Our afternoon party, held at Pant-y-Celyn Sheltered Housing, was a great success, with local musician, Ben Yendle, entertaining the residents who sang along and showed off their dancing moves. The party was to celebrate our latest project, funded by CPRN, Cardiff University, a social intervention aimed at alleviating loneliness and isolation in older people
The afternoon enabled the Reality Theatre actors to meet and chat with the residents, to help develop the characters they will be playing in the forthcoming play to be performed in the Riverfront, Newport, on 16 April.
The play is a fictionalised account of the stories gathered from the Derwen residents over the last three months, and includes war-time tales and stories of emigration to Australia and South Africa, for a period spanning 1940s to the present day. The play aims to show the lives of the residents from childhood to now, by merging their stories into one.
It is hoped that we can develop this project further in the future, to include more residents and more events across Newport.
Our current project is a social intervention aimed at improving the emotional well-being of older people living in Derwen Housing, exploring how the provision of cultural activities may help alleviate social issues such as loneliness and isolation. This is a pilot project, enabled by seed-corn funding by Cardiff University.
We began the project by using music from across the decades to generate memories which are now being adapted into a play to be performed at the Riverfront, Newport, on April 16th. Some truly amazing stories have been told: war-time tales of family life, loss and bombings; freedom and childhood innocence; town hall dances and the first kiss; emigration and travels; army life; marriage, divorce and children…making the adaptation into a play very difficult! Some fascinating photographs have been collated too, showing a snapshot of life from 1930s until today;
A story ranging over several continents and 90 years, incorporating memories of so many wonderful residents, means that a great deal of the content, unfortunately, has had to be cut, but we have endeavoured to include something from everyone. Rehearsals are now underway, and the exciting phase of sourcing props and costumes has begun.
It is hoped that this pilot project can lead to the development of a long-standing commitment to arts-based projects for use within social housing organisations in Newport.