We at WNO are always trying to inspire and entice young people, to show them the power and theatrical magic that opera has. But we are also passionate about continuing to support and engage the older generation; one way we have been doing this is by teaming up with Theatr Colwyn for their Dementia Friendly Film Screenings.
Our involvement began in March 2017 when we took part in the dementia friendly showing of Calamity Jane. Since then there has been a monthly screening of popular musicals. The audience are entertained for about 30 minutes before the film screening by WNO repetiteur Annette Bryn Parri and WNO Vocal Animateur Sioned Foulkes singing popular singalong songs. During the film there is an interval when the audience can join in a WNO Come & Sing session. Sioned and Annette are joined by Canu Conwy – Conwy County Borough Council’s staff choir for this interval entertainment.
I have lost my singing opportunities because of dementia, coming here every month, I get stimulation to find and use my voice. I used to be a confident singer; this helps me a great deal. I CAN SING AND SMILE AGAIN.
At Come & Sing events we encourage everyone to come together and sing with us. We hold these at a number of different locations when we are on tour with both opera and concerts, usually (but not exclusively) in venue foyers prior to a performance. There is no need for previous singing experience – just come along, sing and enjoy, and this is what we have brought to the dementia friendly showings. Music, and singing in particular, has been proven to unlock memories and help kickstart grey matter in the brain - key in dementia care, and therefore these screenings are very helpful to the health of the attendees. Getting people to sing along to recognisable songs from the past can help soothe and stimulate the mind – so if you are a carer or have family members with dementia consider taking them to one of the screenings.
Since we established our presence at the dementia screenings we have taken part in 14, including films such as Singin’ in the Rain, Hello Dolly, White Christmas and many more. Catch the next one on Thursday 12 July, a screening of Cabaret. Visit Theatr Colwyn’s website for more information for carers and to buy your tickets.
For more information about our Come & Sing events and when and where you can get involved with WNO, keep an eye on the dedicated page.