Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Ageing, Drama and Creativity: a critical review

Ageing, Drama and Creativity: a critical review Thumbnail


Ageing, Drama and Creativity is a critical review focused on the cultural value older people derive from their involvement in theatre and drama. Though there are existing published reviews on the impact of participatory arts on older people, there is no review of the literature focused specifically on theatre and drama. 77 documents were reviewed as part of this study. They include published and unpublished research studies, evaluation reports, and descriptive overviews published as short pieces in journals, newspapers and magazines. The documents were generated through academic database searches and e-mail requests via relevant organisations and networks. They have been categorised and analysed according to these themes:
devised productions; drama programmes and workshops; intergenerational drama; pre-existing senior and intergenerational theatre groups; reflective studies and overviews; reminiscence drama; theatre and drama in care settings; and volunteering. This literature highlights the benefits and value of older people’s theatre and drama participation particularly on health and well-being; group relationships; and learning and creativity. A fourth area, the aesthetic value and quality of older people’s drama, is touched upon but is under-researched to date. Though there has been a recent surge of interest in this field (a third of the reviewed literature was published between 2010-2014), we suggest that there are multiple areas for further research. In terms of methods, there is a need for artsbased evaluation approaches, longitudinal studies, and co-research with older people. Research also needs to analyse effects of gender, race, class and age on older people’s participation in theatre and drama. Also, more complex research on the interplay between the intrinsic and instrumental value of participation is needed. Support is needed for more systematic evaluations of one-off drama projects and existing older people’s theatre groups. This could be achieved through the facilitation and support of sustainable relationships between academic researchers and practitioners.

Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Pages ? - ? (61)
Keywords ageing, drama, theatre, cultural value, creativity, arts
Publisher URL


Downloadable Citations