Clyde Unity Theatre supported by Glasgow Arts* played 11 performances over one week, two shows a day of ‘Maria of My Soul’ written by Julie Fraser and performed by a company of three. The production reached a range of elderly audiences across the city of Glasgow. Total audience numbers across all venues: 666.
Funding was secured from a variety of sources: Glasgow Arts* Arts Development; Glasgow Housing Association (funds via Glasgowlife's Community Learning Department); The new Housing Association; Glasgow East Community Health Care Partnership; NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde; Glasgow City Council; Whiteinch Community Association and Whiteinch & Scotstoun Housing Association) and Glasgow Caledonian University.
The total budget for the project was £9,619.
Every venue expressed excitement and interest about the show coming to them. A great air of expectation was created in the weeks leading up to the performance.
`A privilege to see live theatre in front of our noses and not be watching daytime TV all the time.' Audience member, Gorbalites 50+ Group.
The tour has helped to re-establish a
community touring network in Glasgow, specifically promoting quality, creative work for our ageing population. The play seemed a good length (45 minutes) and hit the right emotional pitch for this target audience.
The play evoked the nostalgia of Glasgow`s beloved Plaza Ballroom but equally explored very topical issues surrounding care of the elderly and foreign care workers. The play`s emotional, funny and direct Glaswegian style, made it ideal for the target audience (90% of whom were female and elderly).
Performances were enhanced by the intimate staging of the show, pre and post show talks, chair aerobic exercises, and the chance for audiences to meet and discuss the play with the actors, the writer and the director.
`I have learned more in 45 minutes of theatre than I have in two days of training.` Health Care Manager, Whiteinch Centre audience member.
The element of live music was particularly appealing to this age group and is very familiar to them through sing-a-longs etc and tea dances.
The project has demonstrated a big demand for grassroots guerrilla theatre for the elderly. All venues without exception would like us to return with other projects.
The project has shown that theatre is a vibrant, healthy and celebratory way to entertain and also inform.
The show got a 4 star review from The Herald`s Theatre Critic with some nice preview mentions in The List, Evening Times, and the Theatre Scotland website.