Participation Older People

Upswing began a relationship with the charity Entelechy Arts in 2010 which has instigated a number of rewarding collaborations and projects with Entelechy  Arts and other organisations. Below is a sample of some of the work both past and current.

In 2012/2013 during the research and development phase of our production WHAT HAPPENS IN THE WINTER we carried out a series of  workshops with older people in collaboration with Entelechy. The experiences and testimonies of these participants were gathered and  drawn on in the development of the show. We also brought the workshop to every partner venue during the tour. Since then we have been developing a range of projects for and with Older people below is a sample of some of the work both past and current.


In Balance

In partnership with Entelechy Arts and Dance in Devon Upswing have developed and refined an aerial, juggling and acrobalance workshop program aimed at older participants aged 65 and above. Piloted in 2010, we have delivered the workshop in a range of contexts from festivals to care homes and community centres. The workshops are designed to be adaptable to the needs of the participants using the core principles of circus disciplines – balance, stability and awareness.  A fundementally important element of the workshop is space created at the end for discussion and feedback, in which participants share amongst themselves their impressions and explore how the work has impacted them. In the words of a recent 83 year old student “I feel I can do anything now!”.


Falling and Flying

We are now embarking on an ambitious new project Falling and Flying. the first stage of which has been generously funded by the Gulbenkian Foundation, and has given us the opportunity to work with film maker Edwin Mingard, poet Simon Mole, technologist Malcolm Buchanan-Dick and a group of older people that attend Meet Me at The Albany, exploring technology, ageing and our physical environment.

Here you can read a beautifully articulate blog written by Edwin on the work we have done so far and the direction the project is taking.


Magic Me Residency

In August 2015 we embark on a new project from leading intergenerational arts charity Magic Me that is set to challenge the norm for the arts in care homes in the UK.

The project will bring the four participating arts organisations – immersive theatre company Punchdrunk; performance & events collective Duckie; performance artist and activist Lois Weaver; and Upswing into four London care homes, run by Anchor – England’s largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care to older people. Our residency will see us into a home bring over 3 months working with circus artists, residents, their families and care home staff to create a site responsive performance with circus artists, staff and residents in Autumn 2016.

Dorothee Irving from Paul Hamlyn Foundation who are funding the project said:

“We are delighted to be supporting this exciting opportunity for respected arts organisations to take their work into care homes while being supported by Magic Me, a company which is highly experienced in working with older people…

The programme has additional value because of the built-in training for the artists working in these settings and Magic Me’s track record of disseminating their learning to the wider sector.”

The project aims to test new approaches and ideas, document what works and why.  Through the work we hope to develop a resource document for activity leaders in care homes and for circus practitioners to share learning from this extraordinary project.


Meet Me At The Albany

Upswing regularly leads worskhops at Meet me at the Albany, a weekly activities day hosted by The Albany in partnership with Entelechy Arts and Lewisham Council that celebrates and cultivates the creative potential for the over 60. We are developing and expanding this program and looking for partners to help do this with.

Read about Meet Me At The Albany in a recent blog by Lyn Gardner for Guardian Culture.