Through a partnership between DTC and Ingleside Retirement Apartments, the Playwriting for Seniors Program was born. Now reaching a number of facilities, the program allows participants to meet and share stories of their past while also learning the fundamentals of playwriting.
Workshop participants meet once a week for 10-15 weeks to write their own original plays, often drawn from their own life histories. Reflecting on their own lives aids residents in cognitive retention, in the communication of life histories to each other and to loved ones. Additionally, the project contributes to “ego integrity,” posited by psychosocial expert Erik Erikson as the eighth stage of human development, and a necessary antidote to despair and depression which are thought to be pre-cursors to dementia.
At the end of the multi-week program, participants have their original pieces performed by professional actors to share their experiences with their community and family.
WHY IT MATTERS
Mature citizens comprise an increasingly large part of American society and the over-65 population is projected to be twice as large by 2030 as in 2000. Unfortunately, our society is under-prepared for this demographic shift and will require programs and services to support “productive aging.”
The value of the arts in improving the lives and classroom performance of young people has been well understood for years, but more recent medical research by the Center on Aging, Health, and Humanities at George Washington University suggests that elders who participate in professionally conducted arts programming use less medication, have fewer doctor visits, experience elevation of mood, show increases in independent functioning and fair better in measurement of depression, loneliness and morale.
I began writing and going through things I've been holding in for years ... it's been a real gift.
–Alice Roberts, returning playwright at Weston Senior Center
Senior Playwriting is generously supported by:
This project is made possible through a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts