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From buds to blossoms - Elders Company performance takes shape

Posted on 5 April 2019

With 2019 marking the Year of Wellbeing in Coventry and Warwickshire, there’s lots going on across the city and beyond to highlight the importance of mental and physical health and happiness for all of us.

Among the projects to have emerged as part of this initiative is a symposium taking place at the Belgrade Theatre from Tuesday 14 until Saturday 18 May. Titled Connectivity and Community – Celebrating with Over 50s, the five-day event will include performances of a production currently being devised by the Coventry Elders Company, who are now meeting regularly at the theatre to create and rehearse the piece.

Since rehearsals began in January, Elders Company and Belgrade Arts Gym member Margaret Emerton has been blogging about her experiences of taking part in the project. Read on to find out more…

Every picture tells a story, so they say.
Every play has a storyline.
It’s our challenge to create the characters that will paint the pictures and tell the stories.

Like the elder tree, this group of elders are forming the buds of ideas, growing with confidence, nurtured by the inspirational help and support of Orla, Kim and Greg.

elder tree

As we blossom we will reach out and support each other to form one mass of blooms.

Our voices are beginning to be heard. No longer the whispers but voices that are starting to understand the importance of vocal pitch, tone and volume.

The words on a script may be the same, but as we work each group found a different meaning and build their own story.

But words are not enough, actions speak louder than words.

We stride across the room, with our heads held high, to meet others or walk on by. We slump with shoulders bent, feeling lonely and alone. We dance with joy or cry with sadness. Each movement portrays feeling.

If we want to draw our audience in we need to make every action larger than life itself.

The look that could kill or the smile that melts the heart.

Our facial expressions can give away the game or hide our emotions – a difficult balance to maintain when our eyes are on fellow performers and the audiences’ eyes are on us.

We all agree how quickly the sessions go. The laughter we share or that moment we stop and hold our breath.

The script writers and producers are working hard, pulling together our words and characters, weaving them magically into our play.

We have been joined by Paul Chokran, a brilliant Coventry artist, who sat quietly sketching whilst we worked, adding yet another layer to our picture.

sketch by Paul Chokran

We know the weeks until our performance will be challenging, exhausting and hard work.

Like elderberry wine, our performances promise to be the reward for our growth, leaving us with a warm glow of well-being.

Connectivity and Community: Celebrating with Over 50s will run at the Belgrade Theatre 14-18 May. Check back to our website for full details coming soon.