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Theatre stars hand over quilt with lots of stories to tell

PUBLISHED: 16:55 02 October 2018

Cloth of Kindness handed over from the Norwich Theatre Royal's Creative Matters group to the Trust Day Care Centre team.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Cloth of Kindness handed over from the Norwich Theatre Royal's Creative Matters group to the Trust Day Care Centre team. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Words are at the centre of almost everything at our theatres - from song lyrics to play scripts to the “he’s behind you” of a pantomime audience.

Cloth of Kindness handed over from the Norwich Theatre Royal's Creative Matters group to the Trust Day Care Centre team.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYCloth of Kindness handed over from the Norwich Theatre Royal's Creative Matters group to the Trust Day Care Centre team. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

So it is appropriate that they took centre stage at a moving event yesterday.

Norwich Theatre Royal handed over a special quilt to a day care centre for those with dementia.

The quilt, or cloth of kindness, was created by a group of people with the condition and their carers, under the direction of artist Sally-Anne Lomas, during workshops at the theatre earlier this year.

The cloth of kindness is a project which brings together people to embroider their thoughts and experiences of kindness on individual patches which are then sewn together.

Cloth of Kindness handed over from the Norwich Theatre Royal's Creative Matters group to the Trust Day Care Centre team.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYCloth of Kindness handed over from the Norwich Theatre Royal's Creative Matters group to the Trust Day Care Centre team. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“Sewing is a very soothing activity,” Ms Lomas said. During the workshops people remembered relatives, friends and partners.

Stephen Crocker, the theatre’s chief executive, described the workshops as “serene”.

The quilt was handed over by Mr Crocker, with Mark Armstrong and Micah Balfour, cast members of Still Alice, a play telling the story of a Harvard professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, to the Trust Day Care Centre,

Those who had sewn the patches gathered to admire the finished quilt.

Norwich Theatre RoyalNorwich Theatre Royal

Margaret Edwards had sewn a patch with the words ‘He sang’ in memory of her husband Ivan. “He was in the navy,” she said. “He knew a lot of exceptionally rude songs. Given a quarter of a chance he would entertain anybody willing to listen. He also had a large repertoire of Shakespeare’s sonnets and he would quote them. He was really funny. He had dementia, but kept me on my toes.”

Ms Edwards said: “I wish I knew where it was going to be hung, I would come and look at it lots and lots.”

The original cloth of kindness was made by Ms Lomas for an exhibition on Julian of Norwich. The inspiration was the mystic’s belief that we are “enfolded in divine love”.

Still Alice star Mr Armstrong’s grandfather passed away with dementia and his grandmother currently has the condition. “Being able to focus on the quilt, stitching and sewing, allowed [the group] to be present in the room and able to recall things,” he said.

Still Alice runs until October 6 at the theatre.

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