After huge success with For the Love of Chocolate two years ago and A Glass Half Full last year, Pulborough-based actress and campaigner Amanda Waring makes it three Festivals of Chichester out of three this year to launch her latest show.
An Evening with Amanda Waring (www.amandawaring.com) will close this year’s festival with a date at the Vicars’ Hall, Chichester Cathedral on Sunday, July 12 at 8pm. As Amanda says, she likes to put her shows together at the last moment, but she’s certainly promising a unique, poignant and amusing evening, an uplifting session of conversation, performance, song and film.
Amanda will be sharing the highs and lows of her extraordinary life as an actress, mother, film-maker, writer and renowned dignity campaigner.
“I will be showing a couple of my short films about my work around end-of-life care, and I will also be taking elements of my other shows, looking at ageing, celebrating being a mother, looking at ways we can give more and do more in society. It will be a theatrical, inspirational, educational, poignant, personal evening! There will be conversation. There will be poetry and some readings, and I will have my beautiful guitarist Andy there. It will be lovely, and it will be funny, and I will also be sharing the understanding of some of the work I do around dignity.”
Much of the work was inspired by bitter personal experience surrounding the final illness of Amanda’s mother, the actress Dame Dorothy Tutin (1930-2001): “My mother didn’t have the support she needed. She did, towards the end with the wonderful Macmillan nurses, but until then her experience was devastating in its lack of compassion and dignity. I have since dedicated my life to improving standards and making sure that love in care is no longer a dirty word.
“I started the Dignity in Care campaign for the government that has now got 70,000 members. I have now trained more than 30,000 people at least who have experienced my training or me speaking at a conference, and I advise the government regularly. Whether I am talking to 30 people in a care home or to a thousand people at a conference, the impact is massive. It is all about the ability to reconnect people back to their hearts so that at the end of their life, it is not the medication they remember, but the love. It is all about awakening compassion for ourselves and compassion for our patients and our loved ones. It is all about our shared humanity.”
So where had it all gone wrong?
“We have this feeling that we don’t have enough time to give people dignity, and I understand that. People are short-staffed. There is so little time to give somebody a listening ear. So much it has to do with time. But in all my training, I would say that it is the quality of the time, not the amount, that matters. It is about how we use that time, how we use it in a dignified way. I talk to people about communication, and I show people what can be done. We are not looking at the medicine. We are wanting to look at the feelings and at the emotions.
“For me, at first, it was about raising awareness, but then it was about finding solutions. It was no good being angry. It was about taking action, and that’s where you need good communication. You need to be valuing the staff. The management need to be listening to the changes taking place that will allow everyone to have a proper foundation for dignified care for everybody at the end of life. For me, it is such wonderfully-rewarding work. I have blazed a trail, but I get so humbled when I see the effect of the training I have been giving.”
www.chichestertickets.co.uk. Box office: 01243 813595. In person: Cloisters Shop, Cathedral Cloisters, Chichester, PO19 1PX (open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm).
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