‘Through The Glass’ Reminiscence Stories booklet launched in Newtownabbey

Stories and poems created as part of c21 Theatre Company’s ‘Through The Glass’ The Reminiscence Project in 2020, have been compiled and published into a special booklet.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 11:20 am

Care home residents and day centre service users from across Northern Ireland, including Rathcoole’s Inniscoole Day Centre, contributed to the project.

Called ‘Through The Glass’ Reminiscence Stories, the booklet was supported by The National Lottery Community Fund and Doyle Shipping Group.

Working against the backdrop of the pandemic and within Covid-19 guidelines, ‘Through The Glass’ The Reminiscence Project 2020 used ‘reminiscent boxes’ containing historical items ranging from powdered milk in WWII to 1970s shoes to help stimulate conversations among residents and create personal stories.

Actors Christina Nelson, Eoghan Lamb and Colm McCready at Inniscoole Day Centre in Newtownabbey.

Activity coordinators located in the homes facilitated workshops to gather stories which provided writers Gary Wilson, Tom Rowntree-Finlay and poet Shelley Tracey with content for a series of theatrical scenes.

The scenes were made into short films which were distributed to the care homes, as well as broadcast on c21 Theatre Company’s YouTube channel, during November and December 2020.

Extracts from ‘Through the Glass’ Reminiscence Stories booklet, compiled by poet Shelley Tracey, will be presented and performed as part of c21 Theatre Company’s tour to five of the care homes involved in the project.

Following a public competition, the booklet’s cover illustration was designed by Strabane-based artist Berni Bradley of Bradley Art.

The illustration was inspired by her own interactions with tutoring older age groups and use of artefacts that evoke reminiscence to stimulate creativity.

Director of ‘Through the Glass’ The Reminiscence Project Stephen Kelly, c21 Theatre Company, said: “Through the Glass’ The Reminiscence Project has been an incredible journey for everyone involved.

“In the face of a once in the lifetime pandemic we were fortunate to be in a position to work with a range of partners who supported us to create meaningful and creative content, provide a voice for the social care sector, the residents and provide vital employment for those working in the arts sector.

“We are very grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund and Doyle Shipping Group for their support throughout the making of the ‘Through the Glass’ Reminiscence Stories booklet.

“It is a privilege to revisit some of the care homes as part of our NI tour and perform some of the stories and poems featured. It is our way to say thank you for giving us such wonderful stories to share, for future generations to enjoy, and for inspiring us during challenging times.”

Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director of The National Lottery Community Fund, added: “We are delighted to fund this booklet, which is giving care home residents a voice to tell their stories, capture important memories and in turn, improve their wellbeing.

“National Lottery players raise around £30 million every week across the UK for good causes like this, and they can be proud to know that it is making such a difference to people in Northern Ireland.”

Sean McCready, Director of Doyle Shipping Group, Belfast stated: “It has been a real pleasure for us to be involved in such a beautiful project with c21 Theatre Company.

“We can never really appreciate the times our parents, grandparents and great grandparents lived in, but these snapshots take us back to their time. Our employees got to watch all the films together and felt privileged to have contributed in some way to the process.”

‘Through the Glass’ Reminiscence Stories booklet will be available to the residents, service users, care home providers and families. For a downloadable copy of the booklet and for further information, visit www.c21theatrecompany.com

Follow c21 Theatre Company (@c21Theatre) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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