BENGALURU: It is not uncommon to see children introduced to theatre at a very young age, but now, theatre is reaching senior citizens too. Just the way children are taught to be more expressive through theatre, senior citizens are told to let go of inhibitions. “Ageing often brings with it a sense of inhibition with our own bodies, a feeling that we can only do this much and no more; that life, in many ways, is coming to an end,” says Nidhi Chawla, co-founder of Silver Talkies, a social enterprise platform for people over 55.
She believes theatre workshops help shed insecurities. Silver Talkies have partnered with Bangalore Little Theatre to popularise the concept of elder’s theatre. Vijay Padaki and Vijji Chari of Bangalore Little Theatre Foundation are heading this initiative.
In 2015, Bangalore Little Theatre, a theatre group established in 1960, launched a programme called ‘Elder’s Theatre Program’, which uses a variety of techniques to help senior citizens rediscover themselves with elementary body management techniques such as breathing, diaphragm use, relaxation, folk dancing as well as storytelling and theatre games.
Organisers believe that theatre helps senior citizens overcome psychological blocks, especially with their bodies. This, in turn, addresses good health and well being by influencing the mind through the body and enhancing personal growth and exploring art appreciation.
Silver Talkies organised the first theatre for senior citizens in the city on August 2016 for the members of Nightingale Elders’ Enrichment Centre, Malleswaram. This was followed by another one in December 2016 for members of Silver Talkies club. In October 2017, these workshops were opened to seniors across the city. Two weeks later, another event was organised to accomodate more participants.
This month will see a six-session long theatre programme starting on January 22 and concluding on February 26.
“The programme is not aimed to make actors out of the elderly, nor is there a play planned at the end of it. It is a way for elders to engage their body and mind in a fun way via games, and to experience creativity while making friends,” shares Nidhi.
Another community of senior citizens, called the Silver Surfers, is hosting a theatre workshop for elders every Saturday of this month.