Dementia the Musical

or : The Ballad of the Dementia Activists

Agnes, James and Nancy are on trial for the crime of having dementia and not doing what they're told. Can they beat the Rigid System and reclaim their lives and dignity?


Dementia the Musical is a new musical theatre production by Ron Coleman, Scottish poet and writer living with dementia; in collaboration with renowned director Magdalena Schamberger and one of Britain's top jazz musicians Sophie Bancroft as composer and musical director plus additional music by esteem songwriter Andrew Eaton-Lewis.  Design by Karen Tennent.

Written for and with those living with dementia this brand new musical is based on the campaign work of three of Scotland's longest serving dementia activists, James McKillop, Nancy McAdam and Agnes Houston and the fight they have led to ensure people living with dementia have a voice in what happens in their lives.  Dementia the Musical is a funny but moving production telling the history of Scottish dementia activism and their role front and centre of it.


Dementia the Musical will be on a Scottish Tour, Autumn 2024. 

Tickets on sale for Edinburgh, Saturday 12th October  Click Here




Musical Info

Taking centre-stage at our dementia arts festival in Inverness is Dementia the Musical. It's based on the campaigning work of three of Scotland's longest serving dementia activists James McKillop, Nancy McAdam & Agnes Houston and the fight they have led to ensure people with dementia have a voice in what happens in their lives.

The Musical is set in the not-too-distant future where the ‘British Bill of Rights' has replaced the ‘European Convention on Human Rights' and is being used by organisations and care home owners to deny residents their rights to a family life by allowing the system to control what individuals with dementia can do, where they live, who can visit and when they can visit. The backdrop to the musical sees the three activists being brought to a care home in Dundee to face a tribunal that is accusing them of both not having capacity and of being troublemakers.

A funny and moving production, it tells the history of dementia activism with the voices of real people with dementia shaping its story.

A work in progress showing was presented at An Lanntair, Isle of Lewis in March 2022 with the full production being developed in Spring 2023 followed by a Scottish tour.

Original R&D Supported by Life Changes Trust, Luminate, John Case and An Lanntair's artist support programme.


Additional Activity

Alongside the production itself Ron Coleman and other ‘dementia activists' will be available for workshops, Q&As, post or pre-show talks about their work, lived experiences and the show itself.

Listen to Some of the Songs

Music coming soon



 Meet the Creative Team

Dementia Arts Festival  in Inverness


Originally from Dundee, Ron lives in the Isle of Lewis with his wife, Karen Taylor and dog Nor. Following his diagnosis with dementia in 2017, Ron established Deepness Ltd a not-for-profit organisation, run by people living with dementia and cognitive impairment for people living with dementia and cognitive impairment. Deepness Ltd is a space for people living with dementia to come together and live well with dementia through the media platform that is this website.

He has made a new life writing poetry, plays, music and books as he thrives living with dementia.

Recent written works include:

  • Script for ‘Caught in This Moment of Time' – Scottish tour 2022
  • Script for ‘The Consultant' directed & filmed by Laura Cameron Lewis with John Stahl as ‘Ron' Francesca Taylor Coleman as ‘Francesca' and Andrew Eaton Lewis as ‘the doctor' (2020) Script for ‘Lost in Stornoway' directed & filmed by Laura Cameron Lewis with John Stahl as ‘Ron' and Jane Paton as ‘Karen' (2021)
  • Script for ‘Hey Santa' with Ron Coleman as ‘Ron' and John Stahl as ‘Santa' filmed and directed by Laura Cameron Lewis (2021) commissioned by Luminate

“A perception-shifting performance”

Claire Swanson, Capital Theatres on Ron Coleman's performance in ‘Caught in this Moment of Time'

Magdalena Schamberger

Magdalena Schamberger is an independent theatre director, creative collaborator and teaching artist, combining 30 years of experience in physical & visually-driven theatre and clowning with 20 years of creatively engaging with people living with dementia.

Most recently, Magdalena has developed In the Light of Day (recently nominated for a Luminate Creative Aging Award for Pioneering Creative Project) and Curious Shoes, collaborative performances for people living with dementia and their loved ones. Both productions were supported by Creative Scotland and have toured extensively to theatres, care homes, day & community centres, meeting centres, community health care centres and hospitals across Scotland.

Other directing credits include: A Clean Sweep and By the Seat of Your Pants for Pluto?t La Vie and Die Komische Trago?die for Tatu Theater, Salzburg, Austria.

Magdalena is an Honorary Professor with the School of Health Sciences at Queen Margaret University, a TimeSlips Creative Storytelling Certified Facilitator and Master Trainer and Creative Director at bold (Bringing Out Leaders in Dementia).

Composer & Musical Director: Sophie Bancroft

Heralding from one of Britain's top jazz families, with brothers Tom and Phil Bancroft, Sophie Bancroft's early part of her career saw her performing jazz vocals around Britain and Europe at major jazz festivals and clubs, and on regular broadcasts for the BBC. She has gone on to have a highly successful career as a singer-songwriter with a unique blend of jazz and folk influences. Over the course of her career, she has released nine CDs. Her album ‘Songs' was listed as one of The Herald's top album releases in 2015. Her most recent CD ‘Monday Nights' with her duo Bancroft & Lyne is receiving critical acclaim and was listed as one of JazzViews top album releases of 2020.

“An album of the highest class, superbly produced, and entertaining” Jazzviews

Sophie regularly performs with her partner, bassist Tom Lyne, in their duo Bancroft & Lyne, including a recent performance at the Rochester International Jazz Festival in New York, where they were heralded as a ‘must see' act. The duo has toured much of the Scottish Highlands in 2022 having been selected as part of the ‘Scotland On Tour' initiative from the Scottish Government.

“Brave, bright and engaging throughout and much easier to tour than a big band, with no lack of presence.”
Jazz Journal

Collaborations with electronic band Spylab led to her songs being used on US hit TV show ‘Six Feet Under' whilst her acoustic songs have been recorded by various award-winning artistes including vocalist Liane Carroll and pianist Louis Durra. She is currently commissioned to write songs and be music director for a new musical being written by Ron Coleman / Deepness Dementia Media.

In recent years Sophie has expanded her creative practice to include writing spoken word, poetry, personal essays, photography, video filming and editing, and producing film poems. She has produced a series of greeting cards featuring her landscape photography linked to her songs via a QR code. She was awarded a Masters with distinction in Creative Writing in 2019 and various pieces of her writing have been published. Her film poem (S)kin was screened at the ‘Women Over Fifty Film Festival' 2021 and Cinema D'Idea 2022. She received a bursary from Luminate Scotland in 2021 to support furthering her film-making skills.

Script Mentor : Michael Duke

Michael Duke is originally from Banbridge, County Down in the north of Ireland and currently based in Glasgow.

He has worked with a wide range of companies, as a playwright, director and dramaturg, in Scotland, Ireland, England, Denmark and the USA. His writing includes sole authored, full length plays and many collaborative works, often created through devising processes with international ensembles of theatre and dance artists.