ACDC – Immersive roleplay to support older people in care
As part of the ACDC project, sTimul roleplay training is provided to artists working in care.
After taking part in these very emotive sessions, the participating artists were asked to write a letter to a fellow artist talking about what they had experienced on the programme.
One of those letters has been reproduced here anonymously to highlight the profound impact the process has had on the artist:
I have recently returned from an immersive training experience in Holland. Nine artists spent the day in a simulated care home. I took on the role of an 84 year old blind woman.
The experience for me was a revolutionary one, deep and inspiring.
I think you should do this training too, for these reasons, firstly it has helped me to individuate my audience much more than before, sometimes when I am storytelling I can adress the listeners as a whole and even though I try to connect with everyone individually I have never been able to do it with the integrity and compassion that this experience has helped me to do.I felt vulnerable and afraid and I was too scared to allow my needs to be seen in case the carers found me bothersome and rejected me. This experience has helped me tune into subtle clues that the audience bring about how they are feeling and what they need from me as a storyteller.
Before I had this experience I was more preoccupied with myself, how the story was going, did the audience like it, were they enjoying themselves etc etc.
I was blind Isabella, and had been sat down, shut down and put down for hours before the storyteller came into the room and his presence was a life line to me, it just mattered that he was there was there for me, he was listening to me and talking to me as if I mattered. Our art is so important Isabella, it is the difference between a light in someone eyes sparkling or going out and one day those eyes will be our eyes, the same eyes that look upon the world today, the same mind that knows what it wants and heart that feels but those looking back at us wont know us Isabella, they will just see old, frail, dying and will try to keep us safe and alive and comfortable until our spirit is suffocated with wipe clean chairs and medicate us if we become too unwieldy.
It does not need to be like this Isabella and I believe it is our calling as artists to keep the light in the eyes of our elders alive.
I also had the most incredible outpouring of creativity after the training, idea after idea flowed and they were directly connected to my heart not my ego.
It is easy for me to say all this Isabella, because I have this experience deep in body and bones and I would love for you to have it too because I know it would enrich your life and your art would be transforming the community in the deepest way possible.
You can find out more about the Arts Crafts and Dignity in Care cluster project at www.creatinginclusion.eu