New Vic Theatre and Keele University have secured £99,975 from Arts Council England’s and the Baring Foundation’s National Lottery-funded Celebrating Age programme, to develop arts events and performances created by and for older people across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire.
The New Vic and Keele University will use the £99,975 investment to work with Age UK North Staffordshire to produce Meet Me at Live Age.
Meet Me at Live Age will build on the success of the established Live Age Festival with a host of new arts events and performances created by and for older people.
The programme will help to ensure older people in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire can enjoy professional art commissions, theatre and creative activities in their community, helping to reduce the risk of social isolation.
Fiona Wallace, New Vic Theatre Executive Director, said “Our work with older people throughout Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire is a hugely important part of the work we do at the New Vic and we’re thrilled to have been awarded this funding from the Arts Council. It will enable us to work with our partners at Keele University, and with Age UK North Staffordshire, to build on our existing programme of work, enabling us to make a difference to even more lives in our local communities.”
Professor David Amigoni, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Keele University, said: “I’m delighted that the Live Age Festival, which originated in Keele University’s Ages & Stages research project, looks set to go from strength to strength, further demonstrating Keele’s longstanding commitment to engaged research. We’re looking forward to delivering this exciting new programme of work and to continuing our valuable partnership with the New Vic Theatre, Age UK North Staffordshire and the many other partners and supporters who have contributed to the success of Live Age so far.”
Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England said: “We know that taking part in artistic and cultural activities can make a huge difference in the lives of everyone, even more so when people are at greater risk of isolation. It will be great to see our National Lottery funding helping the New Vic Theatre to use art and culture to help older people become more engaged in their local communities.”
Arts Council England’s and Baring Foundation’s Celebrating Age programme was developed in response to figures from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Taking Part Survey which show that participation in arts and culture falls over the age of 75.
New Vic Theatre and Keele University are backing the bid for Stoke-on-Trent to be UK City of Culture in 2021.
About Live Age
The idea for a festival originated through the activities of a research project called ‘Ages and Stages’: a continuing collaboration between Keele University and the New Vic Theatre which began in 2009.
Led by Professor Miriam Bernard, ‘Ages and Stages’ was also linked with a partner project based at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, where an annual ‘Creative Age Festival’ has been held since 2008. Experiences on the ‘Ages and Stages’ projects, combined with two visits to the Canadian festival in 2011 and 2013, highlighted the potential for holding such an event in North Staffordshire. As a result, in the spring of 2014, fourteen organisations came together to plan and put on this area’s first ever ‘Live Age Festival’. Held at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery and the Mitchell Arts Centre on October 1st and 2nd 2014, the festival celebrated continued creativity in later life and showcased the work and talents of local older people, arts organisations and practitioners across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire.