Intergenerational Theater Group - Western Canada
This community participatory research project from Canada brings together different generations to form a professionally led intergenerational theatre group, including both older members of the community and students.
Anderson et al. (2016 ) describe the Intergenerational Theatre Group Project in their research paper:
“In response to publicity about the benefits of professionally led drama programs (Noice, Noice, Perrig-Chiello, & Perrig, 1999), the seniors’ association in a western Canadian city approached a university drama professor about initiating an older adult drama program. In 2001, the professionally led older adults’ drama performance group began. Six to 10 participants regularly performed Shakespeare- or fairy tale–inspired vignettes featuring well-known characters as older adults in settings such as a retirement residence. In 2006, university students joined the older adults. Older adults and university students participate in weekly 'rehearsals' that begin with theatre games, singing, and improv to create a playful atmosphere. Then, participants work together to develop ensemble-created plays. They reminisce about objects brought to the group by staff and tell personal narratives. Vignettes from a number of stories are worked into a meaningful storyline. The group hones the plays in rehearsals and 15 to 20 performances a year."
The researchers conclude: “Participating in this intergenerational theatre group reduced ageism and improved intergenerational relationships. It increased older adults’ and university students’ well-being by building social networks, confidence, and self-esteem and developed a sense of social justice, empathy, and support for others.” (ibid)
Dive deeper into the case of the Intergenerational Theater Group by reading the study by Andersion et al. (2016)
Anderson, Sharon et al. 2016. “Translating knowledge: promoting health through intergenerational community arts programming.” Health Promot Pract 18, no. 1: 15–25. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524839915625037.