HandMade Theatre

Unique, sustainable, engaging work with people at its heart.




At HandMade Theatre we are dedicated to providing arts activities to those with cognitive impairments-especially those living with Dementia-and their families. 

We run bespoke projects working within care homes and hospitals to provide engaging and inspiring activities accessible to all. We believe that using the arts can help patients to gain confidence in communicating, improve mobility and help to tackle isolation for sufferers.

Our practitioners lead sessions with organisations within the community to put together a programme of work which is inspired by the patient themselves. Their needs, interests and abilities are taken into consideration and a bespoke project is delivered in collaboration with staff members and families.

This work is currently funded by Trusts, Foundations and private donations.  Please consider supporting us to continue this vital work. 

In this video, Suzy talks about her passion for working with people with dementia - how it started and how it is influencing our work moving forward. 


National Lottery Community Fund 2023-26: This 3 year community funding enables us to secure our regular sessions for the long term and build this important work. We plan to increase sessions, visit more location and train new practitioners.

Tell Me A Story 2022/23: Regular creative sessions in Nottingham care homes inspired by story telling and sharing memories. We were particularly interested in stories of childhood and building intergenerational links. This work inspired the creation of our touring show Tell Me a Story and included the creation of a bespoke theatre show suitable to tour care homes, community settings and memory cafe's.

'Wild Wellness' 2021/22: Throughout 2021/22 we ran a weekly creative programme at two of Jigsaw Homes in Nottingham, working with around 30 residents. We took inspiration from nature and worked with some of the lovely resources developed for our WilderNests production. 

'Nottingham University Hospitals' 2019: This project aimed to address the lack of meaningful activity provided for older patients on the acute Health Care of Older People (HCOP) wards at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH). 

HandMade Theatre Artists: Suzy Gunn and Ben McElroy, HCOP Occupational Therapist: Victoria Challenger, Health Care Assistance, B49: Emma Tyson

Data was collected using the Art Observation scale and patient feedback forms. Overall the response to sessions was positive with 72.2% of patients who attended the activity sessions demonstrating an increase in their observed happiness scores after the session.


“I have learnt something today. I didn’t come and join in last week as I saw the word poetry on your flyer. I immediately thought of dull and boring poetry but what you have just read was funny and enjoyable. I will definitely be coming again next week’  - Residents Feedback, 2022

One lady when asked if she was enjoying sessions said ‘ I was telling my friend the other day about our sessions and I told her this was my favourite afternoon of the week’  - Irene, 2022

‘Non-clinical interventions are important in the management of dementia, as they move patients into a more comfortable setting, allowing them to be stimulated in a way that still alleviates their symptoms. One example of a non-clinical intervention is drama therapy’  - Psychology Student Report, 2021



Play and creativity support healthy minds and bodies across all ages and abilities. They can build confidence, relieve stress and help solve problems.

Via our work with children and adults, we have brought laughter, joy and healing to a diverse range of audiences. From older people with dementia, to women who have experienced domestic abuse, to children of all levels of education ability, our workshops, projects and performances have provided them with an opportunity to leave their daily lives and travel with their imaginations to new and exciting places.

'Fantastic imagination a great way to re-think engagement in learning' Creative Schools Conference Delegate

The many benefits of play and creativity include:

  • Healthy intellectual, emotional and social development in children and young people.
  • Easier absorption of information, enabling the learning process and alternative ways of thinking.
  • The creation of empathy, problem-solving and communication skills
  • The unblocking of old patterns of habits of thinking
  • The nurturing of our confidence, curiosity and connections with others.
  • The ability to express ideas, thoughts and visions about the world.

They are also really good fun!