British Council Urban Futures Program

British Council has launched the arts program “Urban Futures” since early 2018 across North-East Asia, including Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and China.  “Urban Futures” program aims to foster greater inclusion and innovation in cities through the arts.  In Taiwan, we support cross-art institutions and practitioners to explore how art can make our cities more open, dynamic, inclusive and fit for the future.  Our program themes focus on "Art & Social Activism", "Art, Science & Digital Innovation", "Art & Disability" and "Art & Ageing".

In January 2019, as part of the “Art & Inclusion” programme, British Council in Taiwan collaborates with the National Theater and Concert Hall (NTCH) and the National Culture and Arts Foundation to invite three experts from the UK as well as Taiwanese instructors with rich and diversified experiences to jointly present their works in creative ageing and performing art. The "Creative Ageing X Performing Art Forum" includes workshops for older audience (joined by professional practitioners), professional workshops for practitioners to engage in in-depth exchanges and discussions, and ends with a symposium.

British Council is pleased to invite three professional from the UK (in alphabetical order):

  • David Slater, the Artistic Director of Entelechy Arts
  • Elaine Foley, the Projects Manager for the Learning & Engagement team at Sadler’s Wells Theatre
  • Susanna Howard, Founder of Living Words



About【Creative Ageing X Performing Art Forum

Theater X Dance X Voice 

An arts experience for older audience 

An exchange platform for professional practitioners


Workshops for General Public on Saturday 12 January 2019

Drama Workshop: From Fact to Fiction

  • Instructors: David Slater, LO Chia-yu
  • Venue: 5F, National Theatre, Dance Room A (No. 21-1, Zhong Shan South Road, Taipei)
  • A workshop exploring how our experiences, memories and pre-occupations can be transformed into material for theatre performance. The workshop will use a variety of techniques and approaches to uncover and share stories. Medical science is supporting us to live for longer. Additional years bring with them new opportunities but also new challenges. How are these stories told, who gets to tell them and who is invited to listen?


Dance Workshop: Company of Elders - From Studio to Stage 

  • Instructors: Elaine Foley, LIN Yi-fen
  • Venue: 3F, National Theatre, Dance Room 1 (No. 21-1, Zhong Shan South Road, Taipei)
  • Every year the Company of Elders create new dance works under the direction of renowned guest choreographers and rehearse for 2 hours every Friday morning in preparation for annual performances at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. What style of movement material is devised? What do these creative processes look like? This practical workshop will draw on repertoire from two pieces recently created on the company – choreographed by Adrienne Hart and Dickson Mbi -- to give participants an opportunity to experience the work first-hand. The session aims to give an understanding of the differing approaches employed when creating high quality dance in collaboration with older adults while also highlighting the core values that underpin each process.


Voice Workshop: Sounds, Words, Me – Us 

  • Instructor: Susanna Howard
  • Venue: 5F, National Theatre Dance Room B (No. 21-1, Zhong Shan South Road, Taipei)
  • In this workshop, we will:
1. Find out about the key elements of Living Words practice

2. Explore the Living Words method ourselves:

  • Working in pairs we will have our own words written down, and write down the words’ of others
  • Share our own and others’ words in front of an audience
3. Explore fear around self-expression in connection with social value. How we feel about our own voices, and how they change over time
4. Explore perceptions of dementia, and some information about dementia and dementia arts



Workshops for Professional Practitioners on Sunday 13 January 2019


Drama Workshop: Why Theatre?

  • Instructors: David Slater, LO Chia-yu
  • Venue: 5F, National Theatre, Dance Room A (No. 21-1, Zhong Shan South Road, Taipei)
  • In the workshop, we will be discussing:
1. How can theatre and performance work contribute to a reimaging of the cultural and social life of our communities, anticipating the rapid approach of the super ageing society?
2. What is the role of the artist and how can theatre work alongside other disciplines, social care and health practices, without compromising the integrity of its own work?

    The day will comprise of:

1. Practical sessions exploring ways of developing theatre work with older people from marginalized and isolated groups
2. Exploration of strategic opportunities created when the theatre-maker develops work in partnership with professionals and lay people from other disciplines and sectors
3. Sharing of existing models of effective practice


Dance Workshop: Creating work on Company of Elders - An exploration of choreographic approaches and practices 

  • Instructors: Elaine Foley, LIN Yi-fen
  • Venue: 3F, National Theatre, Dance Room 1 (No. 21-1, Zhong Shan South Road, Taipei)
  • This year, Sadler’s Wells celebrates 30 years since the inception of its work with older adults. Company of Elders represents this work with annual performances under the tagline ‘proving it’s never too late to start dancing’. But, is this all we’re trying to prove? This workshop uses Company of Elders as a case study and starting point for discussion on the variety of ways professional choreographers work with a group of older adults who have no formal dance training. How do dance artists approach creating high quality performance work that aims to change the perceptions of dance, and how do the Elders themselves feel about these processes? Participants can expect to take part in creative exercises, sharing of practice and dialogue around the successes and challenges of work in this field.


Voice Workshop: Sounds, Words, Me – Us 

  • Instructor: Susanna Howard
  • Venue: 5F, National Theatre Dance Room B (No. 21-1, Zhong Shan South Road, Taipei)
  • In this practitioner focussed session, the group will explore:
1. What is dementia?
2. Representations and perceptions of people living with dementias in Taiwan

3. Process as product:

  • How to work with people living with advanced dementias
  • The challenges faced with engaging people living with dementias
  • The ethics of working with people who live in society's margins
  • How to run a project. And WHY run a project
4. Fostering creative collaborations and cross-sector partnerships

5. Community led curation

  • Explore fear around self-expression in connection with social value. How we feel about our own voices, and how they change over time
  • Explore perceptions of dementia, and some information about dementia and dementia arts


Creative Ageing X Performing Art Forum on Monday 14 January 2019

Venue: National Theatre – Experimental Theatre

Speakers: David Slater, LO Chia-yu, Susanna Howard, WEI Shih-fen, Elaine Foley, LIN Yi-fen


David Slater

Collaboration, Theatre and the Super Ageing Society

‘I thought I’d finished with life but this is waking me up again. It makes you feel you’re not dead. You’re not worthless. You can do something and still be a part the world.’ Nelly Andoh

A brief reflection on the transformative effect of theatre for isolated and marginalized older people.

LO Chia-yu

Older Adults and Drama

In this session, the instructor is going to share her theatric experiences with older adults in 2018, focusing on two parts: (1) the idea and goal of designing a workshop of playing with older adults; and (2) various questions about the theater for older adults.

In the first part, a workshop of playing drama with older adults, the main theme in the design of the course focuses on the creative dramatic activities with human beings as the center. Base on the dramatic structure of "who, what, when, where, things, motives and intentions," a variety of dramatic games and activities that are interactive to each other and connected with the participant’s mentalities are thus developed. The second part begins with older adults’ participation as the leading roles in the production and creation of It's My Turn, in which they ask themselves such questions as "why do we make such efforts in the theater for older adults?" and "whose theater for older adults should it be?", aiming to share their experiences with others and to set the discussion rolling.

Susanna Howard

Let's Talk

We will talk about how Living Words artists work with people living with dementias, families, care home staff and communities. Living Words has key partnership working with cross-sector collaborators such as the Wellcome, BBC Radio 3, Royal Academy of Music, NHS, hospitals and service user led dementia groups. We will look at:

  • What is dementia?
  • Why the arts and Living Words methodology can have an impact when working with people with dementias?
  • How the Living Words team has worked with people at all stages of dementia, co- creating many different artistic projects?
  • Who might do more of this work in Taiwan?
WEI Shih-fen

May a Flower Grow from the Voices

There are many codes in your voices. Your words and intonations carry your personalities, education, ages and value of life. What kind of voice should older adults’ voices be?

By sharing experience with older adults in classrooms, the instructor strongly feels the richness of their life stories and emotions. The voices of older adults shouldn’t be identically low and deep, but instead should carry all sorts of emotions, such as laughter, sadness, excitement, and of course, whimpers and whispers.

In this session, the instructor is going to share her experiences and show older adults how to relax their necks and shoulders, how to exercise their vocal cords, how to speak by exercising their strength and breath, and how to exercise deep breaths. Let the inner emotions flow and open up your minds and bodies. With voicing, qigong, body movements, as well as singing and dancing, participants will jointly find out the fluent and free voices that belong to older adults.

Elaine Foley

Company of Elders: pioneering dance for older adults in the UK

Sadler’s Wells embraces and encourages lifelong creativity by providing a full programme of dance activity for anyone over the age of 60. In 2019, the organisation proudly celebrates 30 years of delivering this type of activity as well as looks back at the development and refocusing that has happened along the way. The ongoing commitment to participation activities that are inherently linked to the artistic programme is an integral part the organisation’s belief in the power of dance to transform lives -- both on and off the stage. This presentation will emphasize the importance of work with older adults and speak to the structures that Sadler’s Wells has put in place to make the most of what a producing dance house can offer to maximise overall impact, for both the community and the sector.

LIN Yi-fen

Dancing with Older Adults: Sharing My Experiences

The instructor will start with sharing her experiences in participating in projects related to older adults in recent years, including the "Action Plan of Seeking for Coexistence and Common Good in Guangdu" organized by the Taipei National University of the Arts. With the body as the theme and the arts as an approach to the community, the plan reviews the performing bodies, the ill bodies, and the aging bodies from an aesthetic perspective.

Meanwhile, the instructor will also share her experiences as the instructor and choreographer for older adults in dance teaching and rehearsals of the NTCH Arts Playland and It's My Turn.

About speakers (UK)

David Slater/Artistic Director, Entelechy Arts

David Slater is artistic director of Entelechy Arts a participatory arts company based in south east London. David has over forty years’ experience of directing and producing theatre with and for groups of older people. He was one of the main architects of Meet Me at the Albany, an award-winning arts programme supporting the cultural inclusion of isolated older people. David’s most recent theatre work BED is a street performance work devised and performed by older people to highlight the stories of the isolated old.  This work has toured extensively across the UK and David is making a new version with performers from the Saitama Gold Company in Japan in September 2018. 

Elaine Foley/Project Manager, Learning & Engagement Team, Sadler’s Wells Theatre

Elaine Foley is the Projects Manager for the Learning & Engagement team at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. She oversees Sadler’s Wells’ resident over 60’s performance company, The Company of Elders as well as manages projects for England’s flagship youth dance company, National Youth Dance Company. Previously, Elaine worked as a coordinator for the Programming team at Sadler’s Wells and has 10+ years’ experience working as a community dance artist championing inclusive practice inside and outside of the studio. Her experience ranges from stages to stadiums, including large-scale dance projects such as ‘Home Turf’ at Sadler’s Wells, the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. 

Susanna Howard/Founder, Living Words 

Writer, actor and theatre maker Susanna Howard founded pioneering arts & literature charity Living Words in 2007.  Living Words run residencies in care homes, working one-to-one with people experiencing a dementia, plus care home staff and relatives.  In response to the work that comes from these residencies Living Words create anthologies, events and performances to challenge assumptions and tackle stigma around dementia, language  and communication. Susanna is additionally team member at Created Out of Mind at Wellcome; co-curator of Normal? Festival of the Brain in Folkestone; and Visiting Research Fellow at University of Roehampton’s Poetry Centre. 


About speakers (Taiwan)

LO Chia-yu/Project Assistant, Graduate Institute of Arts and Humanities Education, Taipei National University of the Arts

LO Chia-yu, MA and PhD in Drama and Theatre Education from Warwick University in the UK, is currently a project assistant at the Graduate Institute of Arts and Humanities Education in Taipei National University of the Arts. She has worked as an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Drama Creation and Application of National University of Tainan and the Department of Early Childhood Educare of Tainan University of Technology, and has lectured drama programs in the schools at all levels as well as in private courses. LO Chia-yu has published articles in such journals as Journal of Aesthetic Education and art plus, and has written a dozen of reviews on the PAR Review. She has also published Child’s Play and participated as an actress in Boom, Boom, Crash - A Story About a Roaring Boy, produced by New Visions New Voices Theatre Company in Taiwan.

LIN Yi-fen/Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Dance, Taipei National University of the Arts

LIN Yi-fen started dancing since the age of three and has always loved to encounter people via dancing and believed that everybody is entitled to enjoy the happiness of dancing. Currently, she is a mother of two children as well as a PhD student and an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Dance of the Taipei National University of the Arts. She owns an MA in Performing Arts from the University of Utah in the United States and has worked as a dancer in Taiwan’s Cloud Gate 2.  During her stay in the United States, she participated in the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and worked with Hofesh Shechter, Didy Veldman, Tero Saarinen and Helen Pickett, among others. LIN was selected as “the most noteworthy dancer” by the Salt Lake Tribune in 2010 and her work BLANK was chosen as the best choreography of the year by the Salt Lake City Weekly in the next year. 

WEI Shih-fen/Vocal Coach for Voice Correction

WEI Shih-fen, graduated from Westminster Choir College in the United States and majoring in vocal coach and piano accompanying, is a disciple of Dalton Baldwin, a master in art songs, and also an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Drama and Theatre of National Taiwan University (NTU). She received the 2015 NTU Excellence in Teaching Award and acted as a member of the Evaluation Committee for the NTCH Programming & Planning Department in 2013-2015 and 2017. She has also worked as a vocal coach for extensive education programs in the NTCH and for various enterprises and entrepreneurs. She is currently a vocal coach for voice correction, musicals and pop music, an accompanying pianist for vocal performances, and the hostess of “Shiao Fen’s Art World,” a radio program at IC FM 97.5 in Hsinchu. As one of the most important driving forces for the development of musicals in Taiwan, WEI Shih-fen is an all-round vocal coach, whose works have covered a wide spectrum of performing arts, including classic arts, pop music, traditional theater and audiobooks.