Fringe Performers Give Older Generation a Voice

by Kate Foster

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Bield Care Home are visited by a theatre company called Le Mot Juste.Care home residents have inspired a group of Fringe performers with stories of their experiences of moving into residential care.

Residents of Haugh Street, Stockbridge, Edinburgh, welcomed the Fringe performers and gave them an insight into the lives of older people for the play ‘No Place Like’.

Bield, Scotland’s leading provider of housing and care, have sponsored the promotional costs of the show being performed by Le Mot Juste Theatre. The show will run until 26August at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s ZOO venue.

A key objective of the production is to see how we might reconnect and engage with the older generation.

Celebrating Memories

The theatre’s co-directors, Ben Hadley and Sophie Winter understand, through firsthand experience, the importance of celebrating the memories of elderly family members.

Ben Hadley, who is also a performer in the production, said: “The inspiration for the production was sparked by my desire to get closer to the lives of my grandparents who I sadly lost when I was young.

“Sophie’s grandmother also stays in a care home so we felt an equal responsibility to give a voice to their memories.

“We began by working with care homes in London, doing interviews with residents and staff, and speaking to families about the impact of moving into a care home.

“Now we want to get inspiration for future productions by speaking to Bield residents and recording their anecdotes and memories.”

Gaining Inspiration

The actors took time out from promoting their show to visit the care home. They shared tea and cakes with the residents and gained inspiration for future productions.

The theatre group are keen to portray the impact of moving into a care home and the things people they take with them which spark memories from past experiences.

Sharing stories and anecdotes, ambitions and dreams of older people reflects Bield’s ‘Free to Be’ philosophy which underpins all they do.

Nicola Harcus, Assistant Director of Strategic Development at Bield said: “Many people might ask why a care home would sponsor a Fringe production but we truly believe Le Mot Juste is voicing an important issue.

“Our residents love sharing their past experiences and it gives them a real boost to know people are genuinely interested in their stories.

“We have a lot of common ground with the theatre company and feel they have a real sense of the challenges faced by people as they get older.

“It is also great that we can play our part in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as it’s important to us to be involved and visible within the wider community.”

Valuable Contribution

At the heart of the production, and the collaboration with Bield, is the belief that older people make a continuing and valuable contribution to society.

Brian Logan, Chief Executive at Bield said: “At Bield we are concerned about the continuing role of older people in society, so to have a theatre company like Le Mot Juste show such interest in the subject is admirable.

“This is such an unusual opportunity and we are delighted to have been able to support the production. I’m sure it will make for very interesting viewing, and from personal experience, I’m sure some of the anecdotes will be hilarious.”

Bield – a registered charity – has grown from humble beginnings, starting out with one housing development in Bo’ness to become a major provider of a wide range of housing and services for around 20,000 older people across 22 local authority areas.

Details of the show and tickets are available at https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/theatre/no-place-like.

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