Caption: One of the singing sessions organised by West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Christmas came early for members of award-winning dementia support group as they enjoyed a festive theatre sing-a-along with a difference.
West Yorkshire Playhouse staged their first ever dementia friendly performance, with their production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas – a musical spectacular.
The audience included a group from Leeds City Council’s Peer Support Service.
Part of Leeds City Council’s adult social care, the service runs a varied programme of activities for people living with dementia in Leeds, including arts and culture, heritage and sports.
The Playhouse’s new production of the festive classic was specially designed to make it easier for people with dementia to attend.
Adaptations included changes to the sounds an lighting, a flexible seating plan and a quiet room outside the auditorium where audience members could take a break if they needed to.
Ahead of Tuesday’s show, members of the Peer Support Service had singing lessons as part of their Cultural
Partnership group with West Yorkshire Playhouse so they could join in with three of the songs
They also attended lessons organised by the Playhouse for all people attending the performance.
Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, said:
"This was a wonderful experience for those who attended and another brilliant example of how Leeds is a place where people with dementia have the opportunity to take part in lots of fun events and social activities.
“Being diagnosed with dementia can often create a great deal of uncertainty about what the future holds. But by helping members to get involved with events like this, our Peer Support Service continues to enrich their lives and dispel some of the myths and worries surrounding dementia.
“White Christmas is a festive classic that I’m sure many members of the audience have enjoyed over the years and being able to participate in this new production will have meant a lot to them.”
West Yorkshire Playhouse’s community development manager Nicky Taylor added:
“Living with dementia can present additional challenges in everyday activities, but with a little extra support it is possible for people to enjoy many of the activities they have previously enjoyed, and of course to try new things too.
“As a theatre we can support people to enjoy a show by making some changes to the physical environment but also by creating an atmosphere of welcome to embrace people’s changing needs. We don’t want families who are experiencing dementia to miss out on a visit to the theatre due to worry or stress.”
For more information on the council’s peer support service, visit
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937