Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Bag Dancing

Theatr Iolo , , November-14-93
THEATR IOLO is doing its bit to support the European Year of Older People and Solidarity Between Generations with the play Bag Dancing.
Written by Mike Kenny, Bag Dancing explores the touching relationship between Imelda, a bag lady. and Neville, a caretaker.
Both are advanced in years and they develop a warm friendship. Through their conversations we learn about their lives and experiences, their personal and social histories.
Their tales are both humorous and poignant, challenging many preconceptions about old age.
The play has been touring schools in South Glamorgan.
"It's quite strong stuff," says Gillian Dale, Theatr Iolo administrator. "It's aimed at the oldest pupils in Junior School. The play challenges stereotyped images of older people and their relationship with the young."
The Theatre Company has also worked closely with Age Concern Wales to encourge participation and communication between older and younger audiences. Gillian says that this play and others performed in the past have been immensely popular with pupils and teachers alike.
However, a cloud hangs over the future of Theatr Iolo's lack of funding.
In April it lost 40 per cent of its budget through the loss of financial support from South Glamorgan Education Authority after spending cuts imposed on local authorities by the government.
"Theatre in Education shows are sometimes the only experience of theatre that a child will have," says Gillian.
"If this servcie is curtailed it is the children of poorer families who will suffer. The theatre will become an elitist activity. Already we are passing on some of the costs to schools, some of whom will then have to choose between a performance by Theatre Iolo or a set of new books. It is inevitable that books and other necessities will come first. Our argument is that the arts are a necessity not an extra."
Ironically members of Theatr Iolo have been to Austria giving lectures on how to set up similar operations.

Reviewed by: Gareth Lewisham

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