Mariana's Song

Mariana's Song is a one-to-one multi-sensory experience for older people living in care homes with advanced dementia. Facilitated by theatre, material design, and magical interaction to support Creative Ageing practice.

Mariana's Song

Initially commissioned by Northumbria University, UNION Arts and Helix Arts, Mariana’s Song has had some success in deployment, but Woven Nest have approached CDC researchers to strengthen the physical-material design to accompany the film, bring new delivery models to the fore, and weave magical interactions into the experience to add layers to audience's experience as they visit and revisit Mariana's Song.

Poppy Crawshaw and Liv Hunt (below) are the Artistic Directors of Woven Nest Theatre

The project focuses on people’s individualised experience of time, as they explore narrative cinema at their own pace and choose which elements to foreground during their experience. 

During the piece narrative video, audio, music, light, and physical sensory artefacts are related to one another but not set into a linear timeline, instead these timelines meander and influence one another. Users are invited to watch Mariana’s Song, which tells the story of Mariana as she explores a beach, while they interact with sensory props which influence the timeline of audio-visual elements of the cinema. 


Non-linear Narrative

Mariana's Song has six chapters, which can be experienced in any order, for any amount of time. Driven by residents' interaction with six physical-material props, Mariana's Song displays video, audio, and lighting to complement each chapter, for any amount of tine, until residents decide to explore another chapter.

Armrests are designed, by textiles artist Alice Guthrie, to feel like the mossy rock.

Physical-material artefacts reinforce residents' connection to the film, light, and soundscape, through embodied interaction and gestural exploration - engaging all the senses.

There are warm and cold artefacts to explore, the cold bowl includes cooling gel and ice-cold stone and metal cubes

Our research approach, based in sensory ethnography, focuses on the embodied experience of people with dementia.

Catching water drops with The Dripper

Mariana’s Song builds on established research into IoT technology use in care settings, as well as Creative Ageing practice, and material design research into the sensorial experience of living with dementia contributing new ways to individualise people’s experience of previously linear media. 

Partners: Woven Nest Theatre, Newcastle City Council 

People: Jayne Wallace, Henry Collingham