Using Memories to Create Theatre

Life story adventures that older adults carry with them make excellent theatre! Use these materials to help you transform their stories into dramatic pieces. This very popular format is successful with both beginning to advanced performers–and audiences love it!

scripting our lives bookNEW!
SCRIPTING OUR LIVES: Oral History Theatre

A collection of practical methods and script shell foundations
Mark Steven Jensen and
Ann McDonough

This book will help you create an oral history theatre revue. Here’s all the information to help you start. This groundbreaking work provides a wonderful range of basic script outlines or ‘shells’ for you and your group to insert personal stories, creative works, and reminiscences. With themes like, “Dancing Through Life,” “High School Daze,” and “Military Memories,” you will be both inspired and delighted. Create wonderful theatre revues based on the memories of your lives!


rem theatre coverREMINISCENCE THEATRE Making Theatre from Memories
Pam SchweitzerThere are several wonderful books on how to use life stories to create theatre. Now they are joined by the latest addition, Reminiscence Theatre by Pam Schweitzer.

Pam founded Age Exchange Theatre Trust in 1983. It was the first full-time professional theatre company that toured reminiscence theatre across the UK and Europe. In 2000 Pam was awarded the MBE for services to Reminiscence and she continues to direct the European Reminiscence Network, lecturing, directing and training in reminiscence and related fields.

In 1993, Pam founded and was Artistic Director of the Good Companions, a Senior Theatre, which produced 10 original productions, that were performed throughout the UK and Europe.

Reminiscence Theatre
is a comprehensive guide to the nature, practice and therapeutic effects of reminiscence theatre. Drawing on examples from a range of real-life case studies, Pam Schweitzer provides practical advice on how to draw out  oral histories, create a script, and develop the material into a dramatic production from your life experience.


AGE ON STAGETM: Lifewriting Your Monologue
Joy ReillyLearn how to transform your life experience into theatre. Joy Reilly takes you through the writing process as you create monologues that reflect your own story.

Use her company, Howling at the Moon, as your model. Their monologues, from funny to deeply personal, will inspire you. They can be used in class or in readings. The 38 monologues are arranged so that they are ready to be peformed…making a show that’s easy to put together, with strong impact.

”Joy Reilly’s techniques make lifewriting easy, creative and rewarding. On stage, it goes beyond storytelling. The space between the performers and the audience is filled with a powerful impact that stays with you!” 

joan e. kole, Artistic Director, AgeQuake Theatre



theatre of memories coverTHE THEATRE OF MEMORIES: Creating Oral History Revues
Ann McDonough

This practical guide will lead you and your group step-by-step through the process of developing and creating an oral history theatre revue. From selecting a theme to inspiring stories to editing your script, this exciting new work is sure to capture and preserve special memories, stories and insights from a variety of age groups!


stage for hearts coverA STAGE FOR MEMORY: A Guide to the Living History Theatre Program of Elders Share the Arts
Renya T. H. LarsonShare your life stories on the stage! This practical guide combines reminiscence and theatre to help you start and sustain a Living History Theatre program. Learn from Elders Share the Arts and their twenty-five years of experience bringing elders’ stories to audiences in the community. This step-by-step guide makes it easy for you to create your own powerful, fun performances.


legacy works coverLEGACY WORKS: Transforming Memory into Visual Art
Susan Golden with Susan PerlsteinEngage seniors in reminiscence and storytelling and learn how to transform recollections into visual art. Great Ideas for oral history interviews in a step-by-step program that excites and inspires!


James Birren and Kathryn CochranA great guide for creating theatre based on life stories. Learn from expert, James Birren, who for 25 years has been conducting autobiography groups. A useful tool for those who want to organize, record, and share life experiences through a proven and effective technique. Perfect for developing material for use on the stage. An Excellent Book!


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