Once Upon a Time - Interactive storytelling for people with dementia

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Spare Tyre is developing a programme of workshops for people with dementia using interactive and multisensory storytelling, called Once Upon a Time.

The new programme takes an innovative and person-centred approach to working with people with dementia. It involves storytelling accompanied by layering touch, sound, taste, light, smell, to create a safe and beautiful environment and a moment of shared joy. Participants take an active part in the sessions, interacting by shining coloured lights, moving to music, and interacting with multimedia projections that respond to clapping and voice.

In 2010, Arti Prashar, Artistic Director of Spare Tyre worked with a group of artists to research and develop ideas, and trialled sessions at Nightingale House, Wandsworth. In the team were interactive media artists Tim Pickup and Nicola Schauerman of Genetic Moo, Designer Alice Theobald and Musician Ben O’Sullivan.

Through using the methods they had developed, the Once Upon a Time team were able to awaken residents at Nightingale House. Unsettled and withdrawn participants became calm and happy. Participants with very limited verbal communication told stories using lights, objects, sounds and words.

Spare Tyre reaches the often forgotten residents – the frailest older people with dementia.
- Alistair Addison, Head of Activities at Nightingale House.

Through Once Upon a Time, Spare Tyre hopes to effect change in the sector that works with people with dementia. Training of staff at the residential homes and centres will be integral to the programme.

It is vital that we continue to engage humanely with people with dementia – accessing their world on their terms and delivering services that are more person centred.
- Arti Prashar, Artistic Director at Spare Tyre.

We are currently offering taster session of Once Upon a Time to residential homes and centres that work with people with dementia. If you are interested in receiving taster sessions read more here, call 020 7061 6454 or email Vicky.