GeriActors Theatre is an intergenerational theatre company based in Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton). Our mission is to engage seniors and intergenerational groups in theatre and performance-based activities, and to produce theatre of meaning for our performers and audiences.
Adhering to the principles of creative aging, we believe that seniors’ engagement in the arts at a level of comparative mastery leads to significant health benefits, an overall sense of well-being, and a marked increase in social and civic engagement. Our programs seek to challenge stereotypes, promote authentic views on aging, and bring people together to share in meaningful discussions about lived experiences.
“We have found that play-acting brings out the inner self; it makes life easier in some way.”
Founded in 2001, GeriActors began out of the desire of a group of seniors to have their own theatre company. Founding Artistic Director, David Barnet, met the group at the Sage Seniors Association to chat more. At the end of the afternoon, drinking coffee and sharing stories, David asked whether he should “come back next week?” and the rest is history.
At first, short plays were written based on the group’s stories: “Be careful what you say! He’ll write it down and put it in a play!” Later, GeriActors became improvisation-based, devising plays based on true stories and issues of aging, and adapting scripts to be relevant to seniors.
In 2007, we became GeriActors & Friends welcoming students from the Intergenerational Theatre course David had developed at the University of Alberta. We immediately realized the value of working intergenerationally and discovered a new level of creativity, playfulness and performance.
Since 2001, GeriActors has grown significantly and our company now has three main areas of activity:
- GeriActors & Friends, our performance company, specializes in intergenerational, performer-created play development
- AudioGeris re-invents our original stage plays and brings our stories to life in an audio-only experience
- Our community workshops engage seniors and intergenerational groups in unique performance-based programs
Learn more about GeriActors:
- “From stage to sound: seniors’ theatre company turns plays into podcasts” written by Geoff McMaster
- Telling the Story of GeriActors and Friends by Age Friendly Edmonton
- Theatre as a Pathway to Healthy Aging, examining the impact of intergenerational theatre on the health of older adults