What’s On: The Age Against the Machine – Festival of Creative Ageing in Lewisham

A new cultural festival centred around ageing and creative approaches to the issue of growing old will take place between September 13 and October 6.

The Age Against the Machine – Festival of Creative Ageing, will see 70 events ranging from live music, theatre, dance, film and exhibitions, to discussions, pop-up choirs and large scale outdoor performances.

The festival will take place across Lewisham as part of the Mayor of London’s Borough of Culture programme.

With nearly all on a free or “pay what makes you happy” entry, Age Against the Machine – Festival of Creative Ageing has a mission to open up the subject of ageing in our society.

Festival of Creative Ageing

The festival is packed with events aiming to challenge perceptions and attitudes towards ageing, celebrate older people as artists and highlight the ways in which creativity can help us age well and make a radical impact on quality of life.

A series of symposiums, talks and workshops will explore ways the arts can contribute to current debate and practice in care for older people.

The festival as a whole addresses a subject and section of society that is often invisible in the public eye.

Produced by Deptford’s arts centre, the Albany and arts company Entelechy Arts, the festival begins today with The Home (main pic) – a radical and immersive work, created by artist Christopher Green is set in a care home over 48 hours.

It features a cast of older participants, actors of all ages and a support team of experts, activists and communicators in the field of ageing and residential care – the piece blurs the lines between theatre and audience.

Age against the machine

The Home will explore how we support and care for our older people and how we can reinvent practices to significantly improve quality of life.

Other highlights include a 21st Century Tea Dance created with residents from Lewisham borough care homes and sheltered housing schemes.

There will be a selection of outdoor events and performances including Bed and Catch Me.

Bed will pop up in public places where older people seemingly abandoned in beds will share hidden stories of isolated older people.

Catch Me is an mix of dance and circus where an older woman and younger man balance, climb and jump across a stack of chairs.

Works representing the older LGBTQ community includes Up Yours: An Evening with Lavinia Co-op, which sees 68-year-old drag legend Lavinia Co-op reflecting on queer life over the last half century.

Gavin Barlow, festival co-director and chief executive of the Albany said: “The festival programme is a brilliant showcase for the work so many inspiring community, creative and voluntary organisations are doing in the borough.”

David Slater, festival co-director and artistic director of Entelechy Arts said: “The arts have a huge role to play in supporting older people to take centre stage in the ways we build healthy and connected communities.

“The programme explores some of the barriers and challenges to this and provides many opportunities for people of all ages to try something new, in most cases for free.’’

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