Senior citizens urged to show it's never too late to be creative

Jan Thomas (left), Edna O'Hara (centre) and Chris Hyland during a performance in a shop window in John Street, Bradford

Jan Thomas (left), Edna O'Hara (centre) and Chris Hyland during a performance in a shop window in John Street, Bradford

First published in News

BRADFORD'S senior citizens will get their chance to show that you're never to old to be creative when they take part in a new arts festival celebrating the over 65s.

The BOLD Festival is an idea by Bradford's Freedom Studios, and will be held in the city over the course of a week in September.

Already planned for the event is a photography exhibition, street theatre, workshops and impromptu Opera performances, and the studio has invited other groups to come forward with any ideas for the inaugural event. Events will take place in libraries, churches and old people's homes as well as shopping centres and other public places.

The aim of the festival is to prove that just because somebody reaches a certain age, it doesn't mean they stop contributing to society or automatically lose their creativity, and the organisers hope to "explode" stereotypes and stimulate debate about old age.

The centrepiece of the seven day celebration is the production "Home Sweet Home" a play about getting older in modern Britain that is being performed at the city's Ukrainian Centre. After the festival the production will tour London and Stockton.

An exhibition of photographs of members of the cast and chorus, by Christopher Nunn will go on display at Forster’s Deli and Bistro in Centenary Square during the week.

Other plans so far include a return of "Pensioner Warehouse" a piece of theatre played out in shop fronts that proved a hit at last year's Positive Bradford festival, and performances by a 35 strong ukulele band.

In public places like libraries and shops will be "pop up" opera performances, where seemingly normal pensioners burst into song in the middle of public places, and "Armchair Stories," where passers by will be invited to sit and listen to stories told by elderly story tellers.

Workshops by professional artists and performers will allow anyone to join in the creativity and there will be art installations around the city.

Deborah Dickinson, Creative Producer Freedom Studios, said: "An ageing society has implications for us all. The BOLD Festival and its centre-piece production Home Sweet Home aim to challenge thinking and perceptions about older people and provoke important public conversations. We need to rethink what ‘old’ means and our attitudes to ageing.

"The festival will showcase enjoyable and exciting creative events, workshops and performances by, with and for older people that prove that creativity has no age."

Freedom Studios are now inviting other artists, performers and volunteers to get involved.

The cut-off date for performances, events and workshops to submit to the festival is July 18 while the cut-off date for festival volunteers is August 1.

The event runs from September 13 to 20.

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