We have created theatre with people at the very end of their lives, through Stories to Leave, a partnership with Marie Curie Hospice. We travelled to Ireland with a deeply moving autobiographical show A Story To Call My Own created with three older performers. With the support of Veterans NHS Wales and Combat Stress, we created Abandoned Brothers, a critically acclaimed production with military veterans and their families exploring their experience of living with Post-traumatic stress disorder. We created Age, a heart-breaking and hilarious exploration of what it’s like to grow old in 2013. In 2014, we created two very different theatre experiences exploring the complex and timely issue of dementia. Belonging was written by Co-Director Karin Diamond after months of research with families and professionals living and working with dementia and its pilot performances received an exceptional response. Memoria, performed by people living with dementia, carers and family members gave sell out performances at Chapter. In a key development for 2014, all three performances of Memoria were live streamed to an international audience, gathering over 4000 views across 12 countries.
Alongside our productions, we have developed a stimulating programme of life story work at our base at Chapter and out in the community, bringing life story work and creativity into residential care settings and bringing isolated older people and people affected by mental health into Chapter.
There is strong public demand for our work, with theatre performances at Chapter, selling out quickly and touring audiences growing. Audience feedback continues to be exciting and encouraging, as does the range of audience members. We regularly have an audience with an age range of 10-91. Our strong partnerships with health and social care organisations enable us to bring in new audience members who would have not in the past seen theatre as being for them.
Having produced and managed nine projects, Re-Live is emerging as a leader in the field of Arts and Wellbeing. Our reputation and reach has expanded and our work is recognised within a growing and influential international network of arts practice and research.
In 2010, in partnership with Chapter, Re-Live was the only company in Wales to receive 3 year core funding from The Baring Foundation’s Arts and Older People programme. Re-Live has secured project funding from Arts Council Wales every year since 2007. Other funders include Wales Arts International, Arts and Business Cymru, Gwanwyn, Age Cymru and Legal and General.
Also in 2010, Karin was awarded the highly prestigious Winston Churchill travel fellowship to research ‘Theatre with Older People’ in Japan and work alongside Dr Yukimi Uchide - a leader in the field of creative and reciprocal approaches to dementia care. This ground-breaking research continues to influence and inspire Re-Live’s theatre work with people living with dementia as well as our training programme.
In 2013 Alison received a ‘Creative Wales Award’ from The Arts Council of Wales to explore “Transformation in Arts and Health: Stories that Change”. This enabled her to connect with international experts in Australia and Ireland and explore how our work sits in the global landscape of arts and wellbeing.
Our theatre work has been nominated twice for the Theatre Critics of Wales Awards for the Young Critics Award (Abandoned Brothers, 2012) and Best Ensemble (Age, 2013).
In 2012 we designed and delivered a pilot experiential training programme of Life Story Work to pass on some of our learning to other professionals working with older people and in dementia care. The demand for this training has grown over the last three years, and has seen us securing contracts with local authorities across Wales and in England. We have trained over 1500 professionals from a range of health, social care and arts backgrounds. Our own evaluations and feedback back up the wider research findings that an experiential approach can bring about deeper change and growth than more traditional training methods. We see this element of our work as a key component in our contribution to the change that needs to happen in dementia care and older people’s services.