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The Rise and Importance of Dementia Friendly Performances

Scottish Opera’s dementia friendly performances of TOSCA have prompted conversation about dementia friendly services and shows in our local communities. Dementia can be an incredibly isolating condition, but we all know there is hope and joy to be found through exploring entertainment like this in a supportive and understanding environment.




What is a dementia friendly performance?

Dementia friendly performances are tailored for people with dementia and their families or care givers, so that they can enjoy live performance in an environment that is comfortable and supportive.


Some of the reasons a performance can be dementia friendly are:

  • The volume of music will be reduced
  • The lights will remain low
  • Leaving and re-entering the performance is ok
  • There will be additional signage in the foyers
  • More staff on hand to help
  • There will be a more relaxed attitude to making noise and moving around the theatre
  • Quiet spaces will be available away from main areas
  • Familiarisation visits are often available should you wish to undertake one prior to your trip


The priority is to enable those living with dementia to maintain an awareness of their environment, and avoid disorientation while watching the show. Clinic Development Manager Alison Cranmer states:


“There are an estimated 90,000 people with dementia in Scotland alone and there is often a stigma and social isolation associated with the disease. It is excellent to see so many dementia friendly performances available in Scotland. It is crucial to engage people living with dementia in existing community activities rather than only specialised activities. These are so important to lead the way to a better understanding and help us all strive towards a dementia-positive society.”


What events are on near me?


November 2019

Scottish Opera – TOSCA (Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh)

Drop-in Café, dementia friendly (Edinburgh)

Scottish Ballet –Time to Dance (Edinburgh)


December 2019

The Hillman Hunter, dementia friendly (Edinburgh)


January 2020

Ainsley Hamill and Alistair Iain Paterson (Glasgow)




If anyone you know with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s is interested in taking part in one of our future studies, please contact us on 0141 948 0206 or email

Posted 1st November 2019

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