Life at St Dominic's inspires unusual piece of theatre

The experiences of our customers and staff at one of our retirement living schemes in Stoke-on-Trent, inspired an unusual piece of theatre about the care environment.

St Dominic’s Court in Hartshill have been working with local arts project B-Arts to help develop a moving telephone play called You Don’t Know Me But…*

Written by actress and theatre-maker Sophia Hatfield and directed by Gwenda Hughes, the play was inspired by the real memories of our customers and celebrates the dedication and spirit of our staff.

To develop the play, Sophia chatted to staff and residents remotely, carrying out a series of interviews and memory box activities. Whilst the play is fictional, the themes and issues faced by the characters are based on the conversations she had.

These included comments from our customers such as:

“The people in St Dominic’s look after me but they’re not carers really. They’re friends. They listen when you need someone to listen to you.”

“I’ve always got something to do and I enjoy every day. Every single day. It’s lovely; I wouldn’t like to live anywhere else.”

“I enjoy my life and I think I’ve got the best time now that I’ve ever had in my life.”  

“’Are you alright? I’m here if you need a chat.’ Sometimes, that’s all somebody needs.”

The piece is an intimate one-woman show performed live over the phone, giving audience members a truly unique theatre experience in their own homes at a time when live theatre is less accessible.

During what has been a hugely challenging time for staff working in a care environment, the show sheds light on the real value of supporting tenants to remain safe and happy, as well as helping them to continue to live as independently as possible.

April Harper, a lifestyle coach at St Dominic’s, was among the staff interviewed. She said: “We’ve had a great connection with B Arts for some time, and our residents have always enjoyed taking part in their community craft sessions and lunch projects. When this opportunity came up, we jumped at the chance to be a part of it – especially as it was such an original idea!

“I just hope the play gives a little more insight into the care environment from both sides, showing audience members what it’s like to be a carer and what it’s like to be cared for. There’s a lot of positives, so I think it’s great Sophia and the play pick up on that.”

The play has already caught the attention of BBC Midlands Today and April was on national TV talking about St Dominic’s involvement. She said: “It was a lot of fun to be interviewed and just wonderful to see our good work being promoted on the telly.”

To find out more about the play watch the trailer here. Tickets to enjoy this unique theatre experience are free but must be booked by calling B Arts box office on 0800 689 0018. The show runs from November 10 to 14.

* Poster for You Don't Know Me But... by artist James Fox Neville.

2nd October 2020 | 2020