3 min read

Letting the Child Within Come Out to Play

Carya’s East Village Seniors Drama Group

The curtain rises. The audience goes quiet, eagerly anticipating the performance they’re about to take in. The actors appear on stage, and they wow the crowd with their stories. Some are funny, some are more serious, and most are improvised, but all are sincerely heartwarming.

That was the scene last May at City Hall, as actors from Carya’s East Village Seniors Drama Group performed as part of Creative Aging week. This courageous group of older adults dazzled a star-studded audience, including the illustrious Mayor Nenshi. You would have been hard pressed to tell that many of the cast members had never performed in front of a live audience before joining the group in February.

For its members, the rewards gathered from participating in the East Village Seniors Drama Group go far beyond simply shining on stage. Many older adults experience social isolation, and this group provides an opportunity to connect with neighbors and peers. One participant marveled at the transformation he saw in his friend who had joined the group. “It’s very interesting having known M, who did not communicate with anyone in the building, now taking such an interest,” he remarked. “He has picked up his guitar and comes downstairs to practice and we sing songs”. Group members are given the chance to share their own personal stories, and allowing themselves to be open and vulnerable with new friends is a bonding and healing experience.

East Village Seniors Drama GroupBeyond the connections they create, actors in the East Village Seniors Drama Group also improve their communication skills and cultivate self-assurance. “I never thought I would have the confidence to go out and perform,” JR, part of last spring’s troupe, declared. “Now I feel like I can do anything!” Through drama games and performance, members of the group master an art that they never thought they’d have the courage to take on, and the confidence this gives them trickles down in to their day-to-day lives.

The East Village Seniors Drama Group is all about creating connections, cultivating growth and laughing through the process. Preparing for the curtain call is important, but the most meaningful outcomes are the sincere smiles and lasting friendships. As participant FC explains, “The laughter is wonderful – we feel like children. We’ve waited all our lifetime to allow the child from within to come out and play without fear”. With your support we can continue to offer this opportunity for Calgary’s East Village seniors to come out and play.