Grandma remember me?
Written from the perspective of
a young child, Lilly,
whose Grandma develops Alzheimer’s.
We were lucky in our family to have a Grandma who was fun and great to be with. She always had stories to tell and had a never ending supply of Rowntree Mackintosh chocolates in a bowl on the sideboard. I don’t remember her ever shouting yet she managed to control us even with all our fights, squabbles and general rowdy behaviour. We loved her to bits.
Then she started to change and we didn’t know why. She kept forgetting things, endlessly repeating the same stories, forgetting where she was and where she’d been. I remember her repeatedly telling me off for breaking a cart horse ornament which I had broken 5 years previously.
I used to get upset because I couldn’t understand why she kept bringing it up when it had happened so long ago. Her personality started to change too and I remember not knowing what to say to her or how to behave. She was later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s can be a confusing illness, especially when seen through the eyes of a child. I wanted to raise awareness and understanding. I also wanted to show that despite the disease, it is still possible to maintain an emotional connection with the person you love.
Grandma Remember Me? was initially developed and produced in Oct/Nov 2012 from a research and development grant from the Arts Council, FEAST and The Works. It was performed to a diverse section of people and the evaluation undertaken were outstanding.
The Spring Tour took place in March and May 2013, sponsored by Cornwall Council and NHS Cornwall & The Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust, The Arts Council, The Works and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales Duke of Cornwall. Evaluations from this tour were also outstanding and identified a variety of groups who wanted to use the play as an innovative and impactful way to train and educate people about dementia.
Based on these evaluations a national tour was undertaken in December 2013 developing the idea of using the play as an innovative training tool to support awareness and education around dementia. This tour was supported by the Arts Council, Cornwall Council and NHS Cornwall & The Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust.
Pictures from 'Grandma remember me?'
National & International Performances
Demand for Grandma Remember Me? continues to grow. It has now had 8 national tours and has been used as an impactful, innovative training tool by an eclectic range of organisations. It is now embedded within the curriculum with a number of universities, embraced as a creative & empathetic way to understand the progression of dementia and the wider impact it has.
In November 2014 Grandma Remember Me? found an international platform, supported by Alzheimer’s Disease International. Performances took place at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon and Nirmal Bhartia School, Dwarks in New Delhi, India.
It was also performed at the National School of Drama in New Delhi as part of “JashneBachpan” a National Theatre Festival for Children.
Grandma Remember Me? has been performed twice at the Houses of Parliament for MPs, representatives of the House of Lords and specialists within the field of dementia.
“High quality theatre,
very powerful, realistic
and deeply moving”