According to the Alzheimer's Society, every three minutes, someone in the UK develops dementia. However, statistics from the Alzheimer's Society show that nearly two-thirds of people with dementia did not feel part of their community, and nearly half had lost friends.

It is vital that towns and cities across the country become dementia friendly and provide dementia friendly community-based activities for those with dementia and their caregivers. As a theatre, Norwich Theatre believes creativity is for all, and everyone should be able to access a community where everyone enjoys the theatre and the arts.

'We believe that theatre has the power to support positive change, improve people's wellbeing and allow the participants to have fun,' said Elspeth Hunter, creative engagement project manager.

Its Theatre Cares programme is for people living with mild to moderate dementia and their carers to explore music and singing. The project is a collaboration between Musical Keys and Norwich Theatre.

For Oliver Payne, programme manager at Musical Keys, music has the power to elicit both memories and emotions, 'which can provide an important link to an individual's past and a means of non-verbal communication with family and caregivers.'

Tessa Wingate, the musical therapist on the Theatre Cares programme, added: 'People living with dementia can seem to be locked inside themselves. But when involved in a musical experience, I've seen countless times they relax and become communicative and outgoing.'

The Theatre Cares sessions each fortnight welcome everyone into the beautiful long bar of Norwich Theatre Royal. There is a chance to catch up with everyone before the class with tea and coffee before being led through the day's workshop, which has a different focus each week. There are lots of musical instruments to play. 'Participants can get hands-on with drums, chimes, a harp, a hammered dulcimer and various stringed and percussion instruments, as well exploring singing and song writing through different genres including folk and blues,' said Tessa.

All workshops are relaxed and set at a leisurely pace. Participants take part in whichever way they are comfortable or able, and no prior music experience is necessary.

Caregivers are encouraged to come along to ensure everyone feels as relaxed as possible in a new environment and to give caregivers time together too. It is also hoped that the shared experience will strengthen the connection between the person living with dementia and their caregiver.

'Theatre Cares prioritises enjoyment, escapism and nurturing the relationship between carers and those with dementia. By offering opportunities outside of clinical settings, Norwich Theatre hopes to offer an alternative experience that brings participants and caregivers together to share experiences and support one another,' added Elspeth.

For more information, visit