In the Light of Day

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In the Light of Day

In the Light of Day was conceived as a research and development project for people living with dementia in care home settings and theatres, during the first Covid-19 lockdown. The project focuses on hands, gloves and gestures and tells a simple and universal story of love, longing, household chores and the wish for connection. It uses live music, movement and very few words, focusing on emotional memory and engagement. It is funny, entertaining and gently invites the audience to participate or to simply sit back and watch.

“ Expert clowning, beautiful imagery and a king-sized bundle of warmth.” – Audience Member, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

The initial R&D project was funded by Creative Scotland and was developed over a 9-month period, between October 2020 and July 2021, with creative collaborators Nicolette Macleod, Tim Licata and Cai Tomos under the direction of myself, Magdalena Schamberger.

The In the Light of Day R&D phase culminated in two live work-in-progress outdoors performances at Festival Theatre and The Elms care home, both in Edinburgh in July 2021.

“ It made me laugh, it made me cry. What more could you want?” – Person living with dementia about In the Light of Day work-in-progress showing

We also created a number of videos, showcasing hands and gloves, to accompany the live In the Light of Day performances. To explore the suitability of this approach for our audiences, we were testing a series of films, recorded on Zoom, while working together in different cities during lockdown in December 2020. We gathered feedback and redeveloped some of the films for use alongside the full production. The films were made  to stimulate conversation and to encourage engagement between people living with dementia, their family member and professional carers.

In Spring 2022, I was delighted to receive further funding from Creative Scotland to develop In the Light of Day into a full production and to tour it widely to care homes, day centres, community and meeting centres as well as hospitals & health care centres across Scotland. In addition, we also showcased our work at Capital Theatres Edinburgh and Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling. Both venues generously supported the project, as did Our Connected Neighbourhoods in Stirling.

Creative collaborators included performers Emma Lynne Harley, Lisette Boxman and Tim Licata as well as set designer and videographer Brian Hartley and costume designer Ali Maclaurin. The production was expertly supported by producer Gemma Greig-Kicks.

As hoped, In the Light of Day has become a starting point and tool for re-connecting with care homes and their residents, as well as families, all of whom experienced isolation during the pandemic. According to our audiences In the Light of Day provided a very positive shared experience. The performances also appear to have increased confidence of our audiences, as well as care home staff and management in terms of allowing the sharing of a performance space and experiencing live theatre again or for a first time.

” This is the first time we have had live theatre within the Home so we really weren’t sure how the residents would respond but we needn’t have worried as they were captivated by the performance! The whole experience from start to finish was supremely resident-friendly, engaging and very welcoming.  The actors really connected with the residents and encouraged them into the performance.  They welcomed all kinds of interactions from the audience and they responded in such a lovely way that it made the residents feel involved and part of something really special.  The story was just lovely and because it was all non-verbal, told through expressions, movement and music, residents were pulled into the story and they were able to really connect with it. It was just a wonderful experience and we cannot thank you enough for bringing ‘In the Light of Day’ to our Care Home.” – Rachel Simpson, Events Co-ordinator at William Simpson Care Home

Overall, we were delighted to deliver 17 performances for audiences living with dementia in 13 locations across 7 geographical areas in Scotland.


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