Magdalena Schamberger

Biography

Magdalena has been working creatively with people living with dementia for over 18 years. She uses physical theatre and a cross-arts approach to create highly visual performances, which are equally enjoyable, stimulating and beautiful. Magdalena is committed to meaningfully engage with theatres and communities by offering training to organisations, theatre staff and artists of all art forms.

I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.

Person living with dementia

Magdalena has 30 years of experience performing, directing and teaching physical theatre and clowning in the UK and internationally. In 1997 she co-founded Hearts & Minds and remained its Artistic Director until December 2017. In this role she developed the unique and highly acclaimed Elderflowers programme for people living with dementia, which has influenced similar programmes across the globe.

In 2014 Magdalena was awarded a Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Fund grant to further advance her work and as a result has created Curious Shoes, a collaborative performance for people living with dementia, and Artful Minds, an experiential training initiative for artists of all art forms. In 2016 Magdalena was appointed Honorary Professor with the Division of Nursing at Queen Margaret University, Scotland.

Working with Magdalena gave us confidence to reach out to people living with dementia, safe in the knowledge that we were hosting a high quality production. It was a great opportunity for us to make new connections and develop partnerships within our community – many of whom had never heard of the Barn before.

Hosting Curious Shoes was an ideal way for us to explore the issues and ideas around creating a safe, welcoming and creative environment for this type of audience and gave us opportunities to witness first-hand some of the potential challenges and indeed the magic moments that can happen.

For those in the team the opportunity to watch the performance as observers was a great way to see the difference that we as an arts organisation can make in people’s lives. I would say that hosting Curious Shoes was the catalyst for us to consider how we welcome particular audiences and how we can adapt some of the thinking to become more inclusive and accessible to all.

Thank you for inviting us to be part of this incredible experience – we learned so much and the joy on people’s faces was clear to see.

Linzy McAvoy, Learning and Engagement Manager, The Barn, Banchory