The Start of Something: The GeriActors are back for another year.

On Thursday the GeriActors and Friends had our first rehearsal since the Festival of Edmonton Seniors Theatre (FEST) in June. After a year of filming, performances and workshops, we’re back from a much needed break, refreshed and ready for another year. The start of a new year dawns the beginning of a new group of students from David Barnet’s Intergenerational Theatre Class (Drama 427 at the University of Alberta) who will be coming in next week, with fresh ideas, new energy and perspective.

This September is also the start of a international collaborative project featuring facilitators Stuart Kandell the founder of StageBridge in California, Shula Strassfeld from Dance Exchange in Washington DC and the Artistic Director of the GeriActors and Friends David Barnet from Edmonton in a Storytelling, Dance and Shakespeare project developing intergenerational art through these modes of creation. There will be two free public workshops and a performance all taking place at the Second Playing Space, Timms Centre for the Arts on 87 Ave and 112 Street in which everyone is welcome to participate. Please contact Becca at 780-248-1556 or email her at for further information or to register. We would love to see you there!

Seminar and Workshop

Thursday, Sept 18, 12 – 1pm

Introduction to the community-based work of Dance Exchange and Stagebridge

Free Public Workshop

Saturday, Sept 20, 1 – 3pm

For all ages, seniors included. No experience necessary

Dance Extravaganza Performance and Potluck

Sunday, Sept 21, 3 – 5pm

For all ages. Perform or observe. Meet the workshop leaders

Feel free to bring a potluck item or a small donation for GeriActors & Friends

Dance Workshop at FEST 2013
Dance Workshop at FEST 2013

Here is a bit of information on the three facilitators:

Stuart Kandell and Stagebridge

Stuart Kandell is the founding Artistic Director of Stagebridge, the oldest seniors’ theatre company in the U.S., and a consultant with the National Centre for Creative Aging in Washington, D.C. His creative and research specialty is storytelling, and he has established nationally acclaimed programs.

‘Stagebridge Senior Theatre works to fundamentally transform American attitudes towards aging from the traditional image of decline to a new vision of continuous growth. We accomplish this mission with nationally recognized and award-winning landmark Creative Aging programs that offer older adults opportunities for lifelong learning and participation in the performing arts. Stagebridge’s unique position as a theatre company “for, by and of” seniors demonstrates in action the many ways in which elders improve and enrich our culture and our communities.’ (

Shula Strassfeld and Dance Exchange –

Dance Exchange’s choreography, which is accessible to people of all ages and abilities, uses personal narratives expressed through natural, everyday gesture.

‘The mission of the Dance Exchange is to create dances that arise from asking: Who gets to dance? Where is the dance happening? What is it about? Why does it matter? Dance Exchange is an intergenerational company of artists that creates dance and engages people in making art. We serve as an incubator for creative research, bringing ideas to action through collaborations that range from experts in the field of dance to unexpected movers and makers. Through these exchanges we stretch the boundaries between the studio, stage, and other environments to make dances that are rooted in the particularity of people and place. We recognize the body and movement as an essential resource to understand and investigate across disciplines. Through local, national, international, and online projects we gather and create community to contribute to a healthy and more sustainable environment.’ (

David Barnet and GeriActors –

David Barnet, the founding artistic director of GeriActors, is a professor in the Department of Drama at the University of Alberta, where he specializes in community-based and ensemble theatre, and acting Shakespeare. He is the founding artistic director of Catalyst Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta, and has extensive experience in Popular Theatre and Theatre for Development in Africa and Asia. He is a 3M National Teaching Fellow.

In developing GeriActors and the practice of intergenerational theatre and creative aging, David Barnet has been influenced by the work of Stuart Kendall and Stagebridge in Oakland, California; Arthur Strimling and Roots and Branches in New York; ESTA (Elders Share the Arts) in New York; Susan Pearlstein (founder of the National Centre for Creative Aging) in Washington, DC; and Pam Schweitzer, the founder of Age Exchange in London, UK. ​

014 FEST (2) 2013
Liz Reid in dance workshop