acta Community Theatre
acta Community Theatre is helping socially isolated older people feel part of their community
Over the past 35 years, acta Community Theatre has been supporting all the different parts of the community in Bristol to share their own stories and the experiences that matter to them. Working with those who have the least access to the arts, their aim is to make the theatre a place where people can come together. ‘Our arts centre in Bedminster has a café–bar space that we wanted to get more out of,’ explains Kathryn Hopkins, Communications Coordinator at acta. ‘We thought it would make a real difference if we could tie in using the café–bar with our existing project for the over 55s – Making Time. ‘We collect socially excluded older people from their homes using Bristol Community Transport (BCT) minibuses and bring them to the theatre – many participants couldn’t come without it and many need accessible transport. They have a great lunch provided by our volunteers using the café–bar facilities, with everyone eating together so that people can socialise – and there’s extra support if needed.
‘It’s so much more than just a meal and chat. After lunch, they then go on to do creative activities with the Making Time group. It gets all participants directly involved in performances – things like putting on shows and performing puppet theatre. This year, they have been involved in an amazing intergenerational storytelling project with the local primary school – again, accessed using BCT Transport. ‘The idea is to ensure people feel that they can contribute in a meaningful way, that they have something to offer and are a part of their community – it’s a lifeline that supports members’ happiness, wellbeing and mental health.’