Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, will help raise age awareness by attending the theatrical launch of Getting On: true stories of growing old in 21st Century Britain at the Almeida Theatre in Islington on Friday.
Presented by acclaimed theatre company iceandfire, which explores human rights stories through performance, the production gives a voice to Britain’s older generation who have struggled to retain their identity and dignity in a youth-focused society. The play was produced as part of the company’s Outreach project, Actors for Human Rights in collaboration with Age Concern and Help the Aged.
Jean, who is a patron of iceandfire and Co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Ageing, said:
“All too often people are overlooked, undervalued and disregarded because of their age, with far too many pensioners living in poverty and isolation. London in particular is a major offender in terms of age discrimination, with more than 60 per cent of older residents experiencing ageism of some form .
“We need to turn around this prevailing attitude in our culture to ensure that citizens should be treated with the respect they deserve, however old they may be and by innovative arts companies such as iceandfire engaging in this important discussion we can really push forward the debate.”
Co-artistic director of the iceandfire, Sara Masters, who wrote the script based on interviews with the protagonists, said:
“It’s ridiculous that we lump this huge, diverse group of people together and call them ‘older people’ as though it is a one size fits all. How can this label describe a group that ranges from sixty-year-olds holding down full time work, to 100-year-olds who live in residential care? There are many issues about how we treat people who fall in to this group in the UK, I hope Getting On humanises some of them.”
After the launch, the script will be available as part of iceandfire’s Outreach project. Groups can request a rehearsed reading of any of their Outreach performances, for little or no cost. For more information, go to http://iceandfire.co.uk/
Note to Editors
 To read Age Concern London’s full report, Older Londoners’ experiences of Age Discrimination, visit:
Jean Lambert is one of eight MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament. In October 2005 Jean was named MEP of the year for her work on Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections and was re-elected in 2004 and 2009.
iceandfire explores human rights stories through performance. Over the last six years they have become a theatre company with a distinct, contemporary voice creating work of excellence across our four work strands: production, outreach, education and participation.
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged. They help people enjoy a better later life – within the UK and in 70 other countries – by providing life-enhancing services and vital support.