Resiliency through Virtual Action was a collaborative artistic initiative by Mixed Company Theatre, Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women and Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities to build resilience among seniors during the social distancing era. Comprising of a series of digital learning workshops, virtual theatre creation workshops, and online public performances, this project enabled seniors to access a safe platform to share their mental health concerns, find ways to cope, share and perform their lived experiences, and build strong social and digital skills in the process.
Seniors have been among the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic so we wanted to use theatre to help them express the challenges they have been experiencing and find new strategies to make positive change for themselves. The seniors in this project have been guided by our experienced facilitators in workshop sessions to share their stories which provided the inspiration for two final, public presentations intended to generate dialogue with the larger community about how to support our seniors.
In March 2021, the incredible seniors we worked with on this project shared the Forum Theatre plays they created. See below for descriptions of their shows!
Anna’s Story: Family Complications After Loss
This virtual Forum Theatre play was created by seniors at Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women about coping with loss. Can you help Anna navigate grief, loneliness, computer challenges, and new financial responsibilities after the loss of her husband?
Scripted and facilitated by Pavla Uppal with support from Elizabeth Wickwire.
Content Warning: The presentation made subtle references to suicide.
Mar 23, 2021 | 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM (ET)
Online via Zoom
COVID Concerns was a play created by seniors at Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities about the increased anxiety, frustration, and depression that seniors have been experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Afraid. Isolated. Overwhelmed. Can you help seniors find new ways to cope with the psychological impact of this pandemic?
Scripted and facilitated by Luciano Iogna with support from Max Cameron Fearon and Lorene Stanwick.
Mar 25 and Mar 31, 2021 | 10:00 – 11:30 AM (ET)
Online via Zoom
Through theatre games and exercises, the senior communities shared their stories which led them to identify the social and mental health challenges they are encountering during the pandemic. Then, they worked together to build a script which moulded their individual life experiences into a universal story that reflects the oppression and conflicts they have collectively experienced. Our MCT facilitators helped the groups develop and rehearse these final plays which were presented towards a larger audience, in the Forum Theatre format.