from Pam Schweitzer

‘Memory Lane’ was a play based on interviews with older people who had grown up in Blackheath Village in south east London, the home of the Reminiscence Centre. Local people were invited to bring in photos and stories which were recorded on computer and on tape. In a memorable series of meetings, a group of older people who had all grown up in Collins Street, a small street by the railway line in the village, were brought together by the project to record and share memories. Some had not met one another for over 50 years and they thoroughly enjoyed getting together again and triggering one another’s memories, spontaneously remembering small incidents and big events in their lives.

Being so near the Reminiscence Centre, they could keep in touch with the progress of the theatre production based on their memories, attend rehearsals and support the actors, in some cases making strong relationships with the actors who would ‘perform’ them. Three of the contributors also visited the local primary school situated in the street where they grew up, to share stories with the children about their own childhood. The children took these stories and made a play from them which was later performed in a local reminiscence festival in Blackheath Halls.

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