Forget bingo and daytime telly, pioneering project brings theatre, cabaret & trapeze to care homes.

We are delighted to announce a ground-breaking two year programme of Artist Residencies in care homes. A unique opportunity for Magic Me to share over 25 years of intergenerational practice and experience of running arts projects in care homes with some of the UK's leading performing arts companies.

The project seeks to challenge ageist attitudes that, being old, residents will not wish to enjoy up-to-date work, and provides care home residents with access to top level arts experiences, even if they are physically or mentally frail. We'll be updating these pages as the residencies take place throughout 2016

Research from the first phase of the programme sharing the experiences and findings from Punchdrunk and Lois Weaver's experiences was published in June 2016 at a launch event at Queen Mary University of London. Read and download the Phase 1 report.

See below for the full scope of the project, details of when the research and findings will be shared.

Click the links on the left for more info on each company's residency.

Press release: 1 July 2015
Performance art or aerial circus aren’t usually the kind of entertainment on offer in a care home for older people, but a new project from leading intergenerational arts charity Magic Me is set to challenge the norm for the arts in care homes

Starting this Autumn four London care homes, run by Anchor - England’s largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care to older people, will host a  residency with one of four participating arts organisations - immersive theatre company Punchdrunk; performance & events collective Duckie; performance artist and activist Lois Weaver; and circus and aerial theatre company Upswing.

During a residency of between 3 – 6 months, artists and performers will run activities with residents, their families and care home staff, working together to create new artworks and performance.

Drawing on over two decades of experience and expertise in running arts projects in care homes, Magic Me will support and advise the artists on how to best shape activities and present their work for care home residents, including those with dementia.

Susan Langford MBE, Director of Magic Me said:

We aim to channel the colour and excitement of the arts into care homes, tapping older people’s creative energies and latent talents, to make and present new artworks and performances, both for the care home community and a much wider audience.

Because of frailty, dementia or low energy levels, older people in care homes just don’t get out to the theatre or arts events which many Londoners take for granted.  We are thrilled to be working with these four arts partners and Anchor to bring the very highest quality arts to older people living in care homes.”

Debbie Sharples Kirkbride, MBE from Anchor said:

“This creative partnership will not only bring enjoyment and new experiences, both within the care homes and in the wider community, but it will also provide our care staff with specialist knowledge and training.

We hope this project will create a legacy of understanding about the delivery of the arts within a care setting, expelling the myth of what older people can achieve.

Dorothee Irving from Paul Hamlyn Foundation one of the primary funders of the project said:

“We are delighted to be supporting this exciting opportunity for respected arts organisations to take their work into care homes while being supported by Magic Me, a company which is highly experienced in working with older people…

The programme has additional value because of the built-in training for the artists working in these settings and Magic Me’s track record of disseminating their learning to the wider sector.”

The project aims to test new approaches and ideas, document what works and why, and share this learning with the arts and care sectors through published reports and seminar events.

Punchdrunk’s spokesperson stated:

“We are always looking for new and unexpected spaces to create work with new participants. Creating work in a care home environment represents a significant and exciting challenge…

We are looking forward to sharing our practice and learning from Magic Me about their approaches to working in a care home setting.

We know this project will be challenging and will have an impact that will continue to inform and expand our practice in the coming years."

The residencies project will last two years. A final report for the whole residencies programme will be launched in February 2017 following the residencies from Upswing and Duckie.  If you would like to attend this research launch event, please contact the Magic Me office