Ages and stages and cognate projects

Ages and Stages is a continuing research collaboration between Keele University and the New Vic Theatre exploring the impact of theatre on ideas about, and the experience of, ageing. Its initial programme, funded by the New Dynamics of Ageing Programme, was delivered between 2009-12. The project received follow-on-funding to translate its research into practice. This resulted in the development of the Ages and Stages theatre company of elders who have performed at the Royal Exchange (Manchester), and the Latitude Festival. The international dimension of the project (with University of Alberta/city of Edmonton, Canada) resulted in the development of the Stoke-on-Trent/North Staffordshire ‘Live Age Festival’, a city-wide, co-produced festival promoting creativity in later life since 2014 (Meet Me at Live Age is a project supported by a variety of funders, see below).

The continuing research collaboration has most recently resulted in the KISI Active Partnership project entitled: Dementia, Community and Creativity. This is a Programme of work which seeks to build social connections and offer a range of creative opportunities for people living with Dementia and their families. We investigate the impact of creativity as a collective endeavour, on the wellbeing of participants, who have been disproportionately impacted by the isolation during COVID lockdown restrictions. As well as using Social Media we hold telephone and, when possible, face to face sessions, using both indoor and outdoor public spaces, to increase visibility and social opportunities.

  • Keele Academic Lead: David Amigoni, Keele Deal | Culture
  • Methods used: Archival and cultural research, translated into co-produced theatrical productions: creative theatrical methods of engagement and group interaction, applied to the building of social and cultural capital through social learning.
  • Partners: New Vic Theatre, Education Department; AgeUK Staffordshire, Stoke City Council (for Live Age Festival), and (for Meet Me at Live Age) Arts Council England, National Lottery Community Fund, Paul Hamlyn Foundation

(Not) Acting Our Age video

A collective portrait of the Ages & Stages theatre company. It captures the joyful discovery of theatre-making by a group of older people and challenges ideas of later life as a period of decline. The company emerged in 2012 from a research collaboration between Keele University and the New Vic Theatre (Newcastle-under-Lyme) that sought to examine the value of theatre in the lives of older people living in the Potteries.