Over the past couple of years, Awen has worked in partnership with the Bridgend Carers Centre and the Kitsch n Sync Collective to give carers across the county borough surprise performances on their doorsteps.
The Kitsch n Sync Collective is a Cardiff-based theatre company whose performers fuse different dance genres, characters and props together, to create exciting, imaginative and memorable new work.
Carers were nominated by Bridgend Carers Centre to receive pop-up live performances from Kitsch n Sync at the times of year when they may feel a sense of increased isolation, such as Easter, Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
Feedback from carers and other partners in Bridgend Carers’ steering group suggested that one of the carers’ main pressures is the inability to plan and manage their own time, due to the unpredictable nature of caring and the dependency needs of those they care for. This can cause a feeling of isolation and monotony for carers, which the ‘doorbell dance’ project aimed to address.
Those who benefitted from a doorbell dance were surprised and touched they had been thought about, responding with many happy tears and hugs! As Nigel Cassidy of Maesteg commented, “I will remember this for the rest of the day, well actually the rest of my life!”
Jill Jones and her husband Philip from Porthcawl were especially touched by the performance:
“During the performance Philip kept smiling and laughing, which is not something that happens often these days. It was wonderful and such a surprise to see, I haven’t seen him smile or laugh like that for such a long time. That in itself was just wonderful, absolutely amazing. I was telling the carers that came the next day all about it that we had some naughty elves that visited us! My Grandson is back from University and I told him all about it, showing him our card and scroll. Thank you so so much. It was amazing.”
Nic Edwards, Creative Wellbeing Manager for Awen Cultural Trust added:
“Awen is committed to working long term with carers across Bridgend, and it is a real privilege to be able to take such high-quality arts experiences out of our theatres and see the joy and impact even just one performance can have on those impacted by social isolation. We hope to do more of this in the future.”
The project was especially important after the impact the Covid 19 pandemic had on communities and those caring for loved ones with illness or disabilities, with many still being cautious despite other areas of life having reopened up. As Barry Jenkins, Maesteg explained, “This is so incredible, all we have had is bad news for the last two years. We can’t believe you have done this for us.”
The project was supported by Bridgend County Borough Council’s Social Recovery Fund.