“Setting the Stage for Successful Caregiving”
In 2007, Joan Lipkin taught a six month class in expressive theatre
for people with Alzheimers and early stage dementia, concluding
with a sold out performance of the class’s Think Tank Players.
It was so well received, we were asked to create a second project
for the St. Louis Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. This
time, we are using performance to highlight the way real caregivers
deal with the everyday challenges of giving care to patients affected
by Alzheimer’s Disease. Utilizing a variety of improvisational
techniques including Playback Theatre, “Spolin Games,” and work
by Paul Sills and Augusto Boal, performers involve and unite the
audience by enacting moments of joy, confusion, love, and frustration
from the caregiving experience as well as strategies for coping.
The project includes a performance at The Joanne Parrish Knight
Spring Caregiving Conference at The Ethical Society of St. Louis. (more...)
What we are doing...
Building on the success of THINK TANK, a project we developed
that focused on creating theatre with people with early stage dementia
and Alzheimer’s, That Uppity Theatre Company has turned its attention
to the caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s.
Much has been said and written about Alzheimer's, a disease which
affects 5.3 million people in the United States. Though advances
have been made in the treatment of patients with Alzheimer's, precious
little has been said about their caregivers, who are the unsung
heroes in the struggle to combat the effects of Alzheimer's. The
role of family caregiver is ever changing. As a loved one with
memory loss goes through the stages of Alzheimer’s disease, their
needs change and so does the type of care they require. Caregivers
must adapt and find ways to cope with the challenges of this constant
At the 2009 Annual Joanne Parrish Knight Caregiver Conference hosted
by The St. Louis Ethical Society, actors with That Uppity Theatre
Company use performance to highlight the way real caregivers deal
with these everyday challenges. That Uppity
Theatre Company Artistic
Director Joan Lipkin describes the innovative performance method
she uses: “I ask members of the audience to volunteer stories or
experiences with caregiving. I then relay those moments to the
actors and they enact the scene. Sometimes, we ask audience members
for their strategies for dealing with difficult situations and
then theatrically play those out as well.”
Lipkin stresses that no one is put on the spot or asked to disclose
a private moment if they choose not to. The point of the performance
is not to bring undesired attention to individuals, but to share
universal experiences of caregivers and support their efforts.
She says, “Caregivers often go unnoticed. They may neglect their
own needs. This program is meant to illustrate what they do, what
they give, how important they are and to offer strategies for coping.”
Using theatre in engaging and entertaining ways to address difficult
subject matter is not new to That Uppity Theatre
humor is a hallmark of much of our company’s focus which includes
working with people with disabilities, LGBT youth and adults and
women with cancer among other populations.
The program starts at 7:00 pm., Thursday, May 28, 2009 at The Ethical
Society of St. Louis, located at 9001 Clayton Road in St. Louis,
MO. “Tuition” is $15.