There’s a group of elders with one thing in common – a deep desire to perform on the stage.
The eyes of theatre veteran Sabera Shaik lit up as she spoke passionately about her ‘students’.
Together with accomplished actor Mano Maniam, the duo started Theatre for the Young at Heart, targeting those aged above 50 to have a shot at creating art on the stage.
And their rich and raw stories have left Sabera mesmerised.
“Some were able to go back to their childhood, to tell a story that influenced their outlook on life. There was one who had always loved to be an actress,” said Sabera when met at the National Press Club of Malaysia at Jalan Tangsi recently.
“There’s also a guy who spoke passionately about his daughter, and a woman with a witty tale of how she thought she had lost her child and the drama that ensued only to realise her child had been in the garden all along.”
Sabera said Mano embarked on a theatre for the elders in the past but said this partnership was new to them both.
“The response was good. Eight people signed up … teachers, businessmen, retirees … and it’s a comfortable number to work with.”
She said the participants train at Studio Ramli Hassan in Bukit Tunku for four hours per week over six weeks before they perform on stage for the first time.
“These participants always had the desire to act but never had the chance to do so until now.
“The idea is to form a group of elders who are young at heart and we want to sell their performances on stage. Also, we hope to create a pool of talents who will be able to lend their skills for theatre and even movies, should they need anyone from a certain age group.”
Sabera added the elders were able to express better compared to their younger counterparts.
“Elders come with more emotions, more stories. Some of them are writers and they write really well.”
“Their energy is strong and it’s a joy working with them.”
Sabera and Mano now plan to organise Theatre for the Young at Heart twice a year.
Would theatre lovers want to watch a group of elders acting for the very first time?
“Those who come to our studio know they will get to see good performances.
“The other pull factor is that these are common older people telling their stories. Who wouldn’t want to hear what they have to say … the history they bring with them.”
“It’s a good opportunity to see what these actors can do. And you’d be left surprised.”
To know more about Theatre for the Young at Heart, contact Sabera at +60123131733.