Theatre for the elderly, by the elderly: Living through plays in Lucknow
Sangeet Natak Academi

Theatre for the elderly, by the elderly: Living through plays in Lucknow

The concept, by Lucknow-based NPO 'People's Initiative', is to engage senior citizens in theatrical plays and workshops.

The thespian culture in Lucknow has been rich and prosperous for decades now and it is only growing upon aspiring artistes more and more by the passing day.

One such innovative concept, by a Lucknow-based NPO 'People's Initiative', is the 'Theatre for elderlies'. A movement for the elderly and by the elderly — the unique concept is to engage them in plays revolving around themes on their lives, and interactive workshops. Herein, the youth will also be involved in producing such plays after understanding the perspective of the older generation.

Theatre for senior citizens

The senior citizens themselves will be able to play different characters in these plays. For instance, veteran actor Anil Rastogi and theatre director Puneet Asthana, who have been pursuing their passions in their 60s and 70s.

"Theatre for senior citizens can go a long way in sensitising 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," the theatre director Salim Arif said.

"Instead of thinking of seniors as individuals over the hill, we should see them as the core of our foundation," he added.

The plays are deemed to incorporate comedies, but will also throw light on the challenges faced by the senior citizens, whilst bringing home a positive message.

'Most people in the audience were elderlies'

Recently, a Lucknow theatre group Manchkirti Samiti hosted a month-long saga '30 Days, 30 Plays' which was greatly praised by the city's audience. The auditorium remained jam-packed throughout the duration. Old iconic plays were directed by theatre-veteran Sangam Bahuguna here, who shared, "We were skeptical 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 elderlies."

"Senior artists should not be given the role of elderly people only. If a youngster can play the role of a senior citizen, it should be vice versa too," opined theatre artist Gopal Sinha.

It was agreed upon by the organisation's members that efforts will be put in to conduct an engrossing 40-day theatre workshop. Herein, senior citizens will be able to learn, enact, write. To engage them further, the members will also host baithaks and story-telling sessions, besides plays in Lucknow.

Theatre for the elderly, by the elderly: Living through plays in Lucknow
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