In January 2011, Women & Theatre moved premises to The Old Lodge at the Uffculme Centre, a site owned by Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust. This marked the start of a formalised partnership with BSMHFT, which has seen us develop collaborative drama-based work that engages both service users and staff.
A mainstay of our partnership work is the delivery of courses of drama workshops in different in-patient settings which aim to promote wellbeing and improve people’s experience of in-patient care by providing an engaging activity to supplement the existing activities programme.
We also tour theatre shows into in-patient settings including our seasonal productions, The Christmas Box, Autumn Tales, Summer Times and Spring’s Sprung.
Much of this work is delivered in kind as part of our rental agreement, but we are also commissioned by different Trust services and collaboratively access external funds to develop new projects.
At the end of 2014 we were commissioned by BSMHFT’s Older People’s Services to develop a new programme to promote communication and understanding between staff and carers. This resulted in the development of Taking Care of Helen which was researched with trust staff and carers and toured to BSMHFT settings in January 2015, reaching audiences of 250.
We also recently worked with BSMHFT to develop a programme called All of Me which promotes Life Story work as an approach for working with people with memory loss. This resulted in a number of performances at mac birmingham in March 2015. For more information click here.
The workshops facilitated by W&T were a huge success. Service users reported enjoying the warm and friendly atmosphere where they could interact freely with peers and staff. From an observational point of view, the sessions provided service users with routine, captured their interest and increased their levels of motivation; this was evident from high and continuous attendance for the duration of the programme. Overall, it was a positive experience for everyone involved and we look forward to working with W&T in the future.
Occupational Therapist, The Oleaster
Courses are generally delivered by teams of two drama workers. In recent years these have included Janice Connolly, Catherine Pitt, Emmi Isham, Terina Talbot, Ali Belbin, Angela Twigg, Paul Magson, Pete Wynne-Willson, Julie Baker, Eve Jones, Therese Collins, Todd Jennings, Jill Norman, Emily Butler, Ros Norford and Vimal Korpal.