Here at Verb, we have a special place in our hearts for those coping with Alzheimer’s Disease or related dementia as well as for their caregivers. This year we want to give something back to those individuals and families through our new pilot program, VIA: Verb’s Improv for Alzheimer’s.
The VIA Program was founded based on two truths:
1. Coping with Alzheime’rs can be deeply isolating and lonely for both those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and their families, but opportunities to socialize and build community with others going through similar experiences can drastically improve spirits for all involved.
2. For those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the opportunity to experience live performance as either spectator or participant often disappears. Improvisation, however, is an ideal artistic form for those suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease. Each scene can be short, fun, and requires no rehearsal. It’s a perfect creative outlet for loved ones who live in the moment, though their memories may have escaped them. Live performance provides a sense of inclusion, community, and joy for both audiences and participants.
With these two truths in mind, V.I.A. will offer free improvisational theatre classes to Calgarians living with Alzheimer’s and their family caregivers. Led by Calgary-based improviser Karen Johnson-Diamond and Verb Theatre Co-Artistic Director Col Cseke, these classes will aim to bring some much needed and joyful escape to families and individuals going through an emotionally and financially challenging time at no cost to participants.
This is a brand new program, and we need to ensure that we are approaching our new collaborators in the Alzheimer’s community with respect, care, and preparation. Your donations will support this development as well as the delivery of the VIA pilot program. This up-front investment will allow us to continue offering the program to Calgary families, at no-cost to them, for years and years to come.
The V.I.A. program is partly funded by The Calgary Foundation. Any funds raised above and beyond our initial goal will be put towards V.I.A. offerings in the fall of 2015, all proceeds will stay in the program and will go directly to offering this program at no cost to participants.