Editor’s Note: We are honoured to have Maggie as GeriActors and Friend’s Administrative Assistant. Here are a couple thoughts by Maggie Salopek.
I first heard about the GeriActors while I was studying drama at the University of Alberta. I was informed there was a class about intergenerational theatre that allowed you to work with the GeriActors for a semester and I thought that would be a really cool experience. Unfortunately I was unable to take the class, but I was still interested in the work that the GeriActors did and I wanted to be a part of it. So I started to volunteer! I’ve been volunteering and working with the GeriActors since September 2016 and I love every minute of it.
I’ve met a lot of fun people through the GeriActors and I’ve discovered so much about their lives. Every day, I learn something new from them and I try to apply the lessons they’ve learnt to my own life and understand their experiences. The GeriActors have taught me a lot about seniors’ issues in Edmonton and how the theatre they create can educate our city on those issues. Their current goal is to make Edmonton an Age Friendly City. We are making theatre that reflects that by having the GeriActors talk about their own stories and then we integrate them into our plays.
The intergenerational art we create at the GeriActors speaks to everyone and allows us to connect on new levels with the seniors and young people in our lives. Enhancing the communication between the older and younger generations can help us make Edmonton an Age Friendly City and abolish the stereotypes we have about seniors and young people.
For the future, I see intergenerational art becoming more popular in our city, not just for the GeriActors but for other theatre groups and other art forms as well. As the GeriActors continue to create art that brings important issues to the spotlight, I’m sure others will follow and help bridge the gap between the younger generation and seniors.
The GeriActors have inspired me to use theatre to shed light on overlooked problems in our world and to continue educating myself on the perspectives of others. I’m grateful for all they have taught me and I can’t wait to see what else I will learn form them and what art we will make together in the future!
Editor’s Note: A little journey of Kerry’s life as a theatre artist and how he got to the GeriActors and Friends.
I was born and raised in the Eastern Townships of Quebec in the small town of Lennoxville (home of Bishops University). The townships is a predominately rural area with a landscape of rolling hills, forests and farms.
It was not until I reached college that I discovered the arts. I was an avid reader from a young age, and in particular was a devoted Canadian literature reader. I had been exposed to great deal of poetry throughout high school and pursued this further in college by taking creative writing and poetry writing classes. One evening while walking across campus I noticed posters for auditions for The Collected Works of Billy the Kid by Michael Ondaatje. My curiosity was peeked. How in earth would this book of poetry be adapted for the stage? Although I had never had any inclination to work on the stage up to this point in my life I showed up for the auditions, got a part in the show and was hooked. I fell in love with the process of acting and have dipped in and out of theatre since that time.
I studied at the Canadain Mime School after college, worked with a Childrens Theatre Company in Montreal and in 1979 moved out west to Nelson, B.C.. In Nelson I attended The Kootenay School of Art. At this point in my life I became consumed with the pursuit of the visual arts(primarily sculpture). I transferred to the University of Victoria in the early eighties and completed my BFA in sculpture. During those years I kept my hand in theatre with my involvement with various community theatre groups. I also worked in various art related jobs (visual and performance). In the early nineties I returned to school to get a Bachelor of Education degree. Upon completion of this degree I got a job teaching art and theatre in a junior and senior high school on the north coast of BC in the small city of Prince Rupert. I taught grade 8-12 students there for seventeen years and as the acting coach and teacher produced and directed over fifty productions. I directed one act plays, full length plays and adapted children stories and fables which were then toured to the local elementary schools. During that time I also completed my masters degree in art education. I moved to Edmonton in 2006 with my wife and daughter and have continued to be a supporter of the arts.
I had read about Geriactors a few years after moving to Edmonton and when I turned sixty decided I would love to be involved, Hence, here I am participating and loving working with my cohorts at Geriactors. I love the development of ensemble and devised theatre and wish to continue this journey as long as I am breathing.