Staging ageing
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Has principal investigator Mick Mangan
Impact Five potential user groups can be identified: \n\nUser Group 1: Members of ageing communities themselves will benefit from a broader intellectual and cultural understanding of ageing with which to contextualize their own experiences. They will also benefit from an increased understanding of ways in which performance has contributed to (and continues to contribute to) the social construction of the category of ageing, and to identity construction; and of the diversity of ways in which ageing has been experienced and managed indifferent societies. Those directly involved in impact workshops will have opportunities for enhanced social engagement, thereby contributing to their own quality of life, and those with an existing interest in theatre will benefit from an increased awareness of the range of roles for older actors - which may in turn encourage their own engagement in performance as makers as well as consumers. Another important benefit for this group is the contribution which the research will make to increased public awareness of ageing-related issues, and to enhanced inter-generational awareness. \n\nUser Group 2: Performance makers with a current, actual or potential interest in creating or expanding work with, or of particular interest to, ageing communities and audiences. Potential benefits to this group include: (a) an enhanced and contextualized understanding of key texts and performances, and of existing age-related theatre work; (b) increased awareness of key issues relating to ageing communities with whom they will be collaborating - thus deepening the quality of artistic productions; (c) a heightened public awareness of this key social issue, leading to new possibilities for engaging audiences and direct financial benefits for companies through the stimulation of further creative work, generating box-office income and investment. \n\nUser Group 3: Arts policy-makers funders and commissioners, in particular those for whom commissioning performance is linked with issues of cultural, social and economic well-being and community development. Benefits include raised awareness of (a) the significance of the theme (b) the diversity of what it might involve (c) a canon of existing texts , and (d) some of the problems and possibilities in ageing-related performance. This raised awareness will improve decision-making and commissioning policies, enabling innovative audience development strategies. \n\nUser Group 4: Those working professionally or voluntarily with older people in community arts, in educational settings, charities and other voluntary organisations, social care arenas and health promotion, including arts-based therapies. Benefits from the project include an enhanced cultural understanding of ageing within which to place their own practices; a critical understanding of both the positive and negative potential of dramatic representation in constructing social attitudes towards and amongst the elderly. The research into current theatrical practices (reminiscence theatre and other kinds of theatre work with elderly communities) will offer them an enhanced understanding of the role that theatre, and the involvement of older people in consuming and creating theatre and performance, can have in enhancing quality of life, helping build communities of identity, increasing intergenerational understanding, challenging negative stereotypes and combating social exclusion. \n\nUser Group 5: Educators, trainers and training agencies working with members of Group 4: benefits include those for Group 4, plus an increased awareness of ways in which ageing impacts on peoples' engagement with performance and performance processes. \n\nBy addressing these various user groups in ways specified in the Impact Plan, the fellowship seeks to strengthen relationships between the academic, theatrical and social care sectors, and to
Status Closed
Identifier AH/I002421/1
abstract Researchers and policy-makers alike are increasingly aware of the scale and urgency of the issue of an ageing global and national population. This scale and urgency can be illustrated by two stark statistics: 1) Globally, the current number of people aged 60 years or older is estimated at 700 million. Medium-variant projections forecast that by the year 2025 this will have risen to 1.2 billion. 2) Census figures for England and Wales demonstrate that during the first half of the twentieth century the number of centenarians held more or less steady, staying at under four hundred until well after the 1951 census. By the 2001 census these had risen to nearly nine thousand\n\nThe ageing issue has been addressed by various existing individual and team research projects, and research programmes. The majority of these have come from medical and social sciences, in response to initiatives such as the ESRC-administered 'New Dynamics of Ageing'. It must be acknowledged, however, that - with some honourable exceptions - arts and humanities research has not yet made a great contribution to our understanding of ageing. What, then, does a study of drama, theatre and performance have to offer in terms of advancing this understanding? \n\n'Staging ageing' is based on the premise that there are things to be learned from plays and performances, past and present, about the experiences and social dynamics of ageing that cannot be learned from other sources. An approach based in historicized textual and performance analysis offers a proven method for engaging with cultural history 'from the inside', and this study will stress the importance of these texts and performances, not just as witnesses, but as contributors, to the various contested meanings of ageing in its multifarious historical and cultural contexts. In addition it will investigate how these lessons illuminate - and how they are illuminated by - current concerns about an ageing and society, and will seek to suggest ways in which an understanding of these lessons contribute to the urgent contemporary questions of the new dynamics of ageing. \n\nThe project will employ selected dramatic texts and theatrical performances as an optic through which to view the changing images, representations and understandings of old age which we have inherited. Drawing primarily on the British and European dramatic canon and on contemporary British theatre, it will investigate theatrical engagements with ageing from the Greek chorus through to recent reminiscence theatre. These texts and performances will be subjected to critical and comparative analyses, couched in terms which are (a) historically contextualized, and (b) sensitive to the theatrical medium of the dramatic text. Drawing on recent research into ageing by cultural historians and sociologists, it will investigate the relationship of the plays and their playing to the material, social and ideological conditions which produced them. By undertaking this investigation and associated interdisciplinary and impact-related activities, the project will aim to make a valuable contribution to our growing understanding of the cultural past and present of ageing.
Type Project
Label Staging ageing
Title Staging ageing

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University of Exeter Of
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