Barkingside church to host Newham charity’s dementia play

Ekta group C.E.O. Ramesh Verma

Ekta group C.E.O. Ramesh Verma - Credit: Archant

A charity has decided to commission a play on dementia to raise awareness about the progressive disease within the south Asian community.

Ekta Project’s chief executive Ramesh Verma has worked hard in east London to encourage families to seek help about the incurable mental condition for years.

The play, called Dementia’s Journey, to be performed at Barkingside Methodist Church today, follows a family’s struggle to identify what exactly is wrong with Nina.

The lead female character becomes increasingly forgetful in everyday life.

And at first, each slip-up ensues a light hearted joke from loved ones.

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However the situation grows worse leading to her husband, Sanjeet, contemplating whether to hide her car keys to prevent any more distress.

Playwright and part-time teacher James Kenworth, of Beckton, believes the timing of the play he wrote could not have been better.

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He said: “Dementia’s Journey has got a fantastic response so far. It has really hit the zeitgeist at the right moment.

“Dementia seems to be everywhere – it is in Hollywood with film Still Alice and the Prime Minister David Cameron is pledging millions to beat the disease.”

Mr Kenworth was commissioned to write the play by Ekta Project, based in Newham, to target the south Asian community.

Ms Verma said a “stigma” is attached dementia by Asian families.

“People whose families are affected by dementia sometimes do not want others to think there is someone mad in their family,” she said. “So they won’t speak about it openly.

“Visualisation of this issues is important. A play is the best way for people to talk about it.”

Around 800,000 people are affected by dementia across the country, according to NHS figures.

The risk of dementia increases as you get older, and involves memory loss, and impairs judgement.

Dementia’s Journey is to be performed at Barkingside Methodist Church, in Fremantle Road, Barkingside, today (Thursday) at 2.15pm. No tickets needed.

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