Connectivity & Community - Celebrating with Over 50's

Connectivity & Community - Celebrating with Over 50's

Connectivity and Community – Celebrating with Over 50’s was a Festival event held at the Belgrade Theatre from Wednesday 15 May to Saturday 18 May 2019.

The event focused on the changing attitudes, opportunities and aspirations for enjoying good health & well being.

The week sought to to showcase and learn from innovative thinking and practice in the association between cultural pursuits and participation in community life, and the positive influence of these on our sense of belonging and connectedness.

The week beginning 13 May 2019 included performances, talks and interactive workshops that demonstrated the links between cultural pursuits and feeling good.

Wednesday 15 May: Day 1 – People; Try Something New Day

Led by practitioners from across the West Midlands, there was be an array of workshops, performances and stalls with a focus on engaging with arts and ageing well. There were information stalls in the foyers, including Age UK Coventry and the Alzheimer’s Society, and the activities on offer included: Tai Chi, circle dancing, clay head modelling and many more.

Thursday 16 May: Day 2 – Policy; Arts and Health Symposium

The Arts and Health Symposium focused on bringing Arts and Healthcare professionals together, showcasing National projects that have proven impact on Health and Wellbeing, influencing changes in policy. The day included:

  • A Key note speaker Victoria Hume, Director of National Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance.
  • Workshops that explored how culture can support: Social Prescribing, Falls Prevention and living well with long-term health conditions (including SMK, respiratory conditions, dementia)
  • Presented extracts that exemplify the impact of arts practice on health.

Friday 17 May: Day 3 – Practice; National Elders Network Day

The National Elders Network day consisted of hosting visiting theatre companies with 50+ participants, showcasing and sharing practice. We also hosted the National Elders Network where they held their regular meeting at the Belgrade Theatre.

Behind the Net Curtains

Behind the Net Curtains

Behind the Net Curtains was a show devised and performed by the Belgrade Arts Gymnasium Elders Company. Directed by Orla O’connor during the Connectivity and Community – Celebrating with Over 50’s festival.

Through party poppers and prosecco, a group of guests gathered at this 100th birthday celebration have a story to share.

Martha is coming to terms with losing her husband and the new reality it has left her in.

Linda is looking for answers to her past, but with every meeting she has with Gary at the care home, the possibility of finding the answers slip further away.

Emma is an active member of the community, who is excellent at keeping it together until circumstances beyond her control unexpectedly turn her world upside down.

These three heart-wrenching stories are scattered between the party poppers and prosecco of a 100th birthday party where every guest has a story to share.

Director, Orla O’Connor wrote:

Over the past 6 months the Elders Company have worked hard and honestly to create a play that looks at themes of grief, dementia and failings of the welfare state. When we first started the devising process, we explored what health and wellbeing meant to the company, a recurring theme that came up was togetherness, connections with others brief and long lasting. The company identified that this is important to their health and wellbeing, togetherness underpinned the development process of the play and weaves throughout the journeys of all the characters.
We hope the play starts important conversations about the themes of the play, health and wellbeing is a lifelong conversation that ebbs and flows as we all grow older. Behind the Net Curtains is a celebration of life, the highs and lows.