Dramatic Arts Club at Tilbury Manor helps residents flourish

Research has proven that there are positive influences from performing arts. 

The Dramatic Arts Club at Tilbury Manor Nursing Home provides residents the opportunity to showcase their creative expression, enhance their self-esteem, and gain confidence from learning performing arts skills. 

"Drama brings elements of play, humour and laughter, improving our resident's motivation and stress reduction," explains Recreation Manager Janith Menard. "They get to partake in this fun, purposeful activity, which also has many social, emotional and physical benefits."

Menard explains how this is helping to enrich residents' quality of life.

"Performing arts is a collaboration of different players and the quality/outcome of the performance is dependent upon the group as a whole. It allows our resident participants to engage in discussion, feedback and rehearsal. Rehearsing and performing lines and movement has proven to improve memory, verbal and non-verbal communication and this we have witnessed."

By doing the work to understand a character's roles and subtext, residents work on their own skills that allow them to relate better to different situations, encouraging one to show compassion and tolerance for others. Acting is also a good emotional outlet, where the participants can express a range of emotions.

Of course, resident actors have a sense of pride and accomplishment when performing for others.

"We cannot forget the audience at our Dramatic Arts Club presentations," says Menard. "Our audience is comprised of fellow residents, families, volunteers, staff and friends, and the enjoyment that such a presentation brings to them is palpable. Improvisation and engagement of the audience is encouraged at all of our performances."

As an example of how important this activity is to Tilbury Manor residents, Menard tells the story of a resident whose health was failing and as a result was placed in palliative care. Refusing to eat or drink, her family gathered and prepared their goodbyes. But it didn't take long before this resident rallied and began eating again, so as to make sure she would not miss her upcoming performance in one of the home's plays. Not only did she make that play, she has been part of additional performances since.

"There is a great deal of work and preparation with these activities," adds Menard. "In my 40 years here at Tilbury Manor as Recreation Manager, this is one of the best programs we have had - and we have some pretty amazing things going on here to compete!"

Residents of the dramatic arts club dressed as elves, practicing for a play called Santa's Cookie Problem

In photo (left to right): Colleen B., Valerie R. (staff),  Annie M., Bill F., Valeria A. (staff), Gary D., Gert Mc., and Christie L., practicing for their holiday play, Santa‚Äôs Cookie Problem