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Research based theatre in dementia knowledge transfer: views from the front line

Argyle, Elaine; Schneider, Justine M.


Elaine Argyle

Professor of Mental Health & Social Care


Purpose - Formal ties between the theatre and research dissemination have only recently developed and its general efficacy is largely unknown. Here we aim to redress this neglect by examining the effectiveness of a research based theatrical event in promoting dementia knowledge transfer with a group of front line care workers. The event ran over eight days and consisted of an original theatrical production followed by a chaired audience discussion and workshops.

Design/methodology/approach-Questionnaires which had been developed specifically for this evaluation were completed by 863 front line workers on the day of the event, eliciting their profiles and immediate reactions. Three months after the event, thirty completed a follow-up questionnaire and eight were interviewed.

Findings-Attendance was well received with high degrees of both cognitive and emotional engagement being expressed in the initial questionnaire. The follow-up evaluation suggested that these positive reactions were sustained over time. However, many taking part in this follow-up thought that their practice had not changed as a result of event attendance. This apparent discrepancy between knowledge transfer and utilisation appeared to be partly the result of the influence of contextual factors in impeding this utilisation within work settings.

Originality/value-Evidence is provided on the positive impact of theatre on dementia carers’ working lives. This is sufficient to warrant further applications of this method, provided there is careful attention to embedding the messages in the workplace context and evaluating their efficacy.


Argyle, E., & Schneider, J. M. (2016). Research based theatre in dementia knowledge transfer: views from the front line. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, 11(2),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2016
Deposit Date Dec 1, 2015
Publicly Available Date Dec 31, 2016
Journal Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice
Print ISSN 1755-6228
Electronic ISSN 2042-8707
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 2
Keywords Dementia, Front Line Carers, Knowledge Transfer and Utilisation, Research Based Theatre
Public URL
Additional Information This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here ( ). Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


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