Storybox was our ground breaking project designed for people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. In 2012 we received funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to develop and deliver creative storytelling workshops in a variety of settings over the next three years. Workshops took place in local communities such as day centres, sheltered accommodation schemes and hospital day units during a ten week period with two professional facilitators delivering weekly sessions and provide staff training.
Storybox sessions were designed around a different theme each week using a variety of music, props and costume. We made sensory and fun experiences where games were played and stories were made up to encourage togetherness, improve concentration and lift mood. The emphasis of the sessions was on the present. Whilst naturally the stimulus evokes memories and there is space to share these: Storybox was not a reminiscence project. Working with personal memories can be frustrating or confusing to people with dementia, so the sessions were designed to be a celebration of the moment. This has a fun, freeing effect on the participants where there is no right and wrong, and each participant is made to feel valued and valid.
Central to the Storybox philosophy is the belief that creative participation can improve wellbeing and reduce social isolation for people with dementia. The belief that creativity can be incorporated into the day-to-day care of older people and that everyone should have the opportunity to try new things and be culturally active throughout their lives. The Library Theatre Company is committed to promoting positive images of ageing and demonstrate the scope of possibilities for working with older people.
Leaving a legacy of practical activities, creative ideas and a person-centred approach is an essential part of the project.
And why not take a look at our short video that captures the fun and magic of the project…
In March 2013 the Library Theatre Company and University of Manchester held a seminar Ageing, Dementia, Creativity and Storytelling. This popular event was a half day seminar investigating the way that arts and creative activity can be used to engage people with dementia and improve their health and wellbeing. You can read the presentations by Lowri Evans and Sara Cocker from Storybox, Sherry de Wynter from Valuing Older People, Alice Thwaite from Equal Arts and Bethan Harries from The University of Manchester here. This is part of an ongoing collaboration with MICRA, an interdisciplinary research network on ageing at The University of Manchester.
Storybox is now delivered by Small Things