Radio Drama

An innovative 10-week project brought 8 carers from east Belfast together with writer, Jan Carson and musician, Nick Boyle to create two short radio dramas based on the experience of being a carer.  The project also developed a unique toolkit to create opportunities for carers and organisations to share their experiences.  The Artful Ageing toolkit, delivered by EastSide Arts and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Arts & Older People Programme, provides a platform for conversations about being and supporting carers. 


Jack is a full-time carer in his mid-seventies. He looks after his wife Myrtle in their own home. Myrtle has recently been diagnosed with Dementia and is becoming increasingly forgetful. She is also having trouble with movement and particularly struggles with climbing stairs. The couple have had to adapt their lifestyle to accommodate Myrtle’s illness and Jack has arranged for an Occupational Therapist to visit their home and offer assistance.

The play begins with Becky, the Occupational Therapist, arriving at Jack and Myrtle’s house. Myrtle’s been listening to the song which was playing when she and Jack met at a dance years ago. Music and dancing is an important part of their relationship. Myrtle doesn’t recognise Becky and is confused about why she’s come to visit.

Jack takes Becky out into the hall under the auspices of discussing the installation of a chairlift. He uses this time away from his wife to explain how difficult their circumstances have become. Myrtle is a very private woman and doesn’t like strangers in the house. They have very little support from family as their grown up sons live far away.

Becky tries to engage Myrtle in conversation about her family and interests. At first Myrtle seems fine, then the wrong question triggers confusion and distress. Myrtle tries to throw Becky out of her house. Jack is mortified by his wife’s rude behaviour, though Becky is very understanding. Seconds later Myrtle has already forgotten the unpleasant situation. Jack and Myrtle dance to their special song. They’re still together, enjoying each other’s company, despite desperately difficult circumstances.

Click image above to download Still Dancing Radio Drama

 



Karen is a full time carer in her late forties. She looks after her twenty year old daughter, Laura who has a learning disability and is also a wheelchair user. Karen and Laura have been looking forward to a special girls’ day out. They’ve planned to get ther hair styled in a local salon, before heading out for lunch in a nice restaurant.

The play begins with Karen and Laura arriving at the hair salon. At first things go smoothly. Laura is taken to get her hair washed while Karen enjoys a much-needed chance to share her ongoing problems with stylist, Ashley, who is both an old friend and a great listener.

Karen is beginning to feel really positive about the afternoon ahead when Laura starts to become increasingly distressed. Laura has overheard a junior stylist, Tracey, saying unkind and thoughtless things about her disability and is so upset she insists upon leaving the salon straight away.

Karen is upset that their girls’ day out has been ruined. She almost loses her temper with Laura, but by the play’s end has reverted back to her role as carer and managed to diffuse the situation.

Click image above to download Girls Day Out Radio Drama