A new theatre installation in London is aiming to help people suffering with dementia.

The Garden installation by Spare Tyre, opens to the public on March 4 in the New Diorama Theatre in Camden.


It will try to reach people with dementia through emphasising non-verbal communication such as sound, touch, taste and smell.

Spare Tyre Executive Director Lynette Shanbury said: “Enjoyment of the arts should be available to everyone, no matter what their life situation is.

“As well as the intrinsic and emotional importance of people living with dementia experiencing the arts, there is also the opportunity to provide other benefits particularly around health and well being, such as momentary or lasting calmness for participants, or improved understanding of non-verbal communication skills for carers.

“People with dementia change every day. Our method of participatory arts practice, which is highly multi-sensory and uses multiple art forms allows us to respond to people at an individual level – enabling us to deeply engage people in the way that suits them on that day.

“We have to be incredibly flexible and innovative, and that’s something that the arts and artists are particularly good at.”

Three performers of The Garden will take participants through a year of everyday garden activities, ranging from dawn bird calls, to raking leaves, and playing in the cold snow.

The installation also aims to raise awareness of the good participatory arts can do for people who are suffering with dementia.

On March 3, Spare Tyre are running an expert panel discussion, and on March 5 they are putting on a masterclass with artistic director Arti Prashar on the subject.

Shanbury added: “As the number of people with dementia continues to increase, and as public health care provision becomes more stretched, more and more people are being cared for at home for much longer by friends and family.

“So as a society and as artists we need to reflect that shift and start trying to provide creatively exciting activities for those people living with dementia in our community.”

Spare Tyre have worked with people with dementia for over five years now, and have 35 years experience of helping hard to reach communities and older people.

The Garden opens to the public on March 4. For more information, click here.

Image: Louise Elder