Powerful new short film shows the amazing impact of music on early-onset dementia sufferer

Untold—Keith, gives a unique insight into living with early-onset dementia

musical notes on pink background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Raising awareness on World Alzheimer's Day, Manchester Camerata has premiered a poignant new short film that shows the impact of living with early-onset dementia. 

The unique Manchester-based orchestra focuses on putting community impact front and centre and has recently launched its pioneering music café. The café is held weekly in the beautiful Great Nave at the Monastery in Gorton, East Manchester and is run as a weekly music workshop. It helps support local residents who are living with dementia and also provides important respite and support for their at-home dementia carers and family members. 

Whilst many people around the world continue to wonder if we'll ever find a cure for Alzheimer's, now on World Alzheimer's Day, Manchester Camerata has released the second episode as part of its ongoing ‘Untold’ digital film series, titled Untold—Keith. This explores life with early-onset dementia and is inspired by Keith, a man based in Wigan whom the Orchestra met back in 2018 at one of its creative music-making sessions. 

Once a coach driver for football clubs all across the northwest of England, Keith was also a member of the grenadier guard and a huge music fan. In Untold—Keith, viewers are given a meaningful insight into how dementia affects not only his own life, but that of his beloved wife Joan. 

The deeply personal account also reflects upon the brilliantly transformative ways that music helps him on a daily basis. Creating a narrative inspired by Keith’s experience, this powerful film provides a musical and visual response to early onset dementia and raises awareness on World Alzheimer's Day.

Untold-Keith featuring Manchester Camerata

(Image credit: (c) Manchester Camerata)

Untold—Keith stars Neil Bell as Keith and Carla Henry as Joan, with Coronation Street icon Julie Hesmondhalgh as the narrator. Throughout the film, Manchester Camerata also perform selected classical music, ranging from Mozart to Schubert and Handel, all chosen by Keith himself.

The release of the film comes just weeks after the Orchestra launched its new Music Café, extending its vital community work to support those living with dementia and at-home carers. 

Manchester Camerata also continues its dementia research partnership with The University of Manchester, which has proven first-hand how music helps empower people living with dementia.

Untold - Keith starring Neil Bell

(Image credit: (c) Manchester Camerata)

Speaking out about the insightful new film, Keith declared, “I was blown away with the production. It brought me to tears. The way Neil Bell portrayed me was so true and lifelike. Neil’s actions throughout the production were so lifelike, people in my bubble all said it was me to a tee. Also, the way Julie Hesmondhalgh did the voiceover was excellent.

“Thank you again for all everyone's efforts in keeping me safe and comfortable throughout our time together," he added. "I don’t say it often but thank you and love to everyone for helping me understand my dementia. It was difficult to explain just how my brain works to people but you executed me perfectly.”

Each film in the Untold series tells a very different story, though they all address the universal themes of identity, love, loss, community, belonging and inequality. The first episode was released in October last year and featured Caroline Pether, the leader of the Manchester Camerata, who shared her journey to acceptance as a gay, Christian woman.

Untold—Keith and Untold—Caroline are both available to watch on YouTube now.

Emma Shacklock
Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.

Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.

In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for womanandhome.com. 

After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!