Magic Me’s Artists Residencies in Care Homes programme was a ground-breaking project sharing our 25+ years experience with some of the UK’s leading performing arts companies.
Our two year programme of artists residencies in care homes ran from 2015, it provide a unique opportunity for Magic Me to share our intergenerational practice and experience of running arts projects in care homes with immersive theatre company, Punchdrunk Enrichment, alt-cabaret collective Duckie, circus company Upswing and performance artist and activist Lois Weaver and care home provider Anchor.
The project sought to challenge ageist attitudes that, being old, residents would not enjoy up-to-date performing arts work, and to provide care home residents with access to top level arts experiences, even if they are physically or mentally frail.
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
Susan Langford, Director of Magic Me
Research from the programme sharing the experiences and findings of the four companies involved and the care homes involved was published in April 2017.
Performance art or aerial circus aren’t usually the kind of entertainment on offer in a care home for older people, but this project challenged the norm for the arts in care homes
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.
Debbie Sharples Kirkbride MBE, Anchor
Starting in Autumn 2015 four London care homes, run by Anchor – England’s largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care to older people, hosted 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 the residency of between 3 – 6 months, artists and performers ran 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 supported and advised the artists on how to best shape activities and present their work for care home residents, including those with dementia. 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 tested new approaches and ideas, documenting what worked and why, and sharing this learning with the arts and care sectors through published reports and seminar events.
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 project is also funded by the Wakefield and Tetley Trust and by Anchor’s Legacy Fund.
The residencies project ran for two years.
Duckie – photographer Roxene Anderson
Upswing – photographer Marcus Hessenber
Punchdrunk Enrichment – photographer Paul Cochrane
Punchdrunk Enrichment – photographer Stephen Dobbie