The highs, the lows and everything in between. Littleport playwright gets Lottery funding for a play about dementia.

PUBLISHED: 14:30 01 December 2017

Playwright Deborah Curtis with her father who was the inspiraton for her Lottery funded play. It will be performed by Field Theatre of Littleport

Playwright Deborah Curtis with her father who was the inspiraton for her Lottery funded play. It will be performed by Field Theatre of Littleport

Archant

Watching her father suffer dementia and experiencing ridiculous, bizarre and upsetting life moments inspired a Littleport woman to write a play that has earned lottery funding.

Playwright Deborah Curtis with her father who was the inspiraton for her Lottery funded play. It will be performed by Field Theatre of Littleport. Playwright Deborah Curtis with her father who was the inspiraton for her Lottery funded play. It will be performed by Field Theatre of Littleport.

Holding Hands is a powerful drama that the author says will resonate with anybody who has cared for a vulnerable loved-one.

Writer Deborah Curtis said: “I’m sure people may think, ‘A play about dementia, that sounds incredibly dull and not exactly a barrel of laughs.

“But as anyone who has had any experience of dementia will know, it is a roller-coaster condition.

“There are times of sadness and high drama, interspersed with moments of absurd comedy, and occasionally real terror.

“When a loved one is afflicted by a mental illness, those who care for them are often left struggling to cope. Information and advice can be hard to come by, and families can be left feeling as though we are embarking on a bewildering journey without a map.

“I came to this piece as an actress and writer, but most importantly as a daughter.

“Holding Hands highlights all the many aspects of dementia, from the ridiculous and bizarre to the utterly heart-breaking.

“I hope that audiences will feel free to laugh along with us at the absurdly comical episodes, while also gaining a greater awareness of the terrible impact of the condition.”

The Field Theatre Group have received National Lottery funding for the production which will be performed in the eastern region in 2018.

Deborah says it is a moving black comedy and a compelling exploration of the impact of dementia.

A story for our time, it is also a testimony to the power of love in a disintegrating landscape, she added.

Jennifer Stevens, Field Theatre chairman, and producer, said: “Holding Hands is The Field’s first foray into social issue drama, and we are very excited to be bringing this important new work to audiences next year.

“Dementia is a condition that affects over a million people in the UK, and this number is set to rise. Dementia is a national problem, but Holding Hands focuses the story very much on the personal.

“This is a resonant drama which packs a powerful social message. Based on real life personal testimonies, Holding Hands sheds light on the difficulties of dealing with the mental collapse of a loved one.

“Several of our production crew have had personal experience of coping with various forms of dementia, and this has added greatly to the creative process in this production.”

• Enquiries fieldtheatregroup@hotmail.co.uk.

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