Young at (he)art: ageing well and creativity

Elders Company perform The Word by Nell Leyshon - image credit RADA
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Event details

Event date: 
15 June 2017
Event duration: 
1 hour
Type of event: 
Discussion / debate / seminar
All ages
Venue name: 
The Studio Theatre, RADA Studios
16 Chenies Street, Bloomsbury


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About the event

One in six of the UK’s population is currently aged 65 and over and by 2050, it is estimated that it will increase to one in four. What role can the arts and creativity play in keeping us healthier, for longer? How can we ensure that our quality of life increases at the same rate as our life spans? London Arts in Health Forum (LAHF) have partnered with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) to host a discussion in their Studio Theatre around the ways that creative engagement with different artforms can support us as we age.

The panel, chaired by LAHF Director, Damian Hebron, will feature clinical health psychologist and Co-Director of the Wellcome Collection’s current Hub residency on the arts and dementia care, Prof Paul Camic; Co-Director of Salmagundi Films, an organisation using animation and digital technology to creatively engage those with dementia, Bo Chapman; Artistic Director of Turtle Key Arts, Charlotte Cunningham MBE; and Judith Bevan, a graduate from RADA’s Elders Company, the organisation’s resident theatre company for over 60s.

This event is an opportunity for both arts and health professionals to boost their knowledge about recent projects using participation in creative activities and cultural engagement to generate good health and wellbeing in later life. We hope you will come away feeling inspired, with new perspectives and understandings of creativity, healthy ageing and how the arts can protect and improve quality of life for older people.

This takes place as part of Creativity and Wellbeing Week 2017, a festival led by London Arts in Health Forum featuring hundreds of educational, participatory and stimulating events for people to learn how the arts and creativity can improve health and wellbeing. The festival features performances, sharings, workshops, talks, film screenings and art exhibitions in hospitals and hospices, schools, community centres, arts venues, carehomes and more. This year’s festival is structured around the lifecourse in line with the findings of an upcoming Inquiry report on arts and health led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing.

Early booking advised.

An event from London Arts in Health Forum in partnership with RADA.


Prof Paul Camic, Professor of Psychology and Public Health at Canterbury Christ Church University
Dr Paul Camic is a clinical health psychologist, professor of psychology and public health at Canterbury Christ Church University, research director at the Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology, and one of the co-directors of Created Out of Mind Hub at the Wellcome Collection. His research interests include investigating the social and psychological impact of community-based programmes involving the arts/galleries/museums with older people and those with dementia. Paul is a Professorial Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, founding co-executive editor of the journal Arts & Health and Co-editor of the Oxford Textbook of Creative Arts, Health and Wellbeing (Oxford Univ. Press, 2016). &

Bo Chapman, Co-Director of Salmagundi Films
In 2004 Zoe Flynn and Bo Chapman pooled their complimentary skills in filmmaking, art direction and performance and a mutual desire to use film and stop frame animation as a platform for creative expression – to give people a voice. Having both worked in the media industry for many years, they were aware of how easy it is to manipulate an audience with sound and images. The aim of their ‘Frames of Mind’® digital projects is to empower participants with an understanding of the language of film, digital media and visual metaphors - how they can be used for positive communication – to build resilient communities. As well as producing their own films, Salmagundi are well known for their issue based films and have been commissioned by organisations such as: Shelter, The Children’s Society, Mental Health Foundation and The NHS. In the last eight years they have developed an expertise working creatively with vulnerable young people and adults. They pioneered the use of stop frame animation as a therapeutic communication and life story tool for people living with dementia; using significant personal objects and photographs as a catalyst for narrative, participants literally animate their memories to life. This concept has been registered, Frames Of Mind®.

Charlotte Cunningham MBE, Artistic Director of Turtle Key Arts
Charlotte Cunningham is a creative producer who founded Turtle Key Arts as a performance venue and production company in 1989. Since then she has produced and a number of theatre and dance productions with a strong emphasis on physical theatre, dance and devised work. With Turtle Key Arts, she has also consistently devised groundbreaking education and participation projects with the aim of making the arts accessible to all and focusing on high quality provision for groups who do not have access to this kind of work. This includes projects aimed at children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions, young people with HIV, children with dyslexia, interfaith projects and a national project for older people with dementia - the Turtle Song in association with the English Touring Opera and the Royal College of Music.
Turtle Song, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is a 10-week programme of singing and song-writing sessions for people experiencing all forms of dementia and their carers. The aims are to enjoy singing together, write a song cycle, record the songs to CD and give the brain and body mental stimulation and exercise. The project engages those who might be affected by isolation and depression and encourages a positive outlook through music. The participation of young musicians is an essential part of the programme, using intergenerational working to break down barriers and reduce stigma.

Judith Bevan, RADA Elders Company graduate

Following a long, stable career in the health service, Judith was keen to start on entirely new things. By chance, she came across RADA Elders in 2014 and signed up that year, playing the role of Sharon in the company's production of Broken Pieces by A C Smith in December 2014. She then went on to perform the part of Jackie in Our Father by Deborah Bruce with the Company in 2015. She quickly found that drama, and particularly performance, offered unique opportunities to develop. Her reflections on what she has learnt since joining the theatre company include "you don’t have to be good at something to be good at doing it" and that "chancing it can lead to discovery and joy in unexpected ways".


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