Pendine Park wins top award for moving play about dementia

Pendine Park has been honoured with a top award for their partnership with a theatre company in producing a moving play about dementia.

More than 5,000 people saw the drama, Wy, Chips a Nain (Egg, Chips and Grandma), which was inspired by residents of Pendine Park.

At the glittering Arts & Business Cymru Awards at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, Pendine Park, which has eight care homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon, was presented with the Arts, Business Health Award. They were also finalists in the Business of the Year category.

The nationwide tour of the play by the Fr?n Wen theatre company was the most successful large-scale production in their history. It shone a light on the effects of the cruel condition as seen through the eyes of a young grandson.

The play was written by Welsh language poet and musician Gwyneth Glyn who visited Pendine’s Bryn Seiont Newydd in Caernarfon to speak to the residents and staff as part of her research.

Following the premiere at Galeri Caernarfon, there were 33 performances right across Wales at venues including Mold, Bangor, Aberystwyth, Llanelli and Cardiff. Many of the venues including the final shows at Cardiff’s Chapter theatre were sold out.

The sponsorship for the production came via the Pendine Arts and Community Trust which was set up by Mario and his wife, Gill, to support arts and community initiatives.

Thanks to additional support from Arts & Business Cymru’s Culture Step programme, Frân Wen also hosted Wy, Chips a Nain theatre workshop sessions with Bryn Seiont Newydd residents and their families.

Pendine Park proprietor Mario Kreft MBE said: “We are very proud to have received this prestigious award from Arts & Business Cymru and we are indebted to Fr?n Wen for the fantastic work they did from the start to the finish of this lovely project. Our long-standing commitment to the arts, community and education is central to everything we do at Pendine Park as a way of enriching lives across the generations so this particular production and its theme was a perfect fit."

“We were probably the first company in the social care sector in the UK to appoint an artist in residence nearly 30 years and we have enduring collaborations with the Hallé orchestra and Welsh National Opera. I was particularly proud earlier this year to become WNO’s first Community Champion. We saw the production of Wy, Chips a Nain as a tremendous opportunity to contribute in terms of knowledge and good practice and being an integral part of the production not merely sponsors of the play."

“The fact that the play was in the Welsh language was also important because we have seen the difference it makes when care is provided in a person’s mother tongue, particularly when they have dementia, and it has always been important to us that Bryn Seiont Newydd."