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The Dukes has been running dementia friendly activities since 2015. Our pioneering project, ‘A Life More Ordinary’, gives people living with dementia and memory loss more choice, more control and greater access to leisure and cultural activities at The Dukes in ordinary, everyday settings. The Dukes offers regular dementia friendly film screenings and creative workshop activities, creating a supportive, caring experience for loved ones and families to enjoy together.

The programme responds to research by Age UK Lancashire, entitled ‘Linking Communities’ in 2012. This research highlighted the need for more inclusive activities for people living with dementia and their family members who often exclude themselves, or feel excluded from the sort of events in which they had previously participated together.

Central to ‘A Life More Ordinary’ is building a community of interested and involved participants, in a specially adapted environment.  The intention is that people can feel able to come to an ‘ordinary’ social event, alongside members of the public.

This programme has been rolled out to 15 venues across the UK.

“I am particularly impressed by the events from which my 92 year old mother in law not only enjoys but visibly benefits from singing along in the film interval brings back the woman we used to know.”  Family member

“It’s nice that there are things like this going on. You don’t feel as isolated.”  Carer

I come home feeling full of contentment and joy…”  Workshop participant



‘The first thing people with dementia do is shut off – they can’t or won’t join in conversations. Sometimes when you go to what you would term ‘normal’ activities, ‘N’ is unable to join in and switches off and we end up coming away… here he was part of a group, and he could join in. And that does you good as well. And that’s important to carers, because we’re enjoying it when they’re enjoying it… and it’s something we can do together.” – A Life More Ordinary audience member

As part of the continuing project, The Dukes leads a support programme of training in venue adaptations, screen choices, marketing, fundraising and evaluation through a devised Toolkit and Resource Pack.

‘A Life More Ordinary’ has been evaluated externally by Professor Christine Milligan, Director – Centre for Ageing Research, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University.

The Dukes continues to support our partner venues in their dementia friendly events and aims to work collectively with our local businesses and organisations to strive towards becoming a better dementia friendly society. The Dukes regularly attends the Bay Dementia Hub and we are the host venue for ‘Freshers’ a group which meets on the last Wednesday of each month for people with Early Onset Parkinson’s and Dementia.

The A Life More Ordinary Steering Group: Roger Clough (Emeritus Professor, Lancaster University and Co-Founder of ALMO ), George Harris (Director Mirador Arts and Co-Founder ALMO), Diane Smith (Dementia Matron, University Hospitals, Morecambe Bay Trust), Councillor Margaret Pattison (Older People Champion), Christine Milligan (Director of Centre for Ageing Research, Lancaster University), Anne Oliver (Engagement Officer, Age UK Lancashire),  Rahena Mossabir (PHD Research Student, Lancaster University), Alex Summers (Associate Director, The Dukes).



For more information on how to get involved in A Life More Ordinary please email our Inclusive Film and Theatre Officer, Gil Graystone, at

ALMO: Supported by Esmee Fairbairn, The Rayne Foundation, The Dowager Countess Eleanor Peel Trust, The Evan Cornish Foundation, The Elspeth J Thompson Charitable Trust, Joseph A Jones Solicitors, D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and The University of Lancaster.

A Life More Ordinary film screenings have a relaxed atmosphere so that people are welcome to move around and come and go as they please. Each screening has an interval with live entertainment.

What the Dukes offers for us in its ‘Life More Ordinary’ programme is the opportunity to do what were once ordinary things, in a slightly different way.  To be able to go to a ‘dementia-friendly’ screening of a film, for example, is wonderful. In these showings the lights are slightly dimmed but kept on, as this is less disorientating for us.  Films are carefully chosen. We love the whole event, we always sing the whole way home and we are often still talking about the show over dinner.  Audience member



£6.50 Full Price (£5.50 Concessions £4.50 Under 18’s)

Carers go free

Tea coffee and pastries are available in The Dukes café area, free for all ticket holders from 12.30pm
Light lunches are also available to buy in the The Dukes Cafébar


bring me laughter 2

Following the success of A Life More Ordinary at The Dukes, we are pleased to offer new dementia friendly groups in Carnforth and Morecambe. These sessions are funded by Wellcome and we aim to explore how laughter and playfulness can be used to develop stronger social connections and better communication with people living with dementia and their care-givers.

The activities will draw on the interests of the participants and will be fully inclusive and fun. These FREE sessions include a variety of arts activities including music, singing, movement and visual art.

There will be a tea break in the sessions where participants will be able to socialise and get to know each other.

For participants with early stage dementia and their care-givers.

Places are limited. For more information and to register please call Gil Graystone on 01524 598522 or email


Tuesdays, 1pm – 3pm

The Heritage Centre
Carnforth Railway Station
Warton Road, LA5 9TR


Tuesday 10, 17 & 24 Sep 2019
Tuesday 1, 8 & 15 Oct 2019
Tuesday 5, 12, 19 & 26 Nov 2019


Thursdays, 2pm – 4pm

More Music,
13 – 17 Devonshire Road,
Morecambe, LA3 1QT

Thursday 12, 19 & 26 Sep 2019
Thursday 3, 10 & 17 Oct 2019
Thursday 7, 14, 21 & 28 Nov 2019
plus further dates in 2020

These sessions are funded by Wellcome and we aim to explore how laughter and playfulness can be used to develop stronger social connections and better communication with people living with dementia and their care-givers.



The programme, led by The Dukes, has been rolled out to 15 other venues across the UK: Picturehouse at FACT in Liverpool; Wem Town Hall in Shropshire; Chorley Little Theatre; Ludlow Assembly Rooms, Theatr Colwyn, Oldham ColiseumLight Cinema Experience in New Brighton on The WirralLight Cinema Experience in Wisbech, Light Cinema Experience in Cambridge, Light Cinema Experience in Walsall, Light Cinema Experience in Bolton, Light Cinema Experience in Thetford, Light Cinema Experience in Sheffield, Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough and Hyde Park Picture House Cinema in Leeds.

Over the course of the programme’s first year, ‘A Life More Ordinary’ welcomed 1,878 participants to our screenings, creative sessions and events.

For more information on how to get involved in A Life More Ordinary please email our Inclusive Film and Theatre Officer, Gil Graystone, at

Click on the video below to find out how FACT in Liverpool have been developing the project:


Still Me is a person-centred, participative multi-arts group for people living with dementia and their caregivers.  It is one strand of A Life More Ordinary, a dementia arts programme at The Dukes, Lancaster, which aims to offer greater choice, and accessibility to the creative arts for people living with dementia, not only those diagnosed with the condition but also their friends, family members and carers.

There are 4 artists involved in in the delivery of Still Me and a multitude of positive outcomes have arisen from this unique collaborative process-led project.  The team aims to craft each session whilst always intending to remain responsive by offering an experience that is co-created by the people in the room.

This Still Me Toolkit aims to support artists working with people living with dementia.  Although each project, participant, environment and artist is very different, this overview intends to bring together some of the key considerations we feel would be useful when delivering work in a range of settings.


We welcome any feedback and ideas you may have about the Toolkit. Please contact Gil Graystone

As part of the Wellcome Public Engagement Project, we will host a 3 day Festival in May 2020 with a series of public lectures including scientists from UCL, workshops for artists and carers, family workshops, performance events and comedy films.

As part of the festival we will premiere a unique collaborative performance event inspired by Morecambe’s light entertainment heritage.

On Thursday 17 & Friday 18 May 2018, we held a unique two day festival, exploring how the arts are touching the lives of people living with dementia in wonderful and remarkable ways.

This event included keynote speakers, performances and workshops by some of the most pioneering artists, practitioners, researchers and extraordinary people, working with people with dementia, in a variety of settings and in unique ways.

Click the video below to see an overview of Creative Adventures in Dementia: A Life More Ordinary Festival, captured by film-maker Tom Diffenthal.

Just one highlight of the festival was Still Me’s workshop, The Jamboree.

Still Me is a person-centered, participative multi-arts group for people living with dementia and their caregivers. It is one strand of A Life More Ordinary at the Dukes.

There are four artists involved in the delivery of Still Me and a multitude of positive outcomes have arisen from this unique, collaborative process-led project.

Click on the video below to explore this wonderful event.

Click here to read a reflective poem by ALMO Storytelling Artist Steve Fairclough – based on the responses of the festival participants.

Click here to view the festival gallery

Journeying Together: An Unforgettable Pilot Project

A 6 month pilot project funded by Esmee Fairbairn 2013/14

An innovative , creative project delivered by The Dukes in partnership with Age UK Lancashire  to enable people with memory problems or people living with dementia and their partners or family members to enjoy cinema and arts activities in a ‘dementia friendly’ environment.

Professor Christine Milligan and Dr Katherine Froggatt from Centre for Ageing Research at Lancaster University were consultants to this evaluation, giving advice on overall evaluation design and commenting on the final report.

Click here to read

A Life More Ordinary Final Evaluation Report 2018

Professor Christine Milligan and Rahena Mossabir, Lancaster University Centre for Ageing Research

A comprehensive report focussing on the outcomes of A Life More Ordinary, a three year cinema and arts project based at The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster.

Following the success of the pilot projectJourneying Together, The Dukes expanded and progressed the work through a three year project designed to:

– Develop a dementia friendly film-screening model that could be rolled out to other venue across UK.

– Continue and extend the programme of workshops offered at The Dukes

– Develop a new participatory theatre group at The Dukes for people with dementia and their family members

Click here to read