Advisory Group


Anne Basting (Ph.D.) is Director of  the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee's Center on Age & Community and Associate Professor of Theatre at the Peck School of the Arts, where she teaches storytelling and playwriting. Basting has written extensively on issues of aging and representation, including two books, Forget Memory: Creating better lives for people with dementia (2009) ( and The Stages of Age: Performing Age in Contemporary American Culture (1998). Her numerous articles and essays have been published across multiple disciplines.  Basting has received a Rockefeller Fellowship, a Brookdale National Fellowship, and numerous major grants for her scholarly and creative endeavors, which include a dozen plays and public performances.  She founded (1998) and directs the TimeSlips Project.  Basting is at work on the Penelope Project, a professionally produced play to be staged inside a nursing home, inspired by residents' discussions on the myth of Penelope from Homer's Odyssey. 


Anne Basting  



Jo Blagg has almost thirty years experience in arts administration and management which began in the 80s with Art Link (Shape), then took her to The New Vic Theatre, moving again in 2000 to the commercial sector with The Ambassador Theatre Group as Creative Learning Manager (Stoke on Trent Theatres) and  finally working independently mainly in the arts education sector.  From 2009 until 2012 Jo was contracted by Stoke on Trent City Council as Lead Officer for the Creative and Media Diploma Consortium. She has also worked for clients ranging from Arts Council England, National Skills Academy Creative and Cultural, Glyndebourne Opera, Staffordshire University, Stoke- on- Trent College, and Youth Music.  Jo is also engaged in researching the Victoria Theatre archive to support the preparation of a book on the life and career of theatre director and documentary pioneer, Peter Cheeseman.

 Jo Blagg


Dr. Janet Fast is a professor in the Department of Human Ecology and Co-Director of the Research on Aging, Policies and Practice team at the University of Alberta in Edmonton Canada. She is a family economist with over 20 years research experience. Her current research interests include valuing the productive contributions older adults make to society and documenting the benefits of social participation and engagement on the health and well-being of adults with chronic illness or disabilities over the life course. Her publications include numerous journal articles; most recently she co-authored a chapter on Ageing, Disability and Participation in the edited book Rural Ageing: A Good Place to Grow Old? (2008). With funding from the Canadian Institute for Health Research, she currently leads a multidisciplinary team investigating the links between health and creative aging, focusing specifically on theatre as a pathway to healthy aging - a joint initiative that has explicit ties with the NDA Ages and Stages programme.


janet fast  



Susan Feldman is a Social Gerontologist at Monash University, Australia, and has over 20 years' research experience. Her research interests include the psychosocial health and wellbeing of community dwelling older people, particularly women and older people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities; relationships between generations, particularly with regard to psychosocial health and wellbeing; the experience of widowhood for women and the impact of this experience on their health and wellbeing. Dr Feldman is actively involved in developing innovative strategies for translating research findings and health promotion messages for the general community and in particular the older population through the use of community based theatre. Her publications include numerous journal articles and the following edited book collections; The Art of Ageing Well and the Art of Caring for Older Adults (2007); A Certain Age: Women Growing Older (1999); Something that Happens to Other People (1996); Family Violence: Everybody’s Business, Somebody’s Life (1991).


Susan Feldman  



Ray is Professor of Film Heritage and Documentary at Staffordshire University. He is also a Director of Screen West Midlands, a Director of the Media Archive for Central England (MACE), a Director of the Mitchell Memorial Arts Centre Trust, member of the Academy of Teaching Excellence Fellows, Fellow of the Film and Video Institute and member of Equity. He is a Vice President of the Arnold Bennett Society along with Roy Hattersley and Margaret Drabble.

Ray is an independent documentary film-maker, writer and actor – having appeared on television, in the West End and around the UK in plays and musicals, and on the Royal Variety Performance. He founded and runs the Staffordshire Film Archive, has produced over 70 documentaries and compilations of archive films, and has appeared as archive and film expert on various television programmes. His theatre scripts and film sequences have been produced in theatres around the UK. Ray was recently appointed MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List, for services to the arts.

Ray Johnson


Anne Kinnaird is a visual artist, employing a fusion of digital and more traditional media in her work. This includes photography; animation, video, drawing and wax resist. She is a founder member of North Staffs based arts group, Letting in the Light, (, established in 1997.

We specialise in employing creative skills to engage with communities and have extensive experience of working in Arts for Health. We believe that the arts can be accessible to all, regardless of age, ability, and cultural or social background. To facilitate this accessibility we work with groups and partnerships to plan and develop bespoke projects employing appropriate arts activities to meet aspirations and needs. Key to Letting in the Light’s success is creative collaboration with other artists. We employ the skills of other visual artists, creative writers, dance practitioners, musicians etc. and work in partnership with many local, regional and national organisations.


 Anne Kinnaird


TERESA LEFORT (member of the NDA Older People’s Reference Group)

Teresa Lefort has been involved with older people’s groups for over 25 years, both as a representative and as a volunteer. Teresa chaired the Greater London Forum for 5 years and was Vice Chair of BGOP Older People’s Advisory Group between 2006 and 2008, where her skills were highly valued. After her retirement Teresa achieved her certificate in Industrial Relations & TU studies and a BSC degree, and she has gone on to be interested in research, its importance for older people, and the significant part they can play in it where it concerns their everyday lives. In 2004 she attended Ruskin College to do to the Ransackers Educational Adventure for older people, and went on to join NDA OPRG at its inception in 2007. Teresa recently completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Gerontology at Southampton.


Teresa Lefort  



Chris Martin's career in the theatre, film and television began fifty years ago. He was an actor, director and writer and spent his formative years at the old Victoria Theatre at Hartshill in Stoke and became an Associate Director at the New Vic. during the stewardship of Peter Cheeseman. In his mid fifties he was invited to act as consultant to a new Drama and Theatre Arts degree at Staffordshire University. He then held the post of Senior Lecturer in Theatre Practice there for the next twelve years. Chris was involved with the Ages and Stages project last year having a strong interest in the subject of 'ageing' in the modern world especially because he has now reached the age of seventy!


 Chris Martin



Louise is the Centre for Intergenerational Practice Manager for the Beth Johnson Foundation. She joined the Foundation in 2002 as the National Development Officer for the UK Older People's Advisory Group that was part of the Better Government for Older People Programme. Since then she has taken a leading role in the development of Intergenerational Practice at the Foundation developing the national infrastructure to support the England programme and providing expert advice, guidance and support to organisations and programmes across the UK.


Louise Middleton



Mo Ray is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Public Policy and Professional Practice at Keele University. Her background is as a social worker and she has worked for over twenty years in social care and social work with older people. She has a first degree in Education and Psychology from the Open University and a PhD in Social Gerontology from Keele.

Between 2009 and 2012, Mo was seconded within Keele to promote the development of active ageing/ageing studies.  She has developed a number of accredited professional development programmes including the ‘ageing studies’ certificate and a ‘dementia care’ certificate. Mo’s research interests include practice development projects with a focus on dementia care and the care and support of older people.  She is currently working on a project exploring the experience of older men and women ageing without children (funded by the Averil Osborne Fund).

Mo is a Social Care Fellow at the National Institute of Clinical Excellence and a member of the Executive Committee of the British Society of Gerontology. 

 Mo Ray


Pam Schweitzer founded the Age Exchange Theatre Trust in 1983. It was the first full-time professional theatre company to specialise in touring reminiscence theatre across the UK and Europe and Pam remained its Artistic Director until 2005.  In 1987 she created the first Reminiscence Centre, a hub for creative reminiscence activity, inter-generational work, professional training in reminiscence and community memory installations and exhibitions. She has produced 30 books of edited and illustrated reminiscences focusing on key themes in social history of the twentieth century and two recent books on Reminiscence Theatre (2007) and Reminiscence in Dementia Care (2008) for Jessica Kingsley Publishers. She continues to direct the European Reminiscence Network, which she founded in 1993, lecturing, directing and training in reminiscence and related fields. She is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Greenwich.


Pam Schweitzer  


ELIZABETH SCLATER (member of the NDA Older People’s Reference Group)

Elizabeth brings over 40 years experience of working with older people as a social worker, policy officer and volunteer. Her career has been in local government where, in 1990, following 20 years of social work practice, teaching and management she joined the London Borough of Lewisham’s central policy unit as equalities officer for older people. From 1999 to 2004, Elizabeth managed the corporate Equality and Diversity Team as principal advisor to the Council on equality & diversity. She has developed and managed three successful European-funded projects addressing, gender and age; age and social inclusion; and the effective mainstreaming of gender equality across local  partnerships. Since retirement, Elizabeth has become a member of the NDA older people’s reference group, and is involved in local, national and international activism promoting older women’s equality and human rights.

 Elizabeth Sclater


Fiona Wallace is Executive Director of the New Vic Theatre. Fiona has over 20 years' experience in theatre ranging from management and marketing through to production and education via a varied career that began at Harrogate Theatre and included the role of Executive Director at Derby Playhouse. Fiona has also worked in the higher education sector leading the communications campaign for the launch of the University of Derby's Buxton Campus. More recently she was the Head of Commercial Strategy Development for the Peak District National Park Authority which followed three years as head of the environmental college, Losehill Hall.



Mark is the head of School of Art & Design at Staffordshire University.

Mark Webster