‘Brightness in dark places’: Theatre as an arena for communicating life with dementia

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The aim of this study was to use artistic expressions on a theatrical stage for communicating life with dementia, as portrayed in literary texts and to explore whether such communication would help relatives of people suffering from dementia gain knowledge of their situation. Life with dementia was portrayed through four theatre performances with actors reading excerpts from literary texts combined with music. Relatives were invited to the performances and to participate in focus groups following the events. Analysis revealed that the participants recognized episodes in the texts and were touched. This resulted in new knowledge. The aesthetic expression was of great significance. The use of the theatre stage as an arena for communicating knowledge became a meaningful experience. The performances enabled identification with roles on the stage, created a feeling of community with the audience and contributed to an experience of dignity.

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