Ages and stages

The place of theatre in representations and recollections of ageing.

Project overview

Working from within a critical gerontology perspective, this interdisciplinary research project aimed to develop a sophisticated understanding of changing artistic and social representations of ageing and old age, and their interconnections with the performing arts and the local community in the Potteries, North Staffordshire.

The project employed a mixed method approach organised around three interrelated and complementary strands.

Strand one explored historical representations of ageing through detailed literary and cultural analyses of materials held in the New Victoria Theatre Archive.

Strand two focused on recollections and contemporary representations of ageing through qualitative interview work with four groups of people who are now old and were

  • sources for the Vic's ground-breaking social documentaries

  • volunteers with the theatre

  • audience members throughout their lives

  • actors and others who made their lives in the area and continue to be part of the local community

Material drawn from strands one and two were then used in strand three to work with the Youth Theatre and older people to create a 'new' social documentary performance and exhibition, and evaluate the associated educational materials and activities which were also produced.

This project was linked to a Canadian Research Project funded by CIHR-IA.


Ages and stages: the place of theatre in representations and recollections of ageing (PDF, 1.2MB)

View all project findings.

Further information

For more information, read the full project details.