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Saturday, August 10 • 9:00am - 10:30am
Playing (with language): The Improvisational Joy Of Aging/dementia

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Across the globe, improvisational play, performance, poetry, music and the arts are
challenging the stigma-inducing "tragedy narrative” of dementia – narratives too often caught up in the
“carer” and “cared for” paradigm. Play – even when it looks serious – can support everyone to develop
and create with the dementias in new and more positive ways.
Play helps challenge the concepts – self, memory, loss, decline, etc – that distort our view of what’s
possible for people, not only with dementia/Alzheimer’s, but anyone who is neuro-diverse. It can also
transform the way that language – ordinary ways we speak with each other (and assume an
understanding)– can get in the way of more intimately and creatively connecting.
In this experiential workshop, we will share tools and experiences from East Side Institute and Living
Words UK. These include improvisational games and performed conversation to exploring the creation of
environments to support everyone involved in the “dementia ensemble” to enjoy the “non-knowing
growing” possible when improvisational play is how we do everything in our lives.
We welcome everyone interested in using diagnosis as a starting point for creativity and who wants to
learn more about improvisation as a tool for navigating the aging or dementia experience.


Mary Fridley

Mary Fridley is pro-bono Director of Special Projects at the East Side Institute (ESI), a workshop leader and designer, a playwright, theater director and non-profit fundraising consultant. She is trained as a social therapeutic practitioner, a post-modern humanistic and group-oriented therapeutic and education approach. Mary co-leads two popular workshop series, The... Read More →

Susan Massad

Susan Massad is a retired physician with 51 years of practice and teaching in internal medicine. Susan was one of the early pioneers to bring the teaching of improvisation into her training of medical residents in the late 1990s. As a practitioner, working in both the poorest communities... Read More →

Susanna Howard

Susanna Howard is a writer, actor and theatre maker who founded pioneering arts & literature charity Living Words, which runs residencies in care homes, using the  Listen Out Loud methodology to work one-to-one with people experiencing a dementia, plus care home staff and relatives... Read More →

Saturday August 10, 2019 9:00am - 10:30am EDT
The Wang Center - Room 101