reimagining the future in black writing on green background with wonderland carved across a gate in black

Reimagining the Future: Exploring older age and future time through theatre

5 mins read

Researchers at the University of Stirling have teamed up with Active Inquiry, an arts theatre company committed to creating exciting new theatre and arts projects with and for communities, to develop a new play in the hope it will help tackle ageism.

Reimagining the Future in Older Age’ is an exploratory project that aims to develop understanding of the relationship between older age and future time. 

This project will explore the potential for utopian thinking and arts-based methods. To reimagine the future in older age, provide tools for further thinking in these areas, and provide practical guidance for policy makers on how to address what older people might desire as well as need in older age. 

Return to Wonderland’ and ‘Waiting for Dot‘ are two short plays devised by older adults, working with Active Inquiry, exploring issues of ageism, activism and the future in older age.

They are part of the Reimagining the Future Project at the University of Stirling exploring the potential for utopian thinking to reimagine the future in older age.

The creators of this fantastic project would like to invite you to join them to watch the scenes and participate in exploring the relationship between older age and the future. The event will be held on Zoom and will be part workshop, part performance – anyone from any age group is welcome to join!

The performance will take place on three dates:

  • Thursday 10th June 2.30-4.30pm
  • Friday 11th June 10am-12
  • Saturday 12th June 5-7pm

Tickets are free but they must be booked in advance.

The leader of the research team, Dr Melanie Lovatt from the University of Stirling said:

“We tend to think of people in later life in relation to the past, what they’ve done, what they can remember, what they used to do before they retired.

We tend to think of young people in terms of the future, what do they want to be when they grow up?, what are their aspirations?

With more of us living longer and there being more future time in later life than ever before, I think it’s important for all of us who are hopefully going to all age and live in to later life, to think about what we want to do with our futures”.

Dr Lovatt has collaborated with theatre company Active Inquiry and a group of participants to create this exciting new piece of theatre in order to challenge stereotypes about ageing.

Marion McLarty, one of the participants said:

“I hope it will make people of all ages think a bit harder.

Not just ‘young people should appreciate things more’ but maybe older people just accept the stereotype? You know, maybe they just think, once I get to the age of 60 the most important thing is my grandchildren, and I will do nothing else but look after my grandchildren and just put on my slippers.

And maybe that’s what they want but maybe they have never challenged it”.

The participants have been rehearsing online since March, the Covid-19 pandemic inspired some of them to get involved.

Dee Barnfield, another participant said:

“Old people were stereotypically defined as, you know, needing care and protection, and needing to be vaccinated first and needing to be shielding, like we are all kind of like pathetic and helpless and need looking after, whereas that’s not my experience of being part of this generation”.

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