Theatre: Never too late to pursue a passion

A group of Singaporean seniors are rediscovering their passions in life, acting on stage is just one of those

A senior theatre group performing a skit at a recent C3A event; picture courtesy: C3A 

A senior theatre group performing a skit at a recent C3A event; picture courtesy: C3A 

According to the latest statistics, the proportion of Singaporeans aged 65 and above reached 11.1% in 2012, up from 7.7% in 2001. Moreover, this figure is set to reach 20% by 2030. All this points to the fact that Singapore is ageing, and that too, very fast. The only way to deal with the impending “silver tsunami” is to promote active ageing, which is exactly the mandate of Council for Third Age (C3A) set up by the government in 2007.

Among various initiatives to promote active ageing, one of the more popular ones is theatre productions taken up by organisations such as Ageless Theatre and The Glowers Drama Group

The Glowers

While Ageless Theatre is a theatre interest group for seniors based at Marine Parade Community Club, the Glowers Drama Group (GDG) is a drama company that conducts drama-related activities catering exclusively to seniors. The Group also produces performances for various organisations in Singapore, where all facets of drama production is handled by seniors.

The Glowers journey started in 2003 as DramaPlus Arts, with the aim of engaging retired seniors through the fun of drama. In January, 2008, DramaPlus Arts became a voluntary drama wing of the Centre For Seniors. Few months later, Catherine Sng, a veteran of local theatre scene, joined and GDG was established as an independent drama company. Last year, in May, GDG celebrated its fifth anniversary at the Kampong Glam Community Club by staging a performance, Honouring Mothers With The Glowers. 

Ageless Theatre and U Live

In another first of sorts, Ageless Theatre and U Live, staged a drama production, Ageless Dreams, in June last year.

U Live, is a community initiated in 2009 by the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) for its members aged 55 years and above. “U Live promotes active ageing and healthy living among its members to achieve a better quality lifestyle, with age-specific enhanced benefits and engagement through a wide variety of activities and interest groups,” claims NTUC.

This marked the first instance “where the active agers community of the Labour Movement and Ageless Theatre are working together,” NTUC had said then in a press release.

It was in September, 2012, that U Live Performing Arts interest group was formed to nurture active agers who were inclined towards theatre, as well as to provide them a platform for showcasing their skills. Other U Live members, who are not into acting, assist with production matters such as props, design and wardrobe management.

Theatre for Seniors

The National Arts Council also supports theatre groups such as The Necessary Stage (TNS), which under its Theatre for Seniors (TFS) programme, trains senior citizens in the basics of theatre, and provides them with opportunities to participate in public performances.

Practical Social Gerontology (PSG) – a initiative by C3A

Launched in 2013 with a tagline- I'm senior and I'm loving it, PSG covers the physical, psychological and social aspects of ageing, and aims to build awareness and promote positive attitudes on meaningful ageing. Available through Fei Yue Community Services, PSG consists of interactive workshops and community volunteerism, and is conducted in Mandarin and English.