Fifteen: The place of theatre in representations of ageing

Despite increasing evidence that continued engagement in creative activities is beneficial as we navigate later life, we still know comparatively little about what participation in theatre, and specifically in theatre-making, means to participants. This chapter presents selected findings from a detailed interdisciplinary case study of one particular theatre - the Victoria/New Victoria Theatre in North Staffordshire - in the lives of older people. The chapter describes how the project took shape; how each of its three strands (archival, interview and performative) developed; and how its rich and complex data set has been used: with a focus on articulating the place of the theatre in people’s lives, and on their understandings of its role in relation to ageing and later life.

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