Improbable theatre.phelim Mcdermott
Honouring the Elders: If theatre is a community, who are its elders?
What does being an elder mean?
Is it just about age?
How can elder and younger members of the theatre community find ways to communicate?
When leaders step aside, how can we create and support an eldership role for them to grow into?
I want to invite you to a two-day event on November 19th and 20th 2010 addressing the issue of eldership in theatre and the performing arts.
My passion for this issue was sparked by something I have noticed at Improbable's annual Open Space event, "Devoted and Disgruntled: What are we going to do about theatre?” Year after year I have seen intense exchanges take place between artists of different generations.
I have seen younger artists seeking the wisdom and experience of older artists, and older artists telling their stories, passing on an important legacy. I felt impelled to explore this dynamic further – to raise the issue of eldership in our work.
What do I mean by 'an elder'? Is it someone over 50? 60? 70? Or is it anyone 10 years older than you, so it's a fluid role, defined in relationship? The relationship itself could also be fluid: an elder could learn from a "younger" as well as vice versa.
Here are some other definitions I have come across:
An elder is someone who has experienced loss in some way. It is someone who is detached and welcomes all voices in a conflict. An elder knows it is possible to start something at any age.
I would like to know what other people think an elder is, and also how this role might best be facilitated and honoured within the performing arts.
In our youth-biased culture I believe the role of the elder is an important part of our community, which can often be neglected. In theatre, as elsewhere, older people can become isolated and there are few contexts in which valuable intergenerational exchange can take place.
Especially for those artists outside the mainstream I want to find ways to honour them so that they don't end up feeling undervalued and unrecognized, and their experience and insights do not get lost.
So, whatever age you are, whatever age you feel, whatever age others assume you are, if you are interested in the notion of eldership, if you have questions, wishes, frustrations, ideas,
I would love you to come along on 19th and 20th November to help us explore answers to questions, old and new, to any and all of the issues you may wish to raise or take some action on.
Bring along one person that is older than you, or one person that is younger than you.
From Phelim and Improbable
19 & 20 November
10 – 6pm
Admission £20 (£15 Concession)
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hampstead Town Hall Centre
213 Haverstock Hill