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Instant Theatre is a pilot project bringing together Age UK Wakefield District and HQ Arts.


Instant Theatre will work with people recently diagnosed/or with early stage dementia and their carers and with specially trained Age UK WD volunteers to provide a structured participatory group theatre experience.

Instant Theatre will comprise a series of weekly workshops: providing opportunities for people with dementia and their carers to come together to learn theatre techniques in a supportive environment.

You will work together to share, laugh, create, perform and celebrate imagination and living in the moment.

Taking part in ‘Instant Theatre’ will provide a welcome opportunity for those with dementia and their carers to:

  • Meet with other people in a similar life situation to share experience and support each other.
  • Find ways to express feelings about the disease and its impact in a safe and supportive environment.
  • Learn new skills and meet new people.
  • Have a safe place where it is possible to have explore the changing dynamics in their relationship and to find new ways of managing the changes in their life circumstances

Receiving a diagnosis of dementia and learning to live with the disease is challenging for the individual and for their carers.

The purpose of the Instant Theatre Programme is not to diminish the devastating impact that dementia has; but to provide a space where it will be possible to find where there is lightness in life; to focus on what is still good in life; to reconnect to a sense of fun and enjoyment and develop strategies to help them to manage their changing relationship.

We need volunteers to help... 

What will you be doing?  
You will be paired with a specially trained volunteer to support you and the person you care for to take part in six, weekly theatre workshops.

Each session will split into 4 parts and will include:

  • a physical warm up that will include gentle exercise, breathing, relaxation and singing.
  • a series of drama games designed to build confidence, develop concentration and awaken the imagination.
  • the group will use improvisation techniques to create "instant theatre" around a theme. The creation of an improvised piece of theatre allows participants to be "in the moment" without relying on short term memory. The theatre will be made in response to provided stimuli from a resource box, including props, costumes, photographs, story starters, fragments of writing and songs.
  • a celebration of everyone's participation and a closing exercise to wind down, debrief and evaluate.

You will be supported by trained volunteers and the session will be led by an experienced theatre maker from HQ Arts.

When will Instant Theatre happen? -
From early in 2019, initially for six successive Thursdays at 10 am til 1pm.

Where will it happen? -
We will meet each week at The Lock Lane Centre, back William Street, Castleford WF10 2LW. There is a large car park adjacent to the centre, which is free.

What happens when the project has finished? -
There are plans to hold an event, where we will share some of our work and further evaluate the project. Age UK Wakefield District has offered the space at the Lock Lane Centre free of charge so that the project might continue.

Age UK Wakefield District’s partnership with HQ Arts - Age UK Wakefield District are pleased to be partnering with HQ Arts to deliver this programme to support people with dementia and their carers. 

HQ Arts is a professional arts company based in Featherstone, and has over 20 years experience of delivering high quality participatory arts projects in a range of health and community settings.  Working together offers a unique opportunity to provide new ways to support older people in our community.

Who is Dr. Theatre? -
Dr. Theatre is a group of older people who meet each week to take part in theatre workshops run by HQ Arts.

Members of the Dr. Theatre will work alongside HQ Arts in the development of the Instant Theatre workshops and support HQ Arts in its development and delivery.

What next? -
If you want further information, you can contact:

Emma Kirkby-Geddes
Age UK Wakefield District 
Tel: 01977 552114


Stuart Hawkes
HQ Arts
Tel: 01977 795254 or 07830 167717



Volunteering is a fulfilling, satisfying and creative experience. You can help to meet the needs of older people by volunteering to support the services we provide.