Theatre for Lifelong Learning (Book)

An Instructor’s Handbook

Theatre for Lifelong Learning: A Handbook for Instructors, Older Adults, Communities, and Artists is a step-by-step guide for anyone interested in teaching theatre courses for older adults. It provides syllabi, discussion questions, resource lists, classroom management strategies, and activities. 7 b&w illus.

Category: Performing Arts


This handbook is for instructors interested in teaching higher education level theatre courses for older adults. It features a step-by-step guide for designing and teaching theatre arts curricula for the OA classroom, including strategies, and resources, and templates. Numerous studies show that the involvement in theatre has a positive impact on quality of life for OA, enhancing a sense of community, connectedness, and creativity. However, both OA students and educators who are interested in theatre (as scholars, audiences, and practitioners) face a lack of resources outside of the realm of community theatre and volunteerism. While these resources focus primarily on fun, they do not take theatre seriously as a form of study. The models outlined in Theatre for Lifelong Learning have academic rigorousness and challenge, while also encouraging a sense of fun.

Linda teaches theatre at the Older Adults Program at Santa Rosa Junior College. 

Rae Mansfield is the Honors Faculty-in-Residence at the University Massachusetts, Lowell.

Their collaborations include plays about student debt, student-mentor relationships in Ancient Greece and Tang Dynasty China, cross-dressing women in 19th century San Francisco and Ireland, race relations in the U.S., and historian Laurence Senelick.

Linda Lau and Rae Mansfield are theatre arts educators, drama Ph.D.’s, co-founders of and collaborators on the Theatre for Lifelong Learning Project, and co-authors of several plays, articles, and other theatre resources.


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