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Edinburgh Festival Theatre to stage UK’s first dementia-friendly opera

Scottish Opera's production of The Marriage of Figaro in 2010. Photo: Mark Hamilton Scottish Opera's production of The Marriage of Figaro in 2010. Photo: Mark Hamilton
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The UK’s first dementia-friendly opera performance is to be staged at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre.

Scottish Opera will perform a shortened version of its production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro on November 12, with special adjustments to make it easier for those with dementia to watch.

As well as reduced sound and lighting levels for the comfort of the audience, there will be an onstage narrator guiding them through the production.

Audience members will also be able to come and go during the performance, and may leave the auditorium to watch the production on TV screens set up in the theatre’s foyer.

Hailing the plan, Scottish Opera general director Alex Reedijk, said: “This initiative builds on the success of the work that both parties have already undertaken to open up access to the arts to people living with dementia, and we are very proud to continue to bring opera performance to a wider audience.”

The Festival Theatre’s dementia-friendly communities coordinator described the performance as a “landmark event”, and said it would likely be “the first of many in our ongoing and ever expanding dementia-friendly programme”.

Scottish Opera already runs weekly groups in Glasgow and Edinburgh for people with dementia and their carers, which uses music, storytelling and movement to help them relax and engage with the arts.

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