The Promise of Documentary Theatre to Counter Ageism in Age-friendly Communities

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Age-friendly, Ageism, Ethnodrama, Performance, Social inclusion, Theatre


This paper discusses an innovative theatre-arts collaboration that was created to provoke public discourse about aging in a community located in the Southeastern United States in which more than one-half of residents are age 50 or older. The development and execution of the documentary theatre production are explicated and the post-performance talk-backs with the audience are shared to illustrate how it facilitated insight and dialogue among its largely older audiences. Experience with this production suggests that academics can collaborate with professional artists to promote the subjective experience of aging as a positive appreciation of self. Consequently, the play holds promise to counter deeply ingrained negative self-beliefs about aging and foster greater acceptance about the experience of others. In addition, the play represents a unique community-based effort to enhance respect and social inclusion, a core domain of livability in the age-friendly community movement.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Aging Studies, v. 42, p. 32-37

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