Hannah Ashwell, 10 January 2016

Group convened to discuss working with older people on arts participation projects

and programming.

Attended by:

Hannah Ashwell -Ashcroft Arts Centre

Katie Jackson

Lucy Nicholls - Belgrade Theatre

Chris - Kirkgate Theatre

Nikki Ralston - Arts Council England - Midlands

JP Houghton


All above venues have existing programmes for older people (weekly or monthly)

featuring music, performance, choirs, matinee performances and programmes.

Apparent from work already happening that older people attending feel marginalised,

lack social opportunities and feel loneliness. These groups are able communication,

shared spaces and community. Some work carried out with dementia groups as well,

inc at linked museum services.

Transport is an issue for participants, especially those with mobility problems, and

evening programmes can be unsuitable with customers less willing to travel at night


Several venues or programmes include outreach work in residential or care home

settings and organisations also work with community voluntary orgs or Age Uk or Age


Demographic changes in our local areas see a rise in older people in the population as

well as audience members/participants. How do/can theatres and arts orgs meet their

needs more?

Known programmes include:

Arts and Allsorts in Cumbria

Wellbeing Wednesdays at the Ashcroft Arts Centre

Shine On at the Belgrade

Meet me at the Albany

Meet me at the Maltings

Men Sheds - Beyond Blue (Australia)

Dry Water ( NEast company)

Dance for people with Parkinson's (Pavillion Dance)

New Vic Stoke on Trent

But, where are the practitioners in this area? Identified lack of networks for

people/orgs working with this specialism.

Discussion around group needs for older people and dealing with change in those

groups. Shine On created a handbook with their participants to help negotiate

behaviours and safeguarding approaches.

How to support vulnerable people who don't identify as vulnerable? Finding ways to be

respectful and sensitive, yet also challenge behaviour that is unacceptable.

Discussions around generational shifts in culture, social change, gender and identity,

social hierarchies exploring challenges of working with groups and individuals.

ACE supported a tour of Vamos Theatre's Finding Joy to care homes.

Conversations circled around older people performing to other people and them

feeling valued and in successful inter generational projects including How to Age

Gracefully (on you tube) and Hampshire Cultural Trust's HLF Young Roots Funded No

Facebook? oMG! And a letter writing project between young and older people.

Discussion outcome was that we would like to start an informal network for Arts and

Elders to enable us to share best practice, case studies and partnering opportunities.

Please contact: [email protected] for more info.


networks, dementia, Networks, exclusion, health, Health, Exclusion, wellbeing, Elders,

isolation, Dementia, intergenerational

Comments: 1

Nikki Ralston, 18 January 2016

ACE had just published some research, case studies and a film that may be of interest: