Improv Troupe Brings Laughter to Residents with Dementia at Silverado Memory Care

8/28/2014
Location : Turtle Creek 
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  • IMPROV
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Improv performers from Fun House Theatre and Film on August 20 entertained residents with dementia at Silverado Turtle Creek memory care community in Dallas. The Unicorn Clearance Improv Troupe, which consists of entertainers ranging from ages 10 to 16, delivers a groundbreaking and fun-filled experience each time they perform their 40-minute set. The troupe's philosophy is that improv is based on relationships, which makes it universal and allows them to touch audiences regardless of their circumstance — including bringing joy to those with memory loss.

"In addition to providing joy and laughter, this improv performance provided a cognitive benefit to our residents who got a chance to participate in the show through their suggestions," shares Silverado Director of Resident Engagement John Colgin, who himself is a performer and storyteller. "Every time I see a Fun House show, I feel invigorated by the passion these talented kids have for their craft. Their energy is contagious!"

The Unicorn Clearance troupe, led by improv expert Jeff Swearingen, is one of the only youth groups in the country to perform this advanced, long-story form of improvisation – telling complete stories with sophisticated structure and characterizations, unscripted and on the fly based on audience suggestion.

After the show at Silverado, students shared comments such as, “It was really interesting to see people in a different circumstance than we normally perform for still respond to humor and what we were doing,” and “It was really fun to see the residents’ faces light up and to hear how we made their day brighter!”

The students' ability to react quickly enabled them to connect with the residents, who range from having early stages of memory impairment to more advanced dementia and Alzheimer's disease. This event exemplifies Silverado's commitment to change the way the world cares for those with memory impairment by creating an environment where residents have a sense of purpose and meaning.

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