We want everyone to have opportunities to get involved and experience the magic of theatre. For those living with dementia, arts has been proven to be exceptionally beneficial. In our new series of #stafftakeovers, we chat to Capital Theatres employee Dawn Irvine about her role in the organisation and why she loves working in theatre.
What's your job title?
Learning and Participation Co-ordinator (Dementia Friendly Projects)
Describe your job or a typical working day for you
As part of the learning and participation team we believe that everyone should have access to the arts and it’s my role to continue to embed dementia friendly (DF) best practice in all our planning and delivery.. I aim to do that by providing a stimulating, meaningful and participant driven DF programme which provides space and time to build friendly, supportive and understanding relationships. I create opportunities for people to connect and explore their creativity in a variety of ways. This may be through social as well as artistic engagements at live music tea parties, music making and creative sessions and opportunities to perform or watch quality dementia friendly shows. Most importantly for me is that the voices of those with lived experience of dementia and their loved ones are at the heart of everything I do and through their guidance and experience I ensure that we continue to provide a vibrant, positive experience that responds to their needs and aspirations.
How long have you worked at Capital Theatres?
A total of 3 years and 8 months, but with different roles!
What do you love most about your job?
The opportunity to combine my love and passion for the arts with working with and for a community of people with lived experience of dementia and watching them thrive through artistic experiences too is so rewarding.
When you watch someone truly enjoying the moment they are in, it’s priceless
What made you work in a theatre?
I think I was always destined to work in a theatre, I have moved away from the arts during my career but never felt as happy or fulfilled as when I am in a theatre environment on stage or off! I can’t imagine not working in the arts again.
What’s your fondest memory since working here?
I am very fortunate that within the dementia friendly work there are, honestly, special moments that make my day better every week. Recently, at our 25th birthday performance I had the opportunity to ballroom dance on stage with my dance partner, alongside people that I teach whilst a local Edinburgh Dementia Inclusive choir, The Forget Me Notes sang ‘Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head. It was a really lovely moment, one of the singers said ‘her husband and herself had now ticked something off their bucket list’
If you could switch places with a colleague for a day, what role would you like to do?
Duncan Hendry our CEO, I’d love to really know more about programming, being on a board and ‘the bigger picture’
Or something in technical because I am thoroughly clueless when it comes to anything involved back stage!
What has been your favourite show and what are you most looking forward to seeing?
I am a fan of the musicals so I have to say Cameron Mackintoshs’ Mary Poppins Plus it was priceless watching my daughter's reaction to some of the amazing tricks and dancing in the show.
I am really excited to see ‘Everybody's talking about Jamie’ because everybody is! And also Flutter at Christmas time, I love interactive and immersive performance and I think Tortoise in a Nutshell are a great company for little people.
Describe Capital Theatres in three works
Inspiring, quality and dedicated.