Play Up

Play UpHave Play Up in your aged care facility and continue the effect on the elderly that was demonstrated in the SMILE Study results. Download the brochure here. Learn about the program. We will contact you within 24 hours.


Play Up is a humour therapy program run by the Arts Health Institute. Play Up provides a playful person-centered relationship with clients and staff in aged care. This program continues the work of the National Health and Medical Research Council funded SMILE Study conducted by the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre at the University of NSW. The program involves regular visits by a Play Up performer who is a professional actor with special skills in working in aged care who will work with clients and mentor staff in your facility in the techniques of creative engagement.

Our focus is particularly on clients with dementia. We believe in “late life development” and recognise that people with dementia are in another stage of their life. In this stage of life play facilitates the connection between art and expression. Play Up Performers help residents to "Play Up to one’s potential".


We work with staff in your facility to learn the skills of a Play Up Partner. We engage with the clients to energise and enliven them, to ease their burdens and create a sense of optimism and happiness through play.

Together with your staff, we use play as a powerful tool to reduce stress and to nourish the roots of trust, empathy and caring. Play Up provides the skills and experience for staff to become Play Up Partners through mentoring, workshops and "Play-line", an innovative approach using mobile and online learning, to earn Play Up Points.

We develop a Play Up Plan with you that describes the number of Play Up Performer visits, the number of staff who will work towards becoming a Play Up Partner, and the number of clients that you want to involve. There are a number of options to suit your clients’ and staff needs, facility size and location. Families and friends can organise to have individual weekly visits. Contact us by calling the AHI office on 02 4927 5400 to discuss further.

The Smile Within is a documentary that follows Jean-Paul Bell delivering the intervention in the study's final weeks. To understand more about Play Up we recommend viewing the film. Purchase a copy now.

See what the Federal Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, The Hon Mark Butler, says about the Play Up Program.

To express your interest in learning more about the program, please complete the following form:

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Address: Suite 4E, Level 4,
41-45 Hunter Street,
Newcastle NSW 2300


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