The panto, performed by members of staff at JDU, told the classic story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. In an impressive display of dedication, skill and inclusivity, it was told simultaneously in not one, not two, but three different languages: British Sign Language, English, and Gesturing.
Walking into the packed hall, it was hard not to feel the buzz of Christmas cheer, with many members of the audience embracing the festive spirit, dressed in various Christmas fancy dress, including one service user in a full Santa costume! And at the side was a table full of homemade treats, from elf cupcakes to yule logs and even sparkly mince pies!
The set itself was a thing of beauty, with all props and scenery being made and assembled by staff members Marilyn Hoggard, Katie Evans Perry and JDU service users. There were 7-foot trees in the forest; a full fireplace with logs, stockings and a stove in the dwarves’ cottage; and a full-sized jeweled magic mirror in the evil queen’s dressing room.
GMMH would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who was involved in making the panto such a success. Lots of effort went in outside of work hours, from organising rehearsals to creating props and learning lines (in three different languages!) It was clear that service users thoroughly enjoyed it, demonstrating your commitment to making sure that they have the best possible experience whilst staying at JDU. Special thanks go to Eileen Young, Creator; Lindsay Quar, Director; and Marilyn Hoggard who led on scenery and props.
About the John Denmark Unit
GMMH’s John Denmark Unit (JDU) is a specialist National Centre for Mental Health and Deafness, providing community and inpatient services for deaf people living with mental health issues. It is one of only three to do so in the UK!
Our patients at JDU are not individuals who have lost their hearing later in life, but those who are either deaf from birth or within the first two years of life. This means that, for the vast majority, their first language is British Sign language (BSL), and they often have very limited English skills, including limited literacy skills.
Our highly skilled team of staff, many of whom are themselves deaf, have many different roles, such as Consultant psychiatrists, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Social workers, Communication & language therapists, Art psychotherapists and Consultant psychologists.
The Inpatient service provides:
24 hour care in a safe environment
Specialist mental health interventions for deaf, deafened and deaf/bling patients
Individuals who have their own recovery plan
Group activities and a therapeutic program
Physical health assessment and treatment
Risk assessment and management
The Community provides:
Initial and ongoing assessment
Community based interventions
Gate keeping assessments and second opinions
Our services promote a culture which encourages patients’ deaf identity and to make possible a positive self image to build up patients’ self esteem.
To find out more, visit the webpage here.