Welcome from Pam Schweitzer

Founder of Age Exchange Theatre Trust and Director of the European Reminiscence Network

Welcome to the Reminiscence Theatre Archive

The archive is the surviving records of the thirty theatre productions developed between 1983 and 2005 when I was Founder and Artistic Director of Age Exchange Theatre Trust. It contains audio recordings, transcripts, photographs, videos, tour schedules and press coverage. I am grateful to Age Exchange for giving me this archival material and allowing me to develop it at the University of Greenwich.

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Many of these were professional productions of verbatim shows developed from the verbatim recordings of interviews with older people around specific themes in social history of the twentieth century. Others were shows involving older people as performers, and these were developed through improvisation from their own experience. The archive also includes inter-generational work around reminiscence, performed by young and old together, in the form of Theatre-In-Education shows and Youth Theatre productions.

The website focuses on a number of professional reminiscence theatre projects to give viewers an idea of what each production included in the archive offers, though of course some productions have been better recorded and preserved than others. We have only included two or three of the original interviews for each project, but the full archive contains many more.  We look forward to hearing from viewers who have browsed the archive so please send us your reactions and your requests.

Pam Schweitzer: A brief biography

In the early 1970s Pam Schweitzer was a teacher of English and Drama in London comprehensive schools, and in the same period was involved in the Theatre in Education (TIE) movement, editing a 3-volume collection of TIE scripts for publication. In the early 1980s she worked as Education Officer for the voluntary sector group Task Force, bringing old and young together and using theatre to connect communities.

In 1983 she founded Age Exchange Theatre Trust, the first full-time professional theatre company to specialise in taking reminiscence shows to older people all over the country. Since then, she has devised and directed 30 new shows for Age Exchange, and published as many books of photos and recollections around important themes in London’s social history.

In 1987, she set up the Age Exchange Reminiscence Centre in Blackheath, South East London as a reminiscence arts and training centre. In 1993, she founded the European Reminiscence Network with partners in fifteen countries in the European Union to share best practice and collaborate on international reminiscence projects. In 2000 she received the MBE for services to reminiscence.

She continues to publish work on Reminiscence Theatre, and works on projects relating to reminiscence theatre and reminiscence in dementia care across Europe. In 2005, she became an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Greenwich. In 2012/13 she began working on the the transfer of the Reminiscence Theatre Archive to the Drama building at the University of Greenwich. In 2014, Pam received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Dementia Care Awards and in 2017, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Greenwich.

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