Virtual creative workshops for older adults
- 13 August 2020
Norwich Theatre is a cultural organisation in the heart of East Anglia with three distinct venues. It's also one of five creative organisations to be shortlisted for this year's Best Age-Friendly Cultural Organisation Award in our annual Fantastic for Families Awards, demonstrating an excellent welcome for older family members across their venues. Here we find out more about what's on offer, virtually and in-person.
Classes and Courses
Our regular classes and courses welcome older participants to take part in activities, meet people, trying out something new, or revisit lost pastimes.
Our community choir is hugely successful, recognised by participants as a feel good activity and a place to make friends; performing on Norwich Theatre Royal’s stage and at the Norwich Christmas light switch on.
Our acting element, includes a termly ‘Silver Stage’, along with monthly workshops to introduce new skills. For those wishing to take their learning a bit further, we facilitate a theatre company for older adults which presents their very own sell out productions at Stage Two. Company members have also performed at local and national events. Wherever they are, there is always a lot of fun to be had.
Our tantalising and ever growing dance offer for older adults incudes collaborations with the national and international visiting companies such as Northern Ballet. Together we produce dance residencies that are anywhere between two hours to three days long, offering opportunities to learn from the performers and choreographers of these amazing productions.
Alongside these residencies we offer weekly classes led by a licensed practitioner for The Royal Academy for Dance Silver Swans ®. This ballet programme specifically for older adults aims to improve people’s strength and balance. More recently, at the request of many of our older participants we have also programmes Jazz and Musical Theatre classes as a chance to try something new, and learn basic jazz dance technique.
Whatever activity they are taking part in, our participants fill our spaces with laughter. It is wonderful to see friendships formed and confidence blossom.
In addition to our classes and courses, we present a month long biannual programme, Creative Matters. This multi-art form season explores challenging subjects such as caring for dementia, living with homelessness and finding refuge and sanctuary. Wherever possible we purposefully plans these to be intergenerational. As part of the season focusing on Caring for Dementia, we shared lived experiences and shows about the impacts of dementia on families, such as Louise Coulthard’s Cockamamy, a tender portrayal of what it is care for someone living with the disease. We work closely with partners such as Norwich Age UK and St Martins Housing to create safe spaces for everyone to explore personal journeys or unknown subject matters. Creative Matters was awarded the Norfolk Arts Award for Diversity in 2019.
A Tale of Many Cities
We believe our venues belong to everyone. Earlier this year we were delighted to be awarded a Theatre of Sanctuary, pledging our commitment to be a place welcome to all. A Tale of Many Cities, part of Shakespeare Nation, a three year adult engagement project with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) instils our commitment. Young and older adult participants, LGBTQ individuals, asylum seekers and refugees came together to create a powerful co-production ‘Palm to Palm’. Sharing our stories, histories, fears and dreams; allowing others to be heard, encouraging each other to listen. Everyone, no matter of their age, is welcome to be a part of our Tale of Many Cities.
The pandemic has resulted in our venues closing, but we are excited to be working on our ‘During the Interval’ programme, reconnecting with new and existing audiences and participants. Our participatory programme will see older adult creative workshops, informal meet ups, engagement with Care Homes and virtual creative engagement for people who may have felt isolated or lonely during lockdown. Details of events and activities will soon be revealed at norwichtheatre.org