The Monday Men

Written by Lydia Davidson and Shonagh Murray

Development of a new dementia friendly musical. Working with Professional actors and 'The Monday Men' a group of men living with dementia in Ayrshire. 

Ken McIntyre is a new addition to The Monday Men - a group of gents hosted by Andy, a community leader, who come together every Monday for a natter. It’s immediately clear to Ken, however, that this is not your average social group and Archie, Jack, and Walt are not your average pensioners. They may meet every Monday over tea and biscuits, they may participate in exercise and art classes, they may also rib each other endlessly, but these pensioners aren’t sitting reminiscing about the good old days. No, the good old days are here, the good old days are now, and these gents have a bank to rob.

Writers: Lydia Davidson & Shonagh Murray. Director:Fiona Mackinnon.

Cast:Paul Samson, George Docherty, Michael MacKenzie, Steven Wren, Manjot Sumal.

Music:Shonagh Murray & Thea Panainte Choreography:Chris Wilson.

Thanks: Serena Doran and the Ayr Gaiety

The Process

Lydia and Shonagh have been meeting and working with a men’s group in Kilmarnock every Monday to develop 'The Monday Men'. Made up of 11 men living with dementia or dementia-like symptoms at varying stages of diagnosis. The group leaders organise an array of guests to visit every week and provide different experiences, for example, Tai Chi, art classes, history talks, trivia and (one of our favourite occasions) a police officer (who they all but interrogated). This culminated in a development week with the Ayr Gaiety in July 2022, and a sharing with the real Monday Men and their family and carers.

 

The Monday Men is our attempt to create a play that is both dementia friendly in process as well as in performance. During the process of creating the script we have spent hours in the room conversing with the men and joining in with their weekly activities to ensure the play captures their voices and ideas. 

 

One week, over lunch, someone happened to drop into conversation a bank robbery - we discovered this group of men spent some of their Monday session time planning a bank robbery. Well, once we knew that there was only one thing to do - write a play about a group of men planning a bank robbery, on a Monday of course.

 

During the course of the play, audience members are invited to join our actors on stage and become guest speakers, from police officers to bank tellers. In the second half of the play we invite the entire audience to join us in distracting the bank teller with a seated flashmob to allow our four gents to pull off the bank robbery, keeping the experience accessible for all in attendance. The real Monday Men will make an appearance in the initial sharing as ‘The Back Up’ where they will introduce themselves (in code of course) and tell us what their role in the robbery will be.