Opera Scotland

More Dementia-friendly performances

Posted 8 Jan 2017


Scottish Opera is staging two dementia-friendly performances of Puccini’s classic, La bohème: one at Theatre Royal Glasgow and one in collaboration with Festival Theatre Edinburgh.

This follows the Company’s landmark production of The Marriage of Figaro, the UK’s first dementia-friendly opera performance, at Festival Theatre Edinburgh in November 2016, made possible by the pioneering work of Scottish Opera and the Festival Theatre, supported by the Life Changes Trust.

In the two dementia-friendly performances of La bohème the role of Mimì is performed by Glasgow-born soprano, Nadine Livingston, a former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist. She is joined by Christopher Turner as Rodolfo, Adam Gilbert as Marcello, Nadine Benjamin as Musetta, Božidar Smiljani? as Schaunard, Damien Pass as Colline and Jonathan Best as Alcindoro.

The narrator is Allan Dunn, and Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark, conducts.


Taking place at Theatre Royal Glasgow on Saturday 13 May at 3pm, and Saturday 3 June at 3pm at Festival Theatre Edinburgh, these specially abridged performances have a running time of one hour 45 minutes including an interval, and are carefully designed to make the theatrical experience more accessible to people living with dementia. Sound and lighting levels are adjusted for the comfort of the audience, and the cast is joined on stage by a narrator. Audiences will also be able to go in and out of the auditorium during the performance and see the show in the foyer areas on TV screens.


Alex Reedijk, Scottish Opera’s General Director said: ‘Scottish Opera is proud and excited to stage a second dementia friendly opera production, with two performances of Puccini’s La bohème at Theatre Royal Glasgow and Festival Theatre Edinburgh. Our dementia friendly The Marriage of Figaro, a UK first presented with Festival Theatre Edinburgh, was a great success and we are pleased to continue opening up access to the arts to people living with dementia and bring another wonderful opera to a wider audience.’

Jane Davidson, Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education added: ’Following a successful pilot project which saw the UK’s first ever dementia friendly opera performance with The Marriage of  Figaro in November, Scottish Opera is delighted to continue our innovative approach towards assisting people living with dementia to access our productions through this specially adapted version of La bohème featuring a narrator linking key scenes and with adjustments to lighting and other special effects as appropriate.’


The performances are being staged as part of the run of Scottish Opera’s La bohème, which opens on 9 May at Theatre Royal Glasgow, and tours to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Inverness.


The dates also include audio-described performances and touch tours for audience members with visual impairment, free pre-show talks and Unwrapped events, free one-hour tasters to encourage first time attenders to opera.


Directed by Renaud Doucet and designed by André Barbe, the team behind 2014’s hit Don Pasquale has set Puccini’s romance amongst the jumble of Paris’s famous flea markets. The Jazz Age of Josephine Baker provides the inspiration for this production that is full of their trademark colour, character and style.


The introduction of dementia friendly performances builds on Scottish Opera’s existing work with people living with dementia. Since 2010, the Company’s Education and Outreach Department has run the Memory Spinners programme in Glasgow, which uses music, storytelling, movement and the visual arts to help people with dementia and their carers relax and get creative. This successful programme also recently launched in Edinburgh with workshops and performances taking place at the Festival Theatre.


© Copyright Opera Scotland 2024

Site by SiteBuddha