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Over-60s sought for new filmmaking and theatre courses


Leeds Beckett University is opening up its doors to people aged 60 years and over as it launches new short courses in filmmaking and performance art.

Jennifer Granville, Jenny Zobel and Joe Armstrong

Building on the success of the 2016 CINAGE: Filmmaking for Active Ageing course, Leeds Beckett is launching two new projects this year, which will take place between April and November 2017. Participants from across Yorkshire and the Humber, aged 60 and over, are invited to create films and performances based on their own memories, life stories and views of the world, supported by academics and students within the University’s School of Film, Music and Performing Arts. 

The School will be hosting an event on Tuesday 21 March at the Northern Film School, based in the Electric Press in Millennium Square in Leeds city centre, from 6-7.30pm, for anyone interested in signing up to the courses. The event will offer the chance to see some of the CINAGE films, meet the academics behind the courses, and hear from previous participants about their experiences. 

The CINAGE: Filmmaking for Active Ageing course begins with participants watching and discussing films and sharing their experiences of ageing. They will then receive expert tuition in screenwriting, directing, producing and editing before collaborating with students and professionals, using state-of-the-art facilities to create a series of short films which will be screened at the Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds in December. 

Jennifer Granville, Principal Lecturer in the School of Film, Music and Performance Art, said: “CINAGE 2017 gives older people the opportunity to learn the art and craft of filmmaking to enjoy the opportunity for self-expression through storytelling, and to develop their narrative into film, by collaborating with an intergenerational group of students and professional filmmakers.”  

CINAGE LIVE is a new course this year, offering participants the opportunity to make and perform contemporary pieces of theatre that address issues at the heart of their lives and explore the experience of ageing. It is led by Principal Lecturer and professional practitioner, Teresa Brayshaw, with guest collaborators including Alex Kelly from the Third Angel theatre company in Sheffield. There will also be the chance to take part in CINAGE filmmaking projects as performers. 

Teresa Brayshaw said: “CINAGE LIVE offers senior students the opportunity to work in a performance ensemble on the creation of two new contemporary theatre works. This course will provide space to perform and devise together, share life stories, and learn about how to play and make performances based on personal and collaborative research for a range of public audiences in Leeds and beyond.”

Still from 'Papiyon Vole!'
Still from 'Papiyon Vole!'

Jenny Zobel (pictured top centre) took part in the 2016 CINAGE Filmmaking project, creating a film from her screenplay, Papiyon Vole! She said: “I enjoyed working on the film, especially working with the professional people at the Northern Film School and being taught by the lecturers. By profession, I was a radio broadcaster for the BBC World Service, broadcasting in French from London. I’ve never done film before, which is the opposite of radio – what you see is important, rather than what you hear. I found the experience very humbling.” 

David Sables’s film She Had a Dream, was produced as part of a special project in 2016, producing a series of films based on participants’ experiences of the miners’ strike of 1984-5. He said: “Before the project, my knowledge of film production was limited to watching documentary films while sitting in a cinema. I had no idea the amount of work involved or the numbers, steps and people it took to produce just a few minutes of film. The process of script writing was at first a bit daunting but the team soon put me at ease and, with their help, I realised that I could write something relevant and have some fun. The filming process itself was stimulating and quite exciting as the director and crew tried to get the best film locations, angles, views needed to move my poem from paper to film and capture the ideas embedded within it. It has been a pleasure to see the pictures in my head turned into pictures on the screen.”

Still from 'She Had a Dream'
Still from 'She Had a Dream'

The CINAGE project began in 2013 with the aim of exploring the EU’s recommendations for healthy, active ageing and increasing the reflection of the needs and concerns of older people in contemporary cinema. 

Jennifer Granville (pictured top left) added: “The CINAGE project, which Leeds Beckett University previously delivered in partnership with colleagues in Portugal, Slovenia and Italy, is a great example of an educational resource especially created with older people in mind. It forms part of the lifelong learning process enabling active ageing by learning new skills and working not only with senior learners but across the generations. 

“At the pilot stage, CINAGE comprised of interlinked activities in a learning package which engaged older people with practical filmmaking experience, thereby promoting active ageing - enabling older people to maintain economic independence, remain fitter in body and mind and generally lead more fulfilled lives.” 

The filmmaking course costs £500 and the performance course £150; however, some bursaries are available for individuals who are fully retired, on a minimum income or pension allowance, or have to travel distances to attend. For more information about the courses and to book a place on the taster event, please contact David Turner on 0113 812 3330 or d.p.turner@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.

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