Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published February 1st 2014
Activity Equals Independence
Attic Theatre Outreach Programme For Over 55s
Mary Sheen as Ma Kelly
With winter in full bloom and lots of wet weather, Age UK Merton is making sure all its senior residents keep warm, dry, fit, healthy, and independent. Recently they have been working with The Attic Theatre Company, who run an Outreach programme for different members of the community, particularly older residents. Did you know that by 2020 over half the adults in the UK will be over 50? The older we get, the less exercise we seem to do, but Attic Theatre want to change that. By staying fit and active we can increase our happiness and help prolong our lives.
Community Safety Shows
Over the past week, The Attic Theatre has been touring Merton with its latest educational production. Over the past twelve years, they have been performing community safety shows based around a character called Ma Kelly. Ma Kelly's Doorstep, Ma Kelly Plays It Safe are comedies about staying safe in the home, and preventing burglaries.
Just recently, they have created a new play called Ma Kelly's Game, which I went to see at the South Mitcham Community Centre.
Ma Kelly is seventy-two, and sick and tired of her daughter, Joan, taking her for granted as a free nanny service. Ma Kelly loves her grandkids, but she doesn't want to look after them day in day out. Often she can't keep up, and half the time she can't understand what they're on about. There were chuckles all around the audience when Ma Kelly explained her confusion when she took her grandson to the bathroom because he wanted a Wii.
To get out of nanny duty, Ma Kelly feigns a bad back, high blood pressure, and heart palpitations, but not everything goes quite according to plan. When her young next door neighbour, Danielle, pops in to say hello, she decides that the three of them should become training buddies so that they can all become fitter. Not exactly what Ma Kelly had in mind, but after a long stroll, a bit of line dancing, and learning to swim in an Aquafit class, she gets quite into it. In fact Ma Kelly feels better than she has in years.
Now the only problem is that she has no excuse not to look after the grandkids.
The costumes and sets are basic, but that does not detract from the fun. Ma Kelly's Game is light hearted entertainment aimed at the over fifty-fives. It shows that no matter how old you are, you can keep fit by staying active. Every bit of exercise you do now is money in the bank for later - 'one more day where you can clip your own toenails'.
Going for a Song
After each show, The Attic Theatre gave a taster session of some of the local activities they provide.
At the show I attended, they invited the members of Going for a Song. The singing group for over 55s costs £3.50 a session, and takes place at Vestry Hall, Cricket Green, Mitcham, every Wednesday at 1pm - 2pm.
The group is led by choirmaster, Christopher Killerby, and it is an excellent way to exercise the vocal chords and body. The group works on a variety of styles and begin each session with a warm up.
The warm up combines gentle movement with entertaining vocal exercises, such as speaking in different accents, such as a nasal New Yorker and a posh person.
After the warm up, there was a performance of a number of songs, such as ones by Nat King Cole, the Loveboat lullaby, and a Latin Hymn.
Other activities include tai chi, falan gong, yoga, zumba, singing, chair-based exercise, line dancing, and belly dancing. If you are interested in taking part in any of these, you can contact them by calling 0208 640 6800.