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    The Fish Bowl

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    Event description

    How does a person with Dementia experience the world?

    How can we better connect with people in the often challenging environment of aged care?

    The Fish Bowl is an award-winning theatre piece exploring themes of communication, ageing, and identity through the real-life stories of people living with Dementia in a South Australian memory unit. The play celebrates the rich character’s you find there, the wisdom they impart, and the ways in which carers and nurses can find creative new forms of communication.

    Winner of the 2022 BankSA Award for Best Theatre and Physical Theatre at the Adelaide Fringe.

    "This new local work is a touching and challenging exploration of life in aged care, and of the experience of living with dementia.'

    InDaily ★★★★                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Advertiser ★★★★
    Barefoot Review ★★★★

    Currently more than 436,000 Australians live with dementia and without a medical breakthrough this is estimated to increase to more than one million by 2058 (Dementia Australia’s Strategic Plan 2018). Dementia is the greatest cause of disability for people over 65 years of age in Australia with 52% of people in Aged Care being affected. The 2021 Royal Commission into Aged Care findings triggered both local and national conversations into the way our society treats older people. Often this conversation becomes politicised while ignoring the voices of people who are affected by the system. This production speaks straight to the heart of how we can better value and connect with some of the most vulnerable people within our society through telling their versions of the story.

    The Fish Bowl has been made in direct consultation and collaboration with a South Australian Memory Unit, where playwright Matthew Barker has worked and built relationships with patients, families and staff over the past six years. While working as a Carer, Matthew (BCA Drama Centre) has recorded conversations and written down interactions between healthcare professionals and residents from the home. These recorded interactions illustrate both heartbreaking moments of miscommunication, and glowing moments of connection. During Matthew’s time as a divisional therapist he has come to comprehend how misunderstood dementia is within our local community and how traditional communication styles have become a barrier to accessing vital wisdom.

    Matt teamed up with Director Steph Daughtry, where they developed Matthew’s initial writing through a devised theatre method. Steph’s directing style utilises a devised theatre technique which constructs story, themes and emotional arc through workshopping in direct practice-led collaboration with actors. She masterfully adopts immersive and interactive techniques to connect with audiences, encouraging a deeper connection between with story. With further support from actor Evie Leonard, The Fish Bowl debuted as part of The Mill’s program at the Adelaide Fringe in 2022, winning the Bank SA Best Theatre and Physical Theatre Award.

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