Cinema, Memory and Wellbeing Festival at the Plaza Community Cinema

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The Plaza Community Cinema, in partnership with the University of Liverpool, held a Cinema, Memory and Wellbeing Festival in September-October aimed at older people, including those living with dementia and their carers.

The Festival began with a training session for carers and launched the ‘Cinema, Memory & Wellbeing Toolkit’ designed to assist carers in stimulating reminiscence and emotional wellbeing amongst older people. This was followed by two creative workshops, where carers and those they care for came together to create exotic headdresses and jewellery inspired by the Brazilian film star, Carmen Miranda.

Participants were then invited to wear their colourful creations to the Festival’s grand finale – a screening of one of Carmen Miranda’s film’s “That Night in Rio” at the Plaza Community Cinema, complete with live musical performances by local band Baiana (who singer, Laura Doyle performs Miranda’s songs in costumes that pay tribute to the star).

Also open to the public, the event attracted over 60 people, who were treated to complimentary refreshments and souvenir photos of themselves dressed as Carmen (or Charlie Chaplin for the gentlemen in the audience!)

Christine Physick, the Plaza’s Arts and Education Director, said: “We are really excited to be working closely with the University on the Cinema, Memory & Wellbeing Festival. This is an ideal partnership given the Plaza’s commitment to making the cinema dementia-friendly and its desire to utilise the unique potential of film to educate, inspire and promote a sense of wellbeing within the community.”

This initiative is the result of a five-year project led by Professor Lisa Shaw of the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Liverpool. The ‘Cinema, Memory and Wellbeing’ project, which has benefitted from HOP Pot funding, aims to help carers, both those working independently and staff in care homes, as well as occupational therapists, to maximise the wellbeing benefits of film viewing, particularly in a group situation.

For further details and/or to obtain a free copy of the ‘Cinema, Memory and Wellbeing’ toolkit, please email lisa.shaw@liverpool.ac.uk

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