Be part of the play in unique theatre event coming to Alloa

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men and women on stage
Performers from Edinburgh-based theatre company Active Inquiry.

A unique theatre experience is coming to Alloa where the audience is invited to steer the play.

Edinburgh-based theatre company Active Inquiry will work live with the audience in an interactive performance about our perceptions of ageing.

The Truth About Ageing explores societal ageism, its consequences, and what we can do about it. It is a piece of forum theatre, in which audience members are invited to intervene in the performance and steer its direction. 

It follows on from Active Inquiry’s successful partnership with Dr Melanie Lovatt on her ESRC-funded Reimagining the Future in Older Age project. During this project, Active Inquiry worked with University of Stirling researchers and older members of the public to develop and perform two forum theatre pieces exploring ageing, which were performed over Zoom in 2021.

The free performance is part of the University of Stirling’s programme for the Festival of Social Science, being held in Alloa on Thursday, November 9 and Friday, November 10, 2023 at Forth Valley College. The November 10 performance will be followed by a panel discussion about ageing and the societal challenges around it.

Gavin Crichton, Artistic Director of Active Inquiry, said: “Forum theatre encourages dialogue with an audience and for them to be active in thinking about ways forward in a particular problem. It enables an audience to stop the action, come up on stage and join in. We view it as a rehearsal for reality - we try it on stage and think about how we can use that in the real world, outside the theatre door.”

He added: “It’s a little bit risky as you don’t know what input people will have, but there is definitely an appetite for this sort of theatre as it’s more active and participatory.”

This is Active Inquiry’s first time at Forth Valley College in a performance that is being put on in collaboration with the University of Stirling and Scottish Care, the voice of the independent care sector.

Dr Melanie Lovatt of the University of Stirling said: “We love the idea of bringing our research to life through theatre and look forward to the audience participation, and also the panel discussion, surrounding The Truth About Ageing.”

men and women performing play

The theatre performance will encourage dialogue with the audience.

The Truth About Ageing is part of a host of exciting events – all of them free – as part of the Festival of Social Science, to spread the word about social science to the local community in Clackmannanshire. The Festival also includes, storytelling animations, VR technology demonstrations and a pop-up about football memories.

These events are part of the UK-wide Festival of Social Science, coordinated by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The theme of this year’s festival is lifelong wellbeing, exploring mental and physical health at all ages and celebrating the 75th anniversary of the NHS.

The Alloa events are supported by the Stirling Social Science Impact Acceleration Account and were made possible thanks to the funding from the ESRC, which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

  • The Truth About Ageing, 9 November, 13:00 to 15:00, and 10 November, 13:00 to 15:45 at the Alloa campus of Forth Valley College. 

For a list of all events and more information visit ESRC Festival of Social Science | About | University of Stirling.