A NEW musical comedy will explore dementia after its lead actor’s own experience for caring his mother-in-law.

Former Wigan and Leigh College teacher Steve Cooper, who has starred in Peter Kay’s Car Share, will be taking to the stage at The Way Theatre at Victoria Mill in Atherton at 7.30pm on Thursday, June 21.

Paradise Lodge is set in a care home based on the final years of Steve’s mother in law Dorothy.

Steve wrote it to make sense of dementia and how it affected Dorothy as well as her family and friends.

He plays the role of Eric, who along with actress Sophie Osborne as Kylie, make up the dysfunctional ukulele playing duo who are performing in their first gig at the Paradise Lodge care home.

Steve, 54, said: "Dorothy’s disease became apparent after her husband Peter died.

"We wanted her to be able to live at home as long as possible, so my wife Tracey and I became her full-time carers.

“I wanted to try to understand and help others understand how dementia changes the way we see reality and the impact that can have, but to look at it in a light hearted way which celebrates the lives of people with the condition.”

Steve and Sophie play nine roles between them in the comedy which tugs at the heart strings and explores the nature of identity, reality and loss.

Sophie also helped to care for her grandma for 10 years after she developed dementia.

She said: "There is a lot in Paradise Lodge that will be familiar to anyone who’s been affected by dementia.

"One in three people will develop the condition and we wanted to encourage people to think about the person behind the dementia.

"This is why we’ve staged the play so the audience feels that they’re a resident in a care home watching Eric and Kylie perform.”

The story is told in a series of flashbacks and comic wartime songs which takes residents such as Vi and Ronnie back in time.

The play will be directed by Richard Oliver.

Tickets are priced at £10.02 per person.

To buy one visit eventrbite.co.uk.