Navigating Margaret

Navigating Margaret

Based on real-life stories gathered from our successful Suitcase Stories project in partnership with Museums Worcestershire, Navigating Margaret, is an exciting theatre production about a Worcestershire woman’s journey through the diagnosis of dementia. The script was developed as an R and D through the first lockdown with funding from Arts Council England and now we are turning it in to a play!

The production will be performed at Malvern Cube in Worcestershire for 3 shows ONLY, Friday 24 7PM, Saturday 25 March 2PM (relaxed performance) and 7PM 2023. Written and directed by Helen Tennison, an International Director, the show will beautifully bring to the stage the rich stories collected from Worcestershire residents, living with dementia.

What’s really exciting is that we are involving local residents in the production. The cast will be a mix of 3 professional actors, 4 emerging actors and 12 local people, including children and young people and older adults as well as a dementia choir being recorded.

Navigating Margaret is a magical journey about living with dementia. Set in Worcester, it is inspired by true-life stories, gathered from across Worcestershire through the ground breaking Suitcase Stories project.

Once a quick-witted female pilot, Margaret is getting increasingly forgetful and erratic, so her son Graham encourages her to get a diagnosis. A familiar story perhaps, but Margaret’s ensuing journey through stages of dementia is anything but pedestrian. The action flashes back and forth between her family struggling to cope with her gradual changes and the tangled memories of her earlier life. Her 1950’s childhood in her family’s hairdressers, working at the carpet factory, courting Charlie at tea dances, and becoming one of the first airwomen in Worcestershire.

Directed and written by international director Helen Tennison, the play is a tale of sadness, love, hope, and a celebration of Worcestershire’s rich history, through the eyes of an extraordinary, everyday woman. The cast is a mix of professional and community actors from the local area and features a recorded choir of people living with dementia.

There will be a Q&A session after each show to discuss the play, with Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire and the artistic team.

Watch the short trailer HERE

Watch the film of the theatre show HERE

Watch the trailer for the Navigating Margaret tour 2024 HERE

Audience quotes

“Congratulations to all on such a sensitive, deep, moving, relevant and uplifting, work of art so deftly delivered”

“I think everybody should see Suitcase Stories. People living with dementia ( if you can get them to sit still ! ), carers , carer’s friends and family, even people who have no connection at all to Dementia …. this would really help them to understand….even though everybody’s dementia is different , many of the themes explored unite us”

“The play stands as a great story to tell in its own right – brilliantly directed, casted and acted; an utterly watchable, well-written, informative, emotional and marvellously creative show! That it is about living with dementia feels like a bonus”

Nationally 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 are living with dementia now. The Malvern Hills district in particular, has an increasingly large older population, of which many will sadly have dementia. We’re confident this play will help raise much needed awareness about this condition, encouraging understanding and acceptance as well as being an amazing production.



After training at Rose Bruford’s Drama School Illona worked in repertory theatre for several years. She later formed her own company, writing and commissioning plays. In London she has acted at The Arcola, Lyric Hammersmith, Playhouse Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Young Vic, National and RSC Theatre Companies. She recently worked with the Dot Collective, Bedouin Shakespeare, Punch Drunk, SLG Co. and Swamp Motel playing many glorious parts. Television work includes series Within These Walls, Shadow of the Noose, The Flockton Flyer, The Bill and several plays for Today. With her one woman plays she has toured many parts of the world.


Morgan trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Theatre: The Merchant of Venice (RSCThe 101 Dalmatians (Birmingham Rep) Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part 5! (Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue) Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, The Tempest (Stafford Castle), The Importance of being Earnest, The Secret Adversary, Peter Pan, Treasure Island, Gulliver’s Travels, Arabian Nights, Pinocchio, The Snow Queen (Watermill TheatrePartners In Crime (Queen’s Theatre, HornchurchLarisa And The Merchants (Arcola TheatreBleak HouseKing Lear, As You Like It, Henry V (Creation TheatreMacbethMerry Wives Of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Comedy Of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V (Guildford Shakespeare CompanyThe Sound of Music (Kilworth HouseDick Turpin’s Last Ride (Bury St. Edmunds Theatre RoyalLarkrise To Candleford (New PerspectivesDon Quixote (Croydon WarehouseTwelfth Night, George’s Marvellous Medicine (Birmingham Stage CompanyJames And The Giant Peach (Northampton Theatre Royal) Pinocchio (Polka TheatreBeauty and the Beast, Robin Hood (Little Wolf EntertainmentMuch Ado About Nothing, Othello, Hamlet (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory).

Film and Television: Casualty (BBCCoronation Street (ITVDoctors (BBCThen Voyager (Filmro ProductionsThe Story Of George Muller (CTABeau Brummel (BBC).


Karen graduated in 2020 with a first class honours degree in Drama from The University of Gloucestershire.  She has played a diverse range of roles from Shakespeare to modern day plays in theatres in Bath and Bristol. Her theatre credits include : Paulina in The Winter’s Tale, Boxer in Animal Farm, Helen in Road and Molly Beak in The Madam. Most recently she played Widow Twankey in Aladdin. Karen also works as a therapeutic actor for Barnados helping prospective adoptees understand communication with children who have experienced trauma.


Charlotte graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2020 as one of the BBC Radio Drama Carleton Hobbs Winners. Credits include: Theatre: Earthquakes In London (Bristol Old Vic Studio) The Tempest (Nottingham Playhouse) A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Nottingham Playhouse) The Great Gatsby: A LIVE Radio Play (Blue Orange Theatre) Screen: The Jacket (BBC Arts) & Radio: Peking Noir (Radio 3), Life Is A Radio In The Dark (Radio 3), Gudrun (Radio 4), Franklin (Radio 4), The Devils (Radio 4), London Particular (Radio 4) & Richard II (Shakespeare@, New York)


Maya (They/Them) is an emerging multidisciplinary performer who graduated with a First Class degree in BA Drama and Theatre Arts (University of Birmingham) in July 2022.Their early professional credits include Dancer/Dance Artist (Curfew, Calico Theatre, 2022) and Role-Play Actor (Brave Conversations Training, The Queen’s Nursing Institute, 2022). They have been training in Hip Hop dance with award-winning company Boy Blue Entertainment since September 2022. Maya is thrilled to be working on Navigating Margaret – a play created with local communities, containing subject matter close to their family.


Will is an up-and-coming emerging actor based in the Midlands. He recently graduated from the University of Worcester with a 1st Class Honours in (BA) Theatre, Acting, and Performance. He is also a strong contemporary dancer, choreographer and physical theatre performer. Previous credits include:
TV: (BBC) Poldark, (ITV) Doc Martin and acclaimed German Television programme (FFP New Media) Rosemunde Pilcher Collections.
Theatre: (Wildworks) I Am Kevin, (Cube Theatre) The Crucible.


Eliza is an up and coming versatile talent with experience in both Theatre and Film. Having graduated with a 1st Class Honours in Theatre, Acting and Performance, from the University of Worcester, she is also an associate artist of Strange Futures.
Previous credits include:
Theatre: Strange Futures – ‘The Tree Rings’, Strange Futures – ‘The Last Restaurant’, PW Productions – ‘An Inspector Calls’ – Milton Keynes Theatre
Short Film: T A P E Collective Ltd ‘Essex Girls’

Child Margaret and her siblings will be played by local children and young people and Margaret’s mum and Aunts will be played by local adult community actors.

Assistant Director- Vivi Bayliss

Vivi Bayliss is a freelance theatre-maker from the Midlands, specialising in inter-disciplinary performance. Her experience covers musical theatre, opera and devising, as well as an extensive background in providing theatre for young people at companies including Chipping Norton Theatre and Millfield School. Directing credits include A Ton of Feathers for NSDFA Midsummer Night’s Dream and Love and Information for Millfield School and Tubes and Tribulations for The Hope Theatre. Assisting credits include The Things You Do For Love  for National Opera StudioDon Giovanni and L’coronazione di Poppaea for Saluzzo Opera Academy.


Design- Zahra Mansouri

Zahra Mansouri graduated in Theatre Design for Performance at Central Saint Martins, she also trained as a competitive Ballroom Dancer this experience would shape her practice with work rooted in understanding movement and interaction with space. At ease designing large and small scale projects and working abroad Zahra has a wealth of experience spanning genres with a variety of skills that gives each project its own unique personality. During her early years Zahra was Associate designer at Fourth Monkey TC. Over 10 years of collaborating on rep seasons she created 75 productions some of which transferred. This undertaking of managing departments, interacting with large companies of training performers and producing multiple shows with fast turnovers at such a young was a unique experience that would ground and refine her practise.

Sound design- Matt Eaton

Lighting design- Dan Parry


Adults £15 Children £8 and unemployed, low income and disabled concessions available £5

Running time approximately 2hrs with interval. Suitable for anyone aged 8 years plus. Relaxed performance 24 March 2pm. All shows BSL interpreted. If you need to be seated near to the interpreter please let us know

Venue address Malvern Cube, Albert Road North, Malvern, WR14 2YF. Car park and on road parking available.

PLEASE NOTE the first scene is being performed outside on the Malvern Cubes’ grounds on the grass. Please bring suitable footwear for grass. There maybe some mud especially if it has been raining.

We want to thank the many people and organisations that have helped to fund and support this play.





Love Music Leamington

Love Music Leamington

Thanks to funding from Leamington Town Council we can offer 9 weekly singing sessions with Claire Fowler at Dale St Methodist Church, Leamington Spa. There is so much research that singing is good for your well-being and its a chance to meet new like minded friends. There is an hour of singing and also a chance to socialise over a cup of tea and a biscuit. Its only £32 a month (£8 a session) payable a month in advance and the carer or loved one goes free! Fridays 11am to 12.15pm. Suitable for older people including those living with dementia.

Contact Jenny to book and more information 07946 585978

The leaflet is HERE


Arts and Dementia Warwickshire

Arts and Dementia Warwickshire


Arts and Dementia Warwickshire is an arts programme for people living with dementia and their carers living in Warwickshire in the community, in In Patient wards and also in care homes. It has been commissioned by Warwickshire County Council. It is a varied programme for 2 years including singing, performance poetry, arts and crafts, dance/movement, storytelling and reminiscence therapy. Alongside this there is some training for care staff as well.

The arts are proven to improve well-being, cognitive mental health and reduce isolation and loneliness. See our Impact studies on the Impact page. You do not need a diagnosis of dementia to attend. if you have any access needs please do let us know and we can see how we can help. The commissioned service is finishing in July 2023 and we are now not taking anymore referrals, but we are busily fundraising currently to continue our workshops so watch this space.

See more on overview HERE or watch our FILM

Current Community Programme 

Movement, Music and Memories at  Kenilworth Library and other workshops in Southam, Stratford Upon Avon and Bedworth (funding dependent!)


Can’t come to one of our courses? There are other arts workshops running across Warwickshire and ideas for arts activities HERE

Contact 07946 585978


Claire Fowler and Karen Hill delivered singing

Download the singing activity resource to use at home HERE


Nicky Bellenger delivered Storytelling

A story written by Warwick Day Opps as part of the programme is HERE

Download the storytelling activity resource HERE


Jessica Hartshorn delivered arts and crafts.

Download the arts activity resource to use at home HERE


Rob Gee from Escape Arts delivered Memories Alive- sharing stories and poetry.

Download the activity resource HERE


Kath Kimber McTiffin delivered movement to music

Download the activity resource HERE


Helen Fountain delivered Reminiscence with nostalgic objects from the 40s to the 70s with WRAP (Warwickshire Reminiscence Action Project)

Download the reminiscence activity resource to do at home HERE

Transport information

If you do not drive or can’t get public transport then contact VASA the community transport organisation for Warwickshire and they can help. Or if you live in Nuneaton and Bedworth district then also try Volunteer Friends

Also for South Warwickshire try Back and 4th Community Transport 

Contact 07946 585978 for more information

Activity Providers Training Programme

Current CPD (Continuing Professional Development ) courses

Movement to Music with Luck Knight at Lanesborough House care home, Coleshill Monday 26June 10am to 3pm More information HERE

To book contact or 07946 585978

Please do look at our FREE activity resources

Reminiscence Activity Resource by Helen Fountain click HERE

Creative Writing by Rob Gee and Escape Arts click HERE

Storytelling Activity Resource by Nicky Bellenger Click HERE


Inside Stories 3

Inside Stories 3

Funded by The National Lottery Community Fund Inside Stories 3 is a series of 6 weeks arts workshops for people with mental health issues (anxiety, depression, low mood etc.) such as Script-Writing for Well Being, Well Being Choir, Song-Writing and Storytelling.

For more information contact Jenny Davis, Arts Uplift 07946 585978

To book go to and search for the start date

Participant feedback
“Good mix of activities, and very inclusive. Better than traditional counselling session”
“I’m so glad I came out, I haven’t been out for ages, its done me the world of good!”

ONLINE Storytelling for Well Being Thursdays 13,20,27 January 3,10,17 February 2022 7-8.30pm
In this short online course Holly will talk about the significance of stories in our society, before learning simple techniques for weaving our own tales. We will look at how we can use storytelling to reframe life events, build confidence, process our emotions around past life events and to connect with others. Slowly through the weeks we will build on our stories, developing new skills as we go. By the end of the course each participant will have learnt how to tell a compelling story that draws in an audience, as well as exploring ways we can perform our stories to others.

See Holly introducing the course HERE

Learning outcomes

To understand and discuss the construction of stories as well as having a good understanding of the practice of storytelling.

To design your own story, have a good understanding of how a compelling story is structured and create some well developed and engaging characters.

They understand how storytelling techniques can be used to support your own wellbeing.

Aimed at This course is aimed at anyone looking to find creative coping strategies that can improve mental wellbeing.

Course Tutors Professional Artist from Arts Uplift and support volunteer

Duration Six, 1½ hour sessions over consecutive weeks






Warwickshire Pandemic Stories

Warwickshire Pandemic Stories

Arts Uplift CIC have been commissioned by Warwickshire County Council to deliver 3 exhibitions and related engagement activities from 3 artists with different approaches and disciplines that will tell stories of the pandemic, so far, from the point of view of new mothers, NHS frontline staff, those who shielded, older people, neighbourhood communities & ethnically diverse communities from across Warwickshire, displayed in 6 Towns. Arts Uplift  will reach out to participants from the wider Warwickshire community across all age groups & generations. Each strand will be structured by the artist and infilled organically by participants, enabling the final exhibitions to be relevant, give a sense of place & community, and a visual display of shared experiences & emotions. The commissioned artists are Julia Snowdin, Creative Solutions and Michelle Flint.

If you would like to know more about the project then contact 07946 585978

Also like our social media pages  Instagram @Warwickshire_Art_Stories and Facebook WarwickshireArtStories

Watch a short video about the project HERE 

Listen to some of the interviews in full HERE

Photos by David Grange, Creative Solutions

Exhibition for Leamington and Rugby commissioned artists Creative Solutions, Jacqui and David Grange

The interviews
David interviewed people from NHS frontline staff, people that were shielding, older people and people from Black or Asian communities. They brought in an object that represents the pandemic for them that will stimulated conversation. These conversations were filmed and he took a studio photo of the person as well as audio recordings. These will be archived for the Warwickshire museums collections. The Interviews took place in July and August 2021.

The exhibition
Jacqui will then use those stories gathered and interpret them in to a 3d art installation approximately 75cm wide. The installation will use text & images based on the stories gathered along with sound. The final artwork will be based on the stories gathered, and is likely to include powerful text statements from people’s testimonies and a combination of drawn and photographed elements, in 3D format. The artists will print onto diebond/transparent signwriters vinyl onto transparent polycarbonate – to create high quality professional/non fade images.

The Exhibition piece will likely be an immersive, colourful experience for audiences, reflecting the powerful image from lockdown of the “Rainbow”, displayed at Warwick Tourist Information Centre and Rugby Library, with audiences able to comment on the exhibition through a Comment Book & Social Media Channels.

The installation will be shown in Warwick from 9th November 2021 to mid January 2022 and then in Rugby from mid January 2022 to end of March 2022. Click HERE to see a short video of it.

Exhibitions for Atherstone and Bedworth commissioned artist Julia Snowdin

The workshops
The workshops took place with community groups that engage with new mums. Julia ran two workshops, one in Atherstone and one in Bedworth to engage with different communities. This was to see if the experience differed for different groups. In the workshops the mums were invited to freely chat about their experience, Julia facilitated this and was able emphasise with them as she had her own baby in January 2021. The conservations were recorded with the help of Warwickshire museum staff and she is writing blogs about the process. To create a relaxed atmosphere, she led some simple circular drawing and painting activities. For the activity she asked the mums to think about themselves as a circle and the ‘village’ they have or haven’t had supporting them over the last year and how this felt. These paintings and drawings have influenced how the circular forms are laid out in the installation. The paintings and drawings will be added to the museum archive.

The workshops took place during July and August 2021 with TotsClubHouse in Atherstone and Bedworth Children’s Centre in groups of up to 10 to make them as safe as possible. She provided each participant with their own equipment to work with to stop cross contamination.

Read Julia’s blog HERE about the workshops

The exhibition

‘It takes a village to raise a baby’. During the pandemic women have being having babies on their own without a village to support them. There are some positives to this, in the first few weeks families have been able to bond on their own without a flurry of visitors. There are definitely negatives too, when it gets too much friends and family can’t come into your home to help. Julia wants to explore the experience of having a baby during Covid-19 and really focusing on the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a baby’ and how this has affected families both positively and negativing and then make an artwork in response to this.

The artwork will be a hanging light installation that will be showed in empty shops, in the town centres of Atherstone and Bedworth. The installation will be made from circular forms to represent the mums and their new families. The circles will be connected to further circular forms, the amount each circle is attached to will differ depending on the amount of connections that the mum has had. The colours of each form will be either a positive coloured light (yellow) to depict a positive experience or a negative coloured (red) to show a negative experience.

During the winter months the installation will create a playful, warming visual in the town centre’s for visitors to admire and to think about the experience that new mothers have had during the pandemic. The installation will be shown in the town centre’s that the workshops took place. It will be installed in empty shops so it can be viewed with social distancing.

The installation will be at Bedworth Civic Hall from 25 November 2021 to 20 January 2022 and then in an empty shop in Atherstone until the end of March. Click HERE to see a short video of the installation.

Read Julia’s blog  HERE about the design processes

Exhibitions for Stratford Upon Avon and Nuneaton commissioned artist Michelle Flint

The Workshops
Michelle has delivered 6 x 2hr workshops (3 in Stratford and 3 in the Nuneaton area) for communities that have been shielding, children and young people, volunteers and also from culturally diverse communities . Participants in the workshops have been asked to share their experiences and stories of lockdown and through the pandemic and express those on to paper through embroidery, mono printing, painting and collage. These artworks haven then been photographed and incorporated into the design. The original artwork will be created into a concertina type book. Participants were also  asked to bring along an object which represented the pandemic to them. Workshops took place in July and August 2021 with Escape Arts Stratford and Nuneaton, Graham Adams Centre, Linking Futures Project and Nuneaton Mosque elders group.

The exhibition
In response to the discussions and works created during workshops, 1 exhibition of a large embroidered textile wall hanging 3m x 1.5m will be displayed in the windows of vacant retail units in Stratford-upon-Avon & Nuneaton. The artwork will feature a scene from the towns where the activities are based, themes discussed in the workshops will create artworks which will be incorporated throughout the design with fabric pockets designed for letters or artefacts (or photos of them) placed in them.

The original artwork will also be printed onto two vinyl banners, to preserve the art work for an Outdoor Display. The exhibition will be displayed November 2021 to 5 January 2022 in the old H & M shop near Debenhams at Bell Court, Stratford Upon Avon and mid January 2022 to end of March 2022 in a Nuneaton empty shop. Click HERE to see a short video about it.

Drawing by 18 year old Chloe


Love Music- Bromsgrove

Love Music- Bromsgrove

Love Music is our monthly music sessions running on the third Tuesday of the month from 2pm-3.15pm thanks to funding from Arts Council England, Bromsgrove District Council, Bromsgrove Lions and Baron Davenport Charity. It’s suitable for older people including people living with dementia. It runs from Bromsgrove Methodist Church and is £5 per couple. Carers are welcome also.

We have a variety of musicians that deliver the hour sessions from jazz, folk, drumming, classical and rock n’ roll. They are all professional musicians and perform regularly. The music will be mostly familiar to participants but sometimes it is also nice to hear a new piece of music.

The sessions are fun and relaxed and sometimes requests can also be taken. You can see some of the artists that regularly perform on the Love Music Lock Down Videos project tab on this website.

For more information about the dates and artists the leaflet is HERE 

To book contact Jenny 07946 585978


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