A Bury theatre charity, Silver Shed, are attempting to fight Dementia with the art of theatre. 

Cotton Shed Theatre Company is a charity based in Bury which has created a theatre workshop in 2016 which is specifically designed for dementia patients and their families/carers.

Silver Shed workshop runs every Monday and is free to attend. It focuses on a specific theme each week which is intended to stimulate old memories some of the themes they include were Blackpool, L.S Lowry, and 50’s Musicals. The aims for each workshop are to provide happy memories and bring enjoyment and entertainment through roleplaying, dancing, films, interacting, light exercise and props.

Silver Shed uses old music to stimulate happy memories.
Silver Shed uses old music to stimulate happy memories which aid Dementia care.

Artistic Director at Cotton Shed Theatre Company Shaun Gibson, 21, said;

“The Silver Shed workshops were really made to give people some enjoyment, everything we offer is meant to aid dementia patients to help remember happy memories, on our Blackpool themed week we roleplayed being at the beach, watched old videos of Blackpool and all ate ice-cream.

“Dementia is a lonely disease to have and it can really isolate people, our workshops give the opportunity to let dementia patients and their carers and families make friends and have some fun, we want to help in every way we possibly can and if our theatre workshop can help just one person it has succeeded”.

Elsie Charlson, 70, and her Husband Tommy Charlson ,68, have been attending the Silver shed workshop for six months. Elsie was diagnosed with dementia in 2015 so Tommy took on the role of her carer, Tommy believes that the workshop has aided Elsie and helped slowed down her dementia.

Tommy Said; “It all happened very quickly within a few months the Dementia really took hold of her and it was extremely difficult to manage on my own, Silver shed has been a massive help for us, Elsie is hearing music she used to love and she is dancing, and for me it gets me out of the house, and we have made new friends and people in our situation. I feel like her condition has slowed down since we started coming to Silver Shed”

Britain is said to be heading into a Dementia Crisis with more and more people being diagnosed with the condition. Numbers are said to rise to over one Million in the next decade and up to over two million by 2050. The scale of the battle against the disease could cripple the NHS as creaking services struggle to cope with demand, experts say.
Treating those with dementia costs the UK economy £26 billion a year – the equivalent of more than £30,000 for every sufferer with one in four beds in hospitals occupied by a dementia sufferer.

The Cotton Shed Theatre Art directors from left to right Sammy Young, Jane Bradshaw, Cath Eddisford, Shaun Gibson.
The Cotton Shed Theatre Art directors from left to right Sammy Young, Jane Bradshaw, Cath Eddisford, Shaun Gibson.
 Shaun Gibson says “With numbers of people suffering going up and no cure in sight, we need to make life better for those suffering and help the people around them. Silver Shed aims to help in anyway it can do, whether it can combat the dementia with the course we provide or that it just gives the family and carers a chance to get out and meet with people who are in the same predicament. It’s a chance for everyone to have some fun, as horrible and devastating as dementia is it shouldn’t be the end of a fulfilling life”



Cotton Shed theatre company are applying for another year of funding so they can tour Silver Shed around Greater Manchester in order to reach out to more people.

To find out more about future events hosted by Cotton Shed Theatre Company visit their website on; http://www.cottonshed.co.uk/

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