. Preconception of preferred music for people dementia/Alzheimer’s. It was quite enjoyable to see Gerry being so endearing but also showing his vulnerability, despite how much he loved his life.”
“A captivating, emotive play. The actors really captured their characters and drew us into their lives – the highs + lows. A fantastic piece of art that needs to be seen far and wide. Magnificent!”
“Thank you so much, it was beautiful, sad and joyous, celebratory, despairing at times and a super depiction of how it is to live with dementia. It also gave a very informative view of carers and their struggles and joys and how carer fatigue is a risk.