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Jack & Jill and The Red Postbox

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Jill is starting to forget names and how to make the bed….

Jack and Jill & The Red Postbox’ is a sensitive, humorous and challenging multimedia theatre performance with original music and projection. It invites us to follow the considerable changes in the lives of Jack and Jill and their children Lucy and Peter due to a diagnosis of dementia.

We are delighted to be continuing to tour a new version of Jack and Jill & The Red Postbox, with venue incentives supported by Arts Council England. We hope you will consider this show for your 2016/17 programme.

The piece was inspired by 89 anonymous transcripts, collected in a research project in Northumberland: the ‘Risk and Resilience: living with dementia’ project, which provided rich and emotive material for the fictionalised script.

The stories, characters and plot are based upon ‘common’ themes which help us to explore questions involving changes in identity, sense of place, and roles within community and society.

Additional research was carried out by Skimstone Arts, collecting stories from friends, family and the public about the challenges, special moments and changes in relationships, when living with family members diagnosed with dementia.

The original play was written in 2013 and performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Dementia effects 800,000 people in the UK and is predicted to increase to 1.7million by 2050. ‘Jack and Jill & The Red Postbox’ explores some of the complexities of living with dementia and encourages us to think about how we live and work alongside those in our communities who have a diagnosis of dementia. The production is a partnership between the research project team (Professor Charlotte Clarke, University of Edinburgh, Dr Cathy Bailey and Dr Catherine Gibb, Northumbria University) and Skimstone Arts (Claire Webster Saaramets, Artistic Director / performer).

The work premiered at Queens Hall, Hexham, followed by a successful run at Sweet Venues during the 2013 Edinburgh Festival. Performances have included Stage 2 Theatre, Northumbria University in Newcastle as part of Dementia Awareness Week, Park Hotel in Falkirk for Forth Valley Scotland NHS Health Board Training Day, Studio Theatre in Augustine’s United Church in Edinburgh as part of European Research and Social Sciences Festival, and Arc Stockton as part of Stockton Borough Council’s launch of their campaign to become a ‘Dementia Friendly Borough.’

The production is a partnership between University of Edinburgh, Northumbria University and Skimstone Arts. We wish to thank the anonymous research participants and those who have contributed additional stories, research and artistic contributions including; Dr Cathy Bailey, Professor Charlotte Clarke, Dr Michael Firbank, Dr Mark Bagott, Aileen Hays, The Grange Care Home Throckley, Chillingham Road Post Office, Miriam Paton Chedgzoy, Jane Murray, Rob Webster, Dora Frankel, Peter Saaremets, Louise Taylor.

Claire Webster Saaremets Jill (Mum), Lucy (daughter), Jean (Community Nurse)
Simon Tarrant Jack (Dad), Peter (Son), Frank (Hairdresser)
Andy Playford Lighting & AV Technician
Jon Codd Set Design & Construction

Touring theatre production developed 2014/15

Theatre by the Lake, Cumbria
The Witham, Barnard Castle
The Gala Theatre, Durham
Jesmond Community Festival
Stage 2, Northumbria University
part of British International Gerontology Conference
The Courtyard Hereford
The Swan Theatre Worcester
Theatre Severn Shrewsbury

Queens Hall Arts Centre
The University of Edinburgh
NHS North of Tyne
Northumbria University
Alzheimer’s Scotland
Forth Valley Health Board
Stockton Borough Council
Gateshead Development Team
Arts Council England

Audience Feedback

“It is an arresting, heartfelt seventy minutes which empathises with those in the know and illuminates those yet to know; and I came away feeling I had witnesses a thoroughly memorable theatre vignette.” Chris Eldon Lee – Shropshire Events and What’s On Guide – Theatre Review

“The performances are quite lovely, gentle and very honest… Skimstone Arts Theatre Company have made an admirable show, conceived and presented with the utmost tenderness and understanding.” Three Weeks Edinburgh

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