Derry’s Millennium Forum to host Ireland’s first ‘dementia-friendly’ pantomime

The Twankey laundry in 'Aladdin' at the Millennium Forum.
The Twankey laundry in 'Aladdin' at the Millennium Forum.

Derry will tomorrow host Ireland’s first dementia friendly pantomime.

The Millennium Forum’s unique ‘dementia friendly’ performance of Aladdin will take place on Friday 18 December at 7.30pm

This carefully adapted version of the Forum’s biggest show of the year will aim to develop a way for those customers who have dementia and their families to enjoy a stress-free trip to the theatre by removing the barriers that exist in the mainstream production.

This means that the auditorium house lights will be adjusted so it is softer than usual during the performance, sound effects will be reduced, special effects during the performance will be minimized to avoid overwhelming the audience and a ‘quiet space’ will be offered for those customers who need to take time away from the performance.

“In keeping with our mission and strategic policy, this new ‘Dementia Friendly performance’ of our panto will enhance the procedures we already have in place to ensure that our theatre is accessible to all our patrons,” David McLaughlin, Chief Executive of the Millennium Forum and Producer of Aladdin, said.

“We feel that it’s important for all our customers to have an enjoyable and supportive visit with us. There are currently around 2,800 people living with dementia in the North West region and we believe that their theatregoing experience should not stop when they are diagnosed.”

Rob Stewart, from the Alzheimer’s Society: “We strongly believe there is life after a dementia diagnosis and so it’s really encouraging that the Millennium Forum team feel the same way and are taking steps to be dementia-friendly which shows a little understanding can make a huge difference.”

He said the Forum are showing a “real statement of intent and we hope this festive treat will inspire others to follow their example across Northern Ireland.”

For bookings, contact the Box Office on 71 264455 or visit www.millenniumforum.co.uk