–submitted by Donna Hurd; photo by Jeff Smith
An enthusiastic, Jennifer Uphoff Gray, Artistic Director of Forward Theater Company presented a side of the artistic community that few know existed…its commitment to the community by educating, entertaining and connecting the community. In its 5th season, the Company strives to connect the work they do as artists to the community. Its latest endeavor tackles the subject of dementia, in general, and Alzheimer’s (the most common form of dementia) in particular. Through its partnership with the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, the theater is taking on an integral part in the understanding, communication and ultimately addressing alternative treatments for this debilitating disease.
Example after example was presented to highlight the profound role the Arts play in Alzheimer’s treatment. Clinicians and researchers alike are touting the benefits realized through music, art and story-telling therapy for patients and caregivers.
The Theater’s mission of connecting the work they do as artists to the community will begin on stage January 15 – February 2 with the presentation of “The Other Place,” an off-Broadway show about a research scientist on the cusp of the development of a new dementia drug as she struggles with personal hardships. Extending social conversations beyond the stage, the company offers talk backs (post-show discussions), pre-show lectures and the “Play Club” (in-depth discussions with the theater professionals) providing theater goers an opportunity to engage in thoughtful discussion about the subject matter at hand.
The culmination of this collaboration, will take place on Sunday, February 15, 2015, at Promega Corporation, 5445 E. Cheryl Parkway in Fitchburg from 1:00pm – 4:00pm. “Imagining to Remember” will be an interactive program for the general public, as well as caregivers, professionals, and others who work with people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. This interactive event features Professor Anne Basting, Director of the UW-Milwaukee Center on Age & Community and Founder of TimeSlips Creative Storytelling. TimeSlips is a method of engaging with those with memory loss using imagination and storytelling. Attendees will have the opportunity to experience specific creative engagement practices including Poetry, Visual Art, Movement and Music. A moderated Q&A panel will follow, featuring Anne Basting and other leaders of this innovative approach to connecting to those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
We applaud the efforts of Forward Theater Company in addressing the social concerns of our community through the arts!