'Culture, Society and Medicine’ seminar series welcomes Dr Miriam Bernard, Professor of Social Gerontology, Keele University, England and Dr Jill Rezzano, Head of Education, the New Vic Theatre, North Staffordshire.

Ages and Stages: from research to public performance and beyond

In this presentation, we tell the story of the Ages and Stages projects we have been involved with since 2009 and which have led to the establishment of the now annual Live Age Festival in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire. Ages and Stages is a continuing collaboration between Keele University and the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme funded initially under the multi-research council New Dynamics of Ageing programme (2009-12) and subsequently by the AHRC (through a follow-on award and two awards under the ‘Cultural Value’ project). Our Ages and Stages projectshave, variously, explored the place of the theatre in representations and recollections of ageing; used archival and interview material to create the 2012 Ages & Stages Exhibition and an hour-long verbatim documentary drama Our Age, Our Stage;  researched, devised and toured other interactive theatre pieces; developed, delivered and evaluated a pilot inter-professional training course;  supported the creation of the Ages & Stages Theatre Company as both a performance group and as a ‘company of researchers’; and established the Live Age Festival – a celebration of creativity in later life. We share our experiences of developing these projects; consider their impacts; and reflect on the continuing opportunities and challenges of undertaking engaged research of this nature.  

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