“Beam is possibly the very definition of a small-scale production, but this particular grandmother deserves to tell her story to as wide an audience as possible”
– John Murphy, Exeunt Magazine (read full review here)
Beam is a Granny romance!
A one-woman show which invites the audience to slow down and share a jelly baby with Granny, an 86 year old with a serious sweet tooth and a love of all things small. 10 pairs of knickers, a leap of faith, a waft of lavender, a blue suit, and true love. True love. Does that even exist anymore? Times are hard, put on your slipper socks and join Granny – she has something sweet to share. Through movement, music, storytelling and multi-sensory interaction, Granny takes you on a journey to past love from a world before. Based on a true story, Beam is about hope, and is a celebration of the bravery and risks taken by an older generation. It asks the audience to stop asking Google, to slow down and listen, leaving them to question their own capacity to take such risks in the world today.
Beam came out of a desire to bring old fashioned silliness back into an increasingly serious world and is inspired by Heather’s own Granny Betty’s story. Beam tells the tale of Granny’s journey across the sea to follow a man she had only met twice! Granny Betty is Scottish and lives in Edinburgh however shortly into rehearsals it was clear that for Yorkshire lass Lucy, maintaining a convincing Scottish accent for a 1 hour show was really difficult! Help came in the form of Emmy who Lucy met through the We Danced project in Sheffield. This intergenerational project linked care homes and primary schools. There was one resident in particular whose positive energy and kindness stood out to Lucy and reflected the conversations between Lucy and Heather had about Granny Betty. Emmy was a lovely lady with a generous smile that was infectious and lit up a room, who sadly passed away during the third year of the We Danced project. Thus Beam is inspired by two great ladies; one who inspired the story and the other who inspired the characterisation, physicality and voice of the character. Heather wanted to make this work after her Granny Betty was diagnosed with dementia and Emmy too was a lady living with dementia.
Beam is a collaboration between Lucy and theatre maker Heather Morgan who began working together in 2015. Together they create work that is influenced by stories and experiences which are shared and familiar and combine writing, story telling and movement. Their first piece Remember was a short monologue created in response to the Save Our NHS campaign and was a live solo before being developed into a short film. Beam was originally selected as a short performance piece for ‘A Nations Theatre’ at Camden People’s Theatre and was then developed into a full – length 1 hour show in 2016 with the support of Sheffield MIND, Arts Council England, and Theatre Delicatessen’s Forge North Scheme. It had its debut four – night run at the Moor Theatre Delicatessen in Sheffield, 2016 before a 2 week run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at ZOO venues, 2017.
“My face physically hurts from smiling”
“Honestly, it was simply wonderful”
“Felt like it spoke to that universal part of every Nan; the optimist”
“It was a lot like an exercise in mindfulness and focusing on the present. Very calming and therapeutic”
“I felt transported with her to her memories and it really highlighted the significance of our stories, patients stories and how much joy and reassurance they can give us when we may be unwell and have dementia, to give the time, to give patients and share this with them”