Project information

Setting the Scene

Participatory arts can have a positive impact on the health and well-being of people living with dementia. The ‘Setting the Scene‘ project will enable people living with dementia and their families/carers, to engage with and benefit from regular arts activities, in an inspirational venue.

14 months

Charity information

Cumbria Theatre Trust

Cumbria Theatre Trust logo
  • Need


    There is a significant lack of opportunities for people living with dementia and their families/carers, in our community, to access inspiring 'dementia friendly venues' and to take-part in activities that: provide cognitive stimulation; improve sense of wellbeing; encourage creativity/passion; demonstrate their skills; enable them to socialise and helps them to feel part of the community.


    Research shows that cognitive stimulation, such as engaging in arts activity, elevates people above the stresses of dementia. This project will provide a programme of weekly, specifically designed ‘Setting the Scene’ creative sessions, for people living with dementia and their carers. Sessions will be designed to: enable participants to be creative, socialise, share experiences and have fun. As a result their sense of wellbeing will increase and they will feel more connected to the community.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Provide opportunities for people living with dementia and their carers, to engage in arts activities


    » Deliver 5 blocks of 10 weekly half day 'Setting the Scene' creative sessions for people living with dementia and their carers, at Theatre by the Lake.

    People living with dementia and their carers will attend the 'Setting the Scene' sessions and report positive benefits from taking part, e.g. increased sense of well-being.

    Aim 2

    Support the development of a dementia friendly community


    » Involve other groups and organisations in promoting this project and in raising awareness of the needs of people living with dementia in our community

    More people will be aware of the needs of people living with dementia and the local community will be recognised as being dementia friendly.

  • Impact


    More people living with dementia and their families/carers, particularly those with no background in the arts, will engage in the arts and cultural activities.
    More people will 'live well' with dementia
    The 'Setting the Scene' creative sessions will be recognised for contributing to the therapeutic well-being of people living with dementia.
    We will demonstrate the success of this project through detailed evaluation.


    Freelance artists not having enough capacity to deliver. By securing funding in advance we will be able to offer specialist artists firm contracts and also build our delivery capacity by offering opportunities for other artists to train alongside those experienced in ‘Dementia Care Matters’.
    Inability to engage people living with dementia with dementia. Assured regularity of sessions will help engagement together with referrals from community organisations and partners.


    Donors will receive quarterly updates on the project by email or post. These will include: (1) beneficiary feedback, quotes, photos and case studies, (2) evaluation findings and (3) independent expert reviews. There will be opportunities for major donors to experience sessions/ meet beneficiaries.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £10,000 Creative sessions 5 blocks of 10 weekly half day sessions
  • Background


    Keswick is a market town with a population of 4,900. Situated on the shores of Derwentwater in the Lake District National Park, tourism is its main industry. 1,518 people live with dementia in the district. The need for building a ‘dementia-friendly community' has been highlighted. Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, is England’s remotest professional producing theatre. Annually it stages 9 productions, hosts a varied visiting programme and plays to audiences of 125,000 (40% visitor:60% Cumbrian).


    People living with dementia in our local community and their families/carers will benefit.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Cumbria Theatre Trust has extensive experience of developing, managing and delivering a range of participatory arts projects, both at Theatre by the Lake and at community locations across Cumbria, for the benefit of the community. Over the last 12 months it successfully piloted a project to develop Theatre by the Lake as an inspirational dementia friendly venue and to trial creative sessions.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Mary Elliott, House Manager

    Mary led the development of Theatre by the Lake as a dementia friendly venue and is committed to providing opportunities for people with dementia.

    Rachel Suddart, Audience Development Officer

    Rachel has enthusiastically consulted with people living with dementia, families/carers, community organisations and experts.

    Jenn Mattinson, Freelance Theatre Practitioner

    Jenn is an experienced theatre practitioner and is passionate about working with people of all ages and particularly those who live with dementia.

'Setting the Scene' creative sessions

'Setting the Scene' creative sessions