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Arts Gymnasium: A project which aims to use theatre, drama and arts based activities to raise general levels of health and well-being

Author: Koula Charitonos   4th November 2016

artgympicEarlier in October we celebrated the launch of the Arts Gymnasium project. The project, supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, is work in partnership between the Belgrade Theatre, Age UK Coventry and Coventry University.

The project uses theatre and arts activities to contribute to the quality of life and positive well-being of people living in Coventry. Weekly sessions, exclusively for people aged 50 and over, are currently run at the Belgrade Theatre. A particular strand of the programme is tailored to meet the needs of people living with memory impairments and/or early stage dementia.

The launch event took place on 6th October at the Belgrade Theatre. It included presentations from Arts Gymnasium partners, a live performance from Shine On (i.e. the Belgrade’s current over 50s group), and a presentation from the Alzheimer’s Society Coventry about their current services.

The Councillor Faye Abbott also spoke at the event about the Arts Gymnasium’s key role in Coventry’s development of its Age Friendly City initiative.

The project will be evaluated by researchers at Coventry University, led by Dr Katherine Wimpenny (DMLL). Dr Wimpenny explained that the evaluation will focus on what theatre performance and art activities can specially do for a wide range of people in the city. She also referred to the project’s unique position in the growing arts and health field as it will explore new methods for engaging some of the most vulnerable communities and will test theatre practice as a way of achieving health and wellbeing outcomes for the 50+ community, with impact on the wider community.

If you would like to know more about the project email us or come and talk to us at the DMLL:

Katherine Wimpenny

Koula Charitonos

Sarah Merry

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