An immersive journey through memory
Four new, short plays written in collaboration with those living with dementia
There are one hundred trillion synapses in the human brain. Signals that form memories and thoughts move through an individual nerve cell as a tiny electrical charge, and those nerve cells connect to one another at synapses. In the lead up to Dementia Action Week 2019, The Dot Collective transformed the Old Vic Workrooms into an immersive world of memory and experience.
Inspired by workshops with dementia groups during Dementia Action Week in 2018, One Hundred Trillion brought to life their characters and stories through promenade short plays. Audiences were led through the four plays of One Hundred Trillion, set over four different rooms. The Memory Room hosted Frames by Chantelle Dusette, and a 1970's Living Room was home to I Could Have Danced All Night by Margaret Perry. Audiences were led to the Allotment, which hosted Lucy Grace’s Topsoil, and finally the London Bus Garage saw Lily Bevan’s London Bus performed.
“Instead of performances focusing on the devastating impact of dementia I saw snapshots of vivid and invigorating life” Everything Theatre
“These performances raise awareness and increase understanding but they are also life-enhancing theatre.” British Theatre Guide
“A true work of brilliance, sensitively crafted and authentically shown, touching the audience on a human level.” The Spy in the Stalls
"the strength of the production lies in the abilities of the entire ensemble, who come together to produce a performance that is both joyous and meaningful." The Upcoming
WORKSHOPS - THE OLD VIC WORKROOMS
Dementia and school groups from South East London attended the immersive set to take part in intergenerational workshop activities. As well as exploring the sets, the workshops included:
- Dancing and listening to music in the 1970's Living Room
- Learning names of plants and making up flower beds in the Allotment
- Devising their own London Bus Play in the London Bus Garage
- Writing and recording stories about their experience in the Memory Room
“Meeting the people was lovely and it was really nice to hear about their lives. This should be an experience that we can do more often either through acting or just in general life. It was very heartwarming” Lola age 11
“Every person we brought along left with such a good feeling.” Link Age Southwark
The group of year five pupils from a local state school marvelled at the ancient tape recorder, cine camera and the stage bus. The older participants joined in with the acting and gave hands on gardening advice as we planted the props for the allotment scene. The workshop engaged ninety-three to ten year olds in drama, dance and singing - it was magical. We left our older participants smiling and in need of a rest. They all said how much they had enjoyed it and had loved meeting the children." - Dementia peer group volunteer
WORKSHOP TOUR - SUSSEX, DEVON, BRISTOL, LONDON
After the immersive experience in London, elements were taken as a touring workshop to residential care homes, dementia cafes and groups across the South West. During these workshops paticpans created their own bus journey stories, travelling around the world, remembering and singing music, dancing and writing up new stories.
“The Dot Collective were such an inspiration and breath of fresh air to us all. They managed to get everyone involved and we so enjoyed everything they did for us.” Tiverton Memory Cafe
"Mike, the bus driver, really got into the role as he used to be a coach driver. He is usually very quiet at the Café but he really enjoyed reliving his experience. Donald, whose dementia is quite advanced and who finds it hard to engage, wanted a trip to Aberdeenshire where he grew up. When New Zealand was added to the places we were visiting he was very excited and told me that his son had lived and worked there and that he had visited on a number of occasions. It brought back such clear memories for him and he was able to talk to me about them. Singing songs accompanying the places were a lovely touch and really brought everyone together. The bus seats and the ticket machine also prompted lots of memories; for older people in particular buses were a key form of transport for them both as children and adults" Connie Sharp, Alzheimer's Society coordinator Devon