WHAT WE ARE UP TO
Susanna Howard and Oliver Senton of arts and dementia charity Living Words have been chosen to share their pioneering way of working with people living with advanced dementias at the actor Alan Alda’s Centre for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, NewYork. Alda, of MASH fame is well known for his fantastic comedy acting but lesser known for his main passion – telling the world about health and science and how better to communicate it. And that’s why he is hosting this conference and partnering with the Applied Improvisation Network this August. “We’re very excited” Alan Alda
Actors, writers and theatre makers Susanna and Oliver will be presenting alongside East Side Institute in New York, who began internet meetings with Susanna last year. They share a passion and an interest in raising awareness and challenging perceptions of the dementias – a piece about their work was published in the Washington Post. The ESI are excited by Living Words methodology as pioneers in working with people living with advanced dementias, something they do not do.
The conference theme is ‘Communicating Beyond Borders and Barriers: Applications Of Improvisation In Society’. Living Words are thrilled to be attending, and to be starting to spread the word about their work in the USA, but like everything there are some costs: “We are being given accommodation but we need to get ourselves and our work there. Like everywhere this sector is facing terrific cutbacks across the board. This is such a great opportunity for us to share the work we do in the UK with the whole world, as well as learn about what others are doing in the field of arts & science around the globe.” Says Susanna, founder of the charity.
Living Words writers and artists work one-to-one with people in local care homes who are experiencing dementia, feel isolated or disempowered. We then take peoples words out to the public to challenge perceptions around the dementias. We have been doing this work since 2007. “The impact that Living Words has made to both my Father & myself has been immense, the ripples of that influence are reaching out into our immediate friends, family & community members” Jackie Offen
HOW YOU CAN HELP
We need to raise to get to New York to share our work and participate in the conference. We have received £1000 from an anonymous donor and have a theatre event where we hope to make £600 planned in the UK for 11th July. We are asking for donations to raise the remaining amount.
Honey's Happening: Directed by Oliver, the show ‘Honey’s Happening’ a 5 Star reviewed immersive comedy starring actress Fiona Coffey, about a 1960s suburban housewife who has heard about the New York ‘happenings’ and is determined to create one of her own, in a quest to bring about world peace! We have received support from our local arts partner Folkestone Quarterhouse to put the intimate play on at no cost to us. The show received 4 and 5 star reviews across the board when it premiered at the Edinburgh Festival last year. If you would like to come along, you can book tickets, here.
WHY WE ARE GOING
The intention is that our trip to New York offers us opportunities to start sharing our methodology and training artists in the USA and beyond, so that more and more people will be positively impacted by our work. We would also like to return with some new partnerships and ways of working, that support our organisational strategy and sustainability plans for 2020 and beyond, including influencing policy.
Oliver and Susanna will present a Facebook Live / webinar about the conference, sharing our work and findings. We are very happy to communicate with and support any of our donors who may need help in communicating with a loved one who is living with advanced dementia.
Contact Susanna or Charlotte at Living Words for any more info: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com/ 07967502506
For most up to date info about Living Words - see our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/livingwords.org.uk or you can visit our website.
The words of participant John Offen :
I can’t isolate myself
I just feel like a star / cloud
Within the walls of solitude
Funny old world, innit
I must go and leave my thoughts
In the clouds
Within the universe.
Must go where I know not
Scooby, Scooby Doo