A new radio play launched in Wigan today brings to life the challenges of isolation and loneliness faced by older people.
‘The Ageless Self’, written by Julie McKiernan, is a partnership production by Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, Age Concern and Wigan Pier Theatre Company. The play is a result of long term research conducted by Salford University through the Saying Hello Project.
The play follows the journey of six main characters through the dreams, reality and future challenges facing all retired people. Recorded by professional actors and volunteers from Wigan’s Over 50s Forum the play is a positive, poignant and often comical exploration into the ways in which people deal with loneliness.
A DVD recording of the play will be made available as a training tool for professional carers and health workers who work with people likely to be affected by loneliness. The DVD also includes a film highlighting the story behind the Saying Hello Project and a booklet featuring creative writing from its participants.
Vicky Fletcher, Arts Development Officer, said, “The aim of this project was to bring to life the issues of loneliness and isolation in a positive way. We want to help break down the stereotypes usually associated with older people by illustrating the positive strategies and mechanisms they develop to cope with isolation.
“This project has been over 18 months in the making. Research workshops have involved young people as well as older people proving that this is an issue that doesn’t just effect the older generations. We hope that the play will now be heard far and wide and will help to inform people on how best to deal with the challenges of isolation we all face.”
Writer Julie McKiernan said, “'Writing the play was only one small part of a creative process which evolved from the shared thoughts, opinions and experiences of local people. It was a challenge to voice such a wide range of hopes and fears whilst accurately representing the warmth, humour and dignity of those in the later stage of life. It reinforced, for me, that writing and drama can make a difference."
The Ageless Self is launched as part of the Leigh and Wigan Words Together Literary Festival (Words ’07) on Thursday 19th April from 2pm at Queens Hall, Market Street, Wigan.
For further details or to obtain a copy of The Ageless Self DVD please contact Vicky Fletcher on 01942 486918.