Living Portraits blog

Celebrating Age with Living Portraits

Living Portraits is part of Hat Fair’s Celebrating Age project, a two year programme of arts activity for, with and about older people.

We are delivering three projects exploring the realities of life as an older person in the UK which, through theatre and film, celebrate positive images of older people.

The first of these projects took place earlier in 2017 as we re-mounted and toured Hat Fair’s co-production with Flintlock Theatre, Four Score Years And Ten. This was an immersive verbatim theatre piece, commissioned by Winchester City Council in 2016, based on the lives of six nonagenarians from Winchester and was toured around small scale venues and village halls in Hampshire.

The next stage of our Celebrating Age project is Living Portraits – an inter-generational participation project with local colleges and older participants.

Hat Fair has worked with a group of six students from Winchester University and a group of 3 older people, recruited through St John’s House Charity, who live alone. The young people were trained in oral history techniques by Hampshire Record Office before taking part in workshops, delivered by Flintlock Theatre, on verbatim theatre. They were then coached in capturing live performance on film by Valentina Floris and Ben Foot of SDNA.

The older and younger participants were ‘buddied’ together at a tea party and then collaborated to make Living Portraits inspired by the life, home environment and experiences of each older person.

These celebratory portraits have been captured on film. Three of these celebratory digital portraits will premiere on Saturday 16 December at the United Church, Jewry Street from 4pm -7pm as part of Woolly Hat Fair 2017 (see event Christmases Past and Present) and will be made available via partner websites, and deposited in the Wessex Film & Sound Archive.

Three more groups of young and older people will go through the process and create further living portraits in the new year with a showing to be delivered around Easter. Keep your eye on the Hat Fair website for more info!

We will soon be starting the next instalment of our Celebrating Age project – co-producing The Recycled Silent Movie project with The Core in Northampton.

Celebrating Age is jointly funded by Arts Council England and the Baring Foundation.