Mariana’s Song is a piece of interactive cinema designed for people living with advanced dementia. The piece was developed in partnership with Woven Nest, a workshop-led theatre company who work with neurodivergent audiences and older people living in care homes. Delivered one-to-one, with a focus on non-verbal communication, Mariana’s Song is a bespoke experience guided by each resident, and so is different upon every viewing.
Residents interact with physical material props which tie in to 6 chapters of the film, lasting for any amount of time. Lighting, set design, music, soundscapes, and close facilitation by expert art practitioners reinforce the world of Mariana’s Song as people explore at their own pace. 
Mariana’s Song was exhibited at National Glass Centre as part of Sunderland Culture’s festival of social prescription, after which we installed it at The Laurels Care Home for two weeks. We were able to run 25 one-to-one sessions with residents a The Laurels. Initial analysis from this installation have shown transformative results for residents who are usually unable to participate in creative activities. 
Light, Sound, Set, Furniture.
Mariana's Song installed in a sensory room in a residential care home. Physical material props guide the interaction, driving the video, audio, music, and lighting as residents experience the piece with an expert facilitator.

Image Credit: Turps Films

Moss. 
In the style of a fiddle blanket, residents can explore the textiles in their lap, or on the arm of their chair, as Mariana feels the moss growing on a rock. 
Created by textiles artist Alice Guthrie.

Image Credit: Turps Films

Rock.
Cast from Jesmonite, the surface of Mariana's rock is cool to the touch, and can be easily lifted and explored.  

Image Credit: Turps Films

Image Credit: Turps Films

Warmth. 
A heavy vessel of cast Jesmonite in warm tones houses hickory chips and smoky lapsing soughing tea. Mariana sits and sings by her campfire.

Image Credit: Turps Films

Water.
Contrasting the warmth, this cooler vessel has a rough texture like breaking waves, and holds ice cold rocks and metal, surrounding cooking evaporative gel which is rubbed into the skin as Mariana plunges her hands into icy water.

Image Credit: Turps Films

Sand.
Fingers are dug into the sand, which gathers in clumps underhand. This food safe prop sand is contained in a glue laminated birch bowl, and can be explored with all the senses while Mariana mirrors residents' actions.
Seaweed.
Colour, texture, and sounds are found in a twist of seaweed. Mariana winds her fingers through seaweed on screen while residents explore these textile pieces.
Created by textiles artist Alice Guthrie.

Image Credit: Turps Films

The Dripper.
Turning the knurled brass handle releases droplets of water.
Residents can hear the drops as they fall, or catch them on their fingers as Mariana plays with drops falling from the cliff face.

Image Credit: Turps Films

Image Credit: Turps Films

Image Credit: Turps Films

With thanks to all participants, residents, care staff, and activities coordinators at The Laurels Care Home.
Woven Nest Theatre: Poppy Crawshaw, Liv Hunt
Design Research Team: Henry Collingham, Jayne Wallace
Northumbria University Senior Technician: Johnny Hayes
Mariana's Song Filmmaker: Danielle Giddins
Location Filming: Turps Films
Textiles Artist: Alice Guthrie
Digital and Physical Product Design: Henry Collingham

This work was supported by Sunderland Culture and was funded by EPSRC as part of Centre for Digital Citizens.