Mum Thumb

Photo by Juliana Cassandro

Written by Judith Silver, Mum Thumb is a play about the author and her mother. It flashes back to their earlier lives while mainly focusing on the end of the mother’s life, including her journey through vascular dementia. The play is a lesson in kindness, patience and solidarity, exploring the impact of dementia and death on relationships.

An essential play that aims to deepen our understanding of dementia and the end of life, showing us how to offer comfort and care to others and perhaps even how to experience them in a more positive way ourselves.

Imbued with warmth and with a light touch, Mum Thumb portrays the life of a mother and daughter as they move through vascular dementia and death, finding ‘glimpses of grace’ in both.

Having developed and shown ‘Mum Thumb’ on Zoom during the pandemic, we are now in the process of planning and preparation to begin performing it in person in the autumn.

Audience feedback

It was quite the most wonderful and moving story/play I have seen in a long time. I do think it shouldn’t stop with a zoom production – when we are allowed I would love to attend a live performance. The acting and writing were so true, and I have never had such an insight into dementia.


…you managed to illustrate to both audiences who have never been touched by dementia, to those whose lives are deeply affected by dementia…..really clever, sensitive & personal yet informative to those who perhaps were given insight! I think it was truly outstanding…


It was interesting that the very small role of the geriatric psychiatrist was the starting point of so much of the discussion.  As I listened to her speak, mum and I both looked at each other and wished that we had had that advice.  It was what was so very much missing on our journey…


Who is it for?

Mum Thumb will resonate equally with those who have had a diagnosis of dementia and are wondering what the future holds and the family members, friends and eventually carers accompanying them. And, since we will all experience our own death and that of others, the play’s gentle exploration of this is of universal interest.

Why watch it?

The play unveils some of the misconceptions about dementia and the process of dying, shining a light on the need for compassion, patience, honesty and seeking the support we need. Though it’s about a particular case, there are many resonances and common experiences shared within it.

Why was it written?

When Judith was accompanying her mother through the end of her life she noticed how hard it was to gather the  resources and information she needed in an easily accessible and human way. This has prompted her to share her story, to raise awareness of dementia and to highlight ways we can approach and experience death with more pragmatism and hope. Judith says, ‘I want to help create a world where, if I develop dementia, people know how to help me with empathy and compassion; and when I die, I’d like to do so without fear – within myself or those around me.’

Photos of Anne, the mum

For information and support