Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Spare Tyre’s The Garden review – ‘transformative experience for people living with dementia’

Spare Tyre's The Garden. Photo: Patrick Baldwin Spare Tyre's The Garden. Photo: Patrick Baldwin

Spare Tyre Theatre Company continues its creative engagement with the care sector with this gentle, participatory piece for people with dementia. A multi-sensory depiction of the seasons, the performance uses digital projection, music and non-verbal communication to connect with individuals whose powers of self-expression have been affected by their condition.

The Garden moves through its transformations in an engrossing, interactive style – tidy enough to fit into the quiet room in a care home or a side ward in a hospital. Three performers bring the outdoors into an intimate space. Participants are invited to scrunch fallen leaves or simply watch them whirl around the walls, listen to the splash of a sudden shower and hum along as musician Nick Cattermole plays ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ on his flute or accompanies a recording of summer birdsong and bee buzz on a dulcimer.

Actors Yolande Bramble-Carter and Charlotte Croft, under the direction of Arti Prashar, have mastered a warm, ‘person-centred’ approach to audience participation. They establish eye contact, return smiles and offer memory-jogging activities. They gauge the extent to which individuals respond to, and focus on the folding of a tablecloth, +footage of a tiny songbird cast on to a forearm using a dinky hand-held projector, or a hand massage with flower-scented lotion.

The result is a an experience that for audience members – service-users and carers alike – melds the workaday rituals of the care home with the sensory pleasures of each season in the garden, creating a little blooming of serenity in potentially stressful environment.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Genial, transformative theatrical experience for people living with dementia