Ethnic minority elders' shows

Older people who grew up in Africa, the Caribbean Islands, India and the Far East all have stories to tell concerning their young lives, their migration to Britain and their experience of living, working and growing old here in London. Some have been motivated by a desire to share their stories with others of the same generation. Others have been keen to transmit their experience to younger people of the same and different ethnicities to create greater understanding and appreciation between generations. 

Most of the elders who have worked with me and colleagues on theatre projects about their own lives have not had previous performance experience, but have enjoyed both the process of creating shows together and playing to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.  

The theatre work has brought people closer together as they have responded to the challenge of creating new plays from their own individual and common remembered experience.  Music has always played an important role in these shows, binding the scenes together and summoning the sounds and songs of youth enjoyed in faraway places. Singing together and remembering together has met a felt need in old age to spend time with others who have similar educational, cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds in order to make sense of what they have lived through. The making and performance of these reminiscence plays has strengthened the participants’ sense of belonging to their communities, as well as building bridges to other groups in their local communities. They have grown in confidence and gained self-esteem through processing their experience and becoming performers of their own past.