Ages and Stages is a collaboration between Keele University and the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-Under-Lyme. Between 2009 and 2012, we explored the Victoria/New Vic’s pioneering social documentaries and talked to older people about the part the theatre has played in their lives. We looked at representations of ageing and later life in the social documentaries (produced from 1964 to 1995) through archival analysis at the Victoria Theatre archive, and interviewed 95 older people who had been involved with the theatre as volunteers, actors and employees, audience members, and sources for the social documentaries. The research was then drawn together to create a new piece of documentary drama called Our Age, Our Stage, involving an intergenerational group of performers and participants. This project was funded by the national cross-council New Dynamics of Ageing research programme.
We have now been awarded a year’s follow on funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to enable us to translate our research into further practical outputs. Between August 2012 and July 2013, we aim to establish an intergenerational theatre company at the New Vic; develop and tour new performance pieces; deliver a pilot inter-professional training course focused on intergenerational drama; and scope out the potential for a Creative Age Festival in North Staffordshire.