On 23 December 2019, Hull Truck Theatre streamed the live performance of Peter Pan to patients and residents at Hull Royal Infirmary, Haworth Court Care Home and Alderson House Care Home. The aim of the project was to open up access to theatre to those who for health reasons could not physically attend a performance. In advance of the screening, the theatre also visited each venue, including the Elderly Care and Children’s Wards at HRI, to deliver storytelling and song sessions.
The project was funded by The Space, an agency who supports digital engagement across the arts and cultural sector. Hull and East Yorkshire MIND were evaluation partners who analysed the impact of arts engagement on the health and wellbeing of the care home residents.
The Short Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (SWEMWBS) was used to measure changes in the mental wellbeing of residents before the advance visits, which were delivered by the theatre’s Creative Learning team. These activities included telling the story of Peter Pan, performance of original songs from the show, crafts and singing Christmas Carols. The same Scale was used after the live screening. Whilst audience numbers were relatively small, emphasis was placed on the depth and impact of the engagement and the results showed positive improvement in optimism, purpose and relaxation.
On the day of the live screening, teams of ushers and box office staff attended each venue to create an experience as close as possible to seeing a live show. Patients and residents were given programmes to add to the experience of seeing the show. Back at the theatre, four cameras captured different angles of the performance and cut between them to ensure audiences in the locations were getting the best view in the house.
At the end of the show, the footage was then edited for the DVD version of Peter Pan. 50 of these DVDs were sent out to Care Homes across Hull and East Riding, with a potential reach of 2,500 residents.
Sam Bell, Operations Manager at Hull and East Yorkshire Mind, said: “The live streaming of Peter Pan showed a significant improvement in feeling optimistic (hopeful about the future) and feeling useful (having purpose) – and feeling relaxed. This small study has shown that accessing social and art experiences is positive for improving health and wellbeing.”
As well as the response from the study, the feedback from various venues who took part has been extremely positive.
Kelly Butler, Manager of Haworth Court Care Home, said: “All our residents really enjoyed being able to take part in this screening from the comfort of their own home. We invited families and friends and this really helped to raise the interaction and atmosphere. We are always looking for ways to keep our residents active and stimulated and we thank Hull Truck Theatre for, once again, giving us the opportunity to be part of this production. They really enjoyed the workshops and we got very positive feedback from residents and staff members. This created a buzz and gave them something to look forward to.”
Dr Fiona Thomson, Consultant Physician in Elderly Medicine at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We were delighted to be approached by Hull Truck Theatre to participate in their outreach programme bringing theatre to an audience who would struggle to attend a live performance. The pre-Christmas screening of Peter Pan was enjoyed by both children and elderly patients at Hull Royal Infirmary and helped make their stay memorable. We are already planning our next collaborative project.”
Raleigh Court Care Home (@RaleighCourt1) of the HICA Group, tweeted: “Thank you to @HullTruck for our Peter Pan Live dvd. It's been such a relaxing afternoon watching..laughing...and snacking.