Constellations is an honest, moving and at times humorous exploration of the impact of loneliness on our older generation, and the power of community
Devised and performed live over Zoom, Constellations will premiere 15 – 17 June 2022
Welsh Arts in Health charity Re-Live have announced the premiere of their latest creative ageing theatre show – devised and performed by a diverse cast of older people living across Wales, aged between 72 and 95.
Constellations is a candid and urgent exploration of the impact of loneliness and isolation on our elderly community. With playful humour and refreshing honesty the nine members of Re-Live’s Company of Elders explore the stigma of loneliness and how the arts can build resilience to cope and respond to this issue.
In the post-pandemic world, whilst theatre productions are now back ‘in the room’, working with an aging cast presents unique challenges that makes Zoom performances the perfect medium. For some of the cast, ill health means that leaving the house is difficult, for others their geographical isolation keeps them apart. By rehearsing and performing live on Zoom, the pan-Wales cast (from Cardiff to Caernarfon) are able to create together and share their experiences from their homes.
The cast of Constellations includes:
Julian Moyle, an opera singer who at the age of 95 has recently married for the first time making headlines around the world.
Nicky Delgado, 74, who had a stroke during lockdown, is rehabilitating his speech and movement through taking part in the project. His stroke has left him unable to leave the house, but in the digital world he can express his poetic soul from his armchair.
Jill Grey, 82, received a scam phone call and shares its devastating impact on her confidence and desire to connect with others. Jill uses the arts to boost her wellbeing, through summoning memories of Jive nights in 1950s Cardiff.
Nora Jones, 76, is living with Parkinson’s and shares how despite the challenges she faces in her life as an older person, the greatest challenge of her life was combating isolation when living in London. Since she moved back to Wales in later life, she has found a new sense of community and loves nothing more than speaking Welsh again.
The performance is in memory of Company of Elders member Michael/Michelle O’Neil, 84. During their time in the group Michael/Michelle was able to share their transgender identity, and how living with the secret had prevented them from finding real belonging. Michael/Michelle died in April, but they found total acceptance within this group of creative, non-judgemental older people.
“Digital exclusion can have a hugely negative impact on an older person’s life, leading to an increase in loneliness and social isolation.” says Karin Diamond, Artistic Director of Re-Live.
“Since Covid we all understand how vital it is to be connected digitally, but it’s a myth that most older people in Wales are online. Re-Live are delighted to partner with Welsh Government to enable this incredible group of inspirational elders to connect online and get creative together.
“Older people have so much to share, and we all miss out when we don’t hear directly from them. The Company of Elders are paving the way to inspire older people across Wales to get creative online. They are crossing the digital divide, in some style.
“It’s been amazing to discover how much you can do on Zoom with a group of older people who are all in different places around Wales. The level of intimacy and connection in a shared online space is remarkable. It can also be deeply frustrating when someone has logged off accidentally, or their computer is suddenly restarting. But despite the technical hiccups every member of the Company of Elders is a star, and though they live far apart they come together online to form a bright new constellation.”
Constellations will premiere live over Zoom at 1pm on 15, 16 and 17 June 2022, with an evening performance at 7pm on 16 June. Tickets are priced as pay-what-you-can and are available from http://www.re-live.org.uk/constellations