May 20, 2022
By Christine Ross
Listen to Christine’s report here.
Research proves that storytelling has immense health benefits for older adults like creating social connections and improved mental stimulation.
Theatre Collingwood discovered that seniors were so eager to learn how, that workshops offered in April and May sold out.
“Since my mother’s passing, not a year goes by that a family member doesn’t mention how Aunt Helen’s cards and notes made them feel how much they missed hearing from her, my mother believed that staying in touch with those you love, benefited the giver as much as the received,” recites workshop teacher Scott Hurst.
The actor with over 40 years experience, was inspired by his students to write his own story about his late Mother.
“We literally told stories, and it was stories about our lives, it was other people’s stories, it was poetry, some people wanted more of an acting class,” added Hurst.
“There were seniors, especially coming out of the pandemic, who had a story to tell and wanted to share their thoughts and stories with other people,” said Erica Angus, Executive Director of Theatre Collingwood.
She was moved by a workshop participant – a woman in her late 80’s– who researched her family roots to find not much other than two dates.
“The date they were born and the date they died but nothing else about them, and she decided that she was going to leave more about herself than simply the date she was born and the date she died,” said Angus.
Erica’s grandfather lived with her family while growing up. She now realizes the bedtime stories he told her, were his life stories.
Preserving storytelling for generations is the ultimate goal of these workshops, which return in the fall.
“We’re actually encouraging people now to take the next step and to audio record them and to video record them so that future generations will know a little about this beautiful library of knowledge, anecdotes and personal stories” remarked Hurst.
“After living many years on the planet, we all have a tapestry of stories to tell,” Angus said.
Visit Theatre Collingwood for more information on the upcoming workshop.