Official website for Mark C. Hewitt & Blank Productions

Dementia Diaries
LLL Productions
2009 / 2011

Text by Maria Jastrzębska
Incidental music by Peter Copley
Directed by Mark C. Hewitt

Poster art by Andrzej Klimowski © 2009

Told through the interweaving monologues of an Anglo-Polish family and their Polish carer, Dementia Diaries explores the troubled relationships within a family struggling to cope with dementia. Developed with input from clinicians and nurses based at the Memory Assessment and Research Centre (MARC) in Southampton, this drama for five voices and live music combines tenderness and despair with moments of surreal humour and occasional strong language. 

Developed for LLL Productions, Dementia Diaries was first performed over a run of four nights in April 2009 at Little Polka Café, Eastbourne, as part of Eastbourne Festival, with incidental music played live by composer Peter Copley (cello) and Anne Hodgson (flute). A further performance was given in September 2009 at Artisan Polish restaurant in Lewes, East Sussex

In a second phase of development, the production was supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, allowing the company to meet and talk with research clinicians, nurses, therapists and doctors based at the Memory Assessment and Research Centre (MARC) in Southampton with a view to enhancing the authenticity of the production and collaborating on the content of the printed programme. Rehearsals during this second research and development phase were hosted as part of a residency at The Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, culminating in a run of performances in The Nuffield Studio to launch a tour to university schools of medicine and theatre venues across the UK.

photo gallery »
See the YouTube film: Dementia Diaries in Edinburgh »
Read the article by John O'Donoghue from The Guardian »

Rehearsals at The Nuffield Southampton with Tim Barlow (TATA) and Anna Korwin (MAMA)

Daisy with wine 2Tim in chair
Above: Daisy Whyte as Daughter / Tim Barlow as Tata
Nuffield Theatre, Southampton (2011), photos by Candida Lucca


"Dementia has protean manifestations affecting sufferers and carers very differently. This play wonderfully portrays how our own circumstances and fears for the future interact with our personal relationship with the sufferer. Through the use of multiple monologues it emphasises, through sensitive and realistic performances, the many levels at which this disease inhabits us - not just as patients but as family and professional and non-professional carers."
Dr David Wilkinson, Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry / Director of MARC, Southampton

"What a great play! It was great to see such an accurate portrayal of the stresses that can develop when someone is living with dementia, conveying the complex feelings and emotions involved."
Lisa Gatward, Alzheimer's Society


"Dementia Diaries was marvellous - I would recommend it - touching, sad, funny and thought provoking. Brilliant script, direction and acting. Absolutely fantastic, I am so impressed."

"Saw the play yesterday in Hammersmith and thought is was an amazing piece of work; the acting, monologues, music and direction were a triumph."

“Dementia Diaries was a moving experience ... The drama was intensified by the musical score which beautifully wove the stories together and gave the evening a reflective quality that drew you into this world. Even if you had no experience of dementia, you would be under no illusions of what the impact can be to families and communities by the end of the evening.” Katie Tearle (Head of Education, Glyndebourne Opera)

Hear the music »

More about the production »

Below: Article in UK Polish press about Maria Jastrzębska.
Polish press

Tour dates 2011

Date: Monday 31 January - Wednesday 2 February
Venue: The Nuffield Theatre, Southampton
University Road, Southampton
Culmination of LLL Productions residency at The Nuffield

Sunday 20 March
Venue: Jazz Café POSK Hammersmith
POSK, 238-246 King Street, Hammersmith, London
Hosted by Grupa Literacka KaMPe, Union of Polish Writers Abroad

Monday 4 April
Venue: St Barts & The London
The Bainbridge Lecture Theatre,
2nd Floor, Robin Brook Centre
St Bartholomew's Hospital
West Smithfield, London
An in-house performance for medical students hosted by St Barts & The London.

Dates: Tuesday 5 April / Wednesday 6 April
Venue: Adam House Theatre, Edinburgh
Chambers Street
Edinburgh, Scotland
Hosted by The University of Edinburgh Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE). Edinburgh dates were supported by the MRC Regional Communications Seed Fund, The University of Edinburgh College of Humanities and Social Sciences Knowledge Exchange Fund, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland and the Scottish Dementia Clinical Research Network.

Date: Tuesday 3 May
Venue: Leggate Theatre, Liverpool
Victoria Museum & Art Gallery
University of Liverpool
Hosted by University of Liverpool School of Health Sciences

Date: Wednesday 4 May
Venue: The Medical School, Derby
Royal Derby Hospital
Hosted by The Medical School, University of Nottingham

Date: Tuesday 12 / Wednesday 13 / Thursday 14 July
Venue: Rosemary Branch Theatre
2 Shepperton Road, London

Date: Wednesday 19 October
Sallis Benney Theatre, University of Brighton
Hosted by Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Date: Wednesday 26 October
Venue: Reardon-Smith Theatre, National Museum Cardiff
Cathay's Park, Cardiff
Hosted by School of Nursing & Midwifery Studies and School of Medicine, Cardiff University