Theatre students forge links with dementia home

Students at Northbrook MET's West Durrington campus have forged a relationship with residents of Guild Care's dementia care home, Haviland House.

Northbrook MET musical theatre students with Haviland House family members
Northbrook MET musical theatre students with Haviland House family members

Budding stage stars on the college’s musical theatre course carried out specialist training in working with people with Alzheimer’s, which allowed them the opportunity to make weekly visits to the care home and perform short shows for the residents.

The wellbeing team at Haviland House is thrilled with the impact the students have had on the residents, who they lovingly refer to as ‘family members’.

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In an email to the MET, they said: “You should be proud, as should the students. Their wonderful voices filled our lounge this afternoon so much as to have the family members continue to sing to each other when the students had left. In the words of one family member, ‘it was enchanting’.”

The students were so taken with the residents, they decided to invite them to one of their recent productions, an end-of-year show performed as part of MET Fest.

Three residents attended and had front row, complimentary seats.

Not ones to be out-sung, the residents treated the students to a rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which sealed a wonderful evening at the Northbrook Theatre.

The MET and Haviland House are now making plans to continue the weekly visits into the new academic year and it is hoped that the relationship will grow as a result.

For the students, it provides vital performing experience to a live audience, while for the staff and family members at Haviland House, it is something entertaining to look forward to every Tuesday.

Theatre staff at the West Durrington campus are even looking into how they can adapt their regular performances into ‘relaxed’ versions in order that more of the residents can attend in future.