‘Look for the joy in life’: Play aimed at raising awareness of dementia coming to Wimbledon church

An uplifting and raw family drama tackling the sensitive issues of dementia and loss plays Wimbledon’s Holy Trinity Church next month.

Simeon’s Watch, by Bridget Foreman, is the story of a family grieving the physical loss of one family member juxtaposed with the process of losing another to dementia.

The play is the result of a two-year research project and series of drama workshops working with people living with dementia, their families and carers.

Edith Willmott, playing the role of Leah, said: “People are finding it a mirror to what they have seen and been through.”

Her character tries to ‘look for the joy in life’ in the more uplifting second half, giving the perspective of a family dealing with a difficult situation in a positive and proactive way.

Bridget said: “Change can bring real challenges to families, particularly the changes that threaten to alter our relationships with the people we love most.”

Yorkshire-based Riding Lights Theatre Company presents accessible theatre, encouraging audiences to engage with important issues in partnership with churches across the UK.

The play is performed in churches by invitation from the community, which Edith said makes it more accessible to people who may be deterred by traditional theatre.

“It’s organised by a community and therefore they are experiencing it as a community,” she said.

Edith hopes the play is encouraging conversations about dementia, a topic that many struggle to talk about.

She said: “It is something that’s happening and that is why we need to talk about it.”

Alzheimer’s Society director of external affairs Vivienne Francis said: “I’m sure this play will resonate with many families affected by dementia.”

This comes as new figures released by the Office of National Statistics reveal that dementia is the most fatal disease in England and Wales.

Simeon’s Watch plays Holy Trinity Church, 234 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1SB Wimbledon on Thursday, December 8 at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £12 (£10 concessions) and can be purchased here.

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