Based on research by academics from Newcastle University, UK, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, with German documentary-based arts company Costa Compagnie, Between Worlds is a new immersive theatre work that looks at the different experiences of European and North American patients, their families and the Thai caregivers who look after them.
The World Health Organisation estimates that, worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia. This is projected to reach 82 million in 2030 and 152 million in 2050.
The physical, emotional and financial pressures of caring for an elderly relative with dementia can often cause great stress to families and lead them to consider placing their relative in a care home. And with demand – and costs – for care for dementia patients increasing, families in Europe and North America are increasingly looking abroad for possible solutions.
The team spent three weeks filming and conducting interviews in care facilities in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Between Worlds weaves together threads of real conversations from this research into a narrative that conveys the lived experiences of patients, family members, caregivers and management.
Dr Caleb Johnston, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Newcastle University, said: “This is a unique project that sits at the crossroads of performance, film, journalism, and social science. We hope that this work will contribute to a much-needed conversation about the physical and emotional challenges that families and carers face in providing dementia care, and the ways in which people are organising themselves in difficult conditions.”
Between Worlds is aimed at people caring for a family member with dementia, those working in the care sector, organisations working with older people, and people interested in research-based performance.
Each night, the performance will be followed by a facilitated discussion about the issues raised by the research.
Between Worlds – Global Tales of Outsourcing Dementia Care will be performed at Ballhaus Ost, Berlin, 7-9 November and at Northern Stage, Newcastle, 13-15 November.