Lucknow gets 'theatre for elderlies', workshops to be conducted to engage senior citizens

Its a theatre for and by the elderly

author_img IANS Published :  13th April 2023 01:11 PM   |   Published :   |  13th April 2023 01:11 PM
Photo Credit: Pexels

Photo Credit: Pexels

People's Initiative, a city-based non-profit organisation has come up with the concept of 'Theatre for elderlies' -- by them and for them. The members plan theatre workshops for the elderly and have discussed how senior citizens can be engaged and plays can be produced revolving around themes related to them, where they can play different characters and also how the youth can be involved in understanding their perspective.

The examples of veteran actor Anil Rastogi and theatre director Puneet Asthana, who are pursuing their passions in their 60s and 70s, were also given.

"Theatre for senior citizens can go a long way in sensitizing our community to the way they look at old age and the contribution it can make to later generations. The ensemble activity of theatre itself requires bonding that is essential to the building of a self-reliant social structure that is at the core of our survival and well-being. Instead of thinking of seniors as individuals over the hill, we should see them as the core of our foundation," said theatre director Salim Arif.

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Theatre veteran Sangam Bahuguna said, "Theatre can influence and have a deep impact on people's minds. The problems faced by senior citizens are evident. Through stories related to comedy, giving out a positive message is required."

Sharing a recent anecdote from the recent '30 Days, 30 Plays' event, Bahuguna said, "While we were sceptical on how people will come to see the plays on all 30 days but it was overwhelming to find that not only the auditorium was jam-packed but most people in the audience were the elderlies."

Theatre artist Gopal Sinha said, "Only senior artists should not be given the role of elderly people. If a youngster can play the role of a senior citizen, it should be vice versa too."

Members of the organisation agreed that a 40-day theatre workshop should be organised where elderly people can teach, learn, write, enact and get involved in whatever way they can and also institute an award for creative writing by and for the elderly.

To engage more senior citizens, the members also discussed how they can do 'baithaks' (sittings) and 'qissa goi' (storytelling), and organise small gatherings in their locality so that people can become aware of such ventures.

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According to a survey done by the organisation, HelpAge India, titled 'Bridge the Gap: Understanding Elder Needs', 47 per cent of the elderly are dependent on family support as their source of income, and 34 per cent depend on pensions. Only 21 per cent of elderly people are still working and earning.