Theatre project focusing on recovery, resilience and the well-being of older Canberrans
Council on the Ageing (COTA) ACT received funding from the ACT Government’s Mental Health and Well-being Innovation Grants Program to work with volunteers 50 years and over to explore the mental health effect COVID-19 has had on older Canberrans.
The project involves 10 to 15 people, 50 years and over to volunteer their time to work with local theatre professionals from Rebus Theatre. With a workshop once a week (and more leading up to the performance) participants will explore the impact and how recent experiences of lock-down under the COVID – 19 restrictions have affected senior Canberrans. This project will explore feelings of loneliness and isolation as well as marginalisation and look at well-being, methods of healing and building resilience.
The participants will discuss and share their experiences as well as work with others in the community to understand their encounters of COVID-19. The 10 to 15 participants will be encouraged to ‘dig deeper’ and source stories from older Canberrans who are not able to access the workshops. This may be over the phone, online or one-on-one. The participants will be guided by the theatre practitioners to develop and devise a group performance from the source material gathered.
How will the project work?
Rebus Theatre will guide participants and explore what seniors have experienced since COVID-19 appeared in the community. Content will include the mental health of seniors and how marginalisation, loneliness and isolation has impacted older Canberrans.
The participants will be led through a series of group theatre workshops and exercises which will incorporate ways of using theatre and art to stimulate healing and provoke social change. These workshops will focus on recovery, resilience, improving mental health and the well-being of older Canberrans.
The participants will be led through a theatrical process of devising theatre by sourcing material from other seniors, writing stories, sharing anecdotes and using this rich source of material to form the basis of a performance outcome at the end of the project. The plan is for the theatre piece created to be performed in senior centres and at COTA ACT events in the future.
We expect the stories told during the performance will resonate in the Canberra community. Audience members will be encouraged to consider their own experiences when watching the characters and stories portrayed. The story-telling process will enable audiences to identify with the material and understand their own well-being, the impact COVID-19 has had on them and reflect on processes for healing.
The project started in late November 2020 and will end in May 2021.
For more information contact the COTA ACT office on 6282 3777 or send an email to Events@cotaact.org.au