Reminiscence theatre is the multi-sensory process of recalling and sharing ones memories with the intention of dramatising them. This type of theatre sees and realises the dramatic potential in real life stories from real life people (such as people with dementia or or traumatic/acquired brain injuries). Reminiscence theatre takes verbatim memories (real memories) and uses them as the basis for theatre scripts.
Care homes also use these techniques to stimulate the memories of someone with dementia or traumatic/acquired brain injuries. The creative practitioner will then use common things (such as a newspaper article) to instigate buried memories. Working closely with families and care staff, the creative practitioner may use old photographs, words/literature, sounds, smells, tastes and movements. Objects also act as memory triggers.
What is the impact on people with dementia and other acquired brain injuries?
The process of creating and performing theatre from real life memories and stories often results in a positive impact on older adults’ well-being. This positive impact can be seen in a variety of ways. Participants might display signs of increased self-esteem, elevated mood and greater social engagement. Decreased isolation and boredom is also evident, as well as a desire to continue with the reminiscence theatre activities.