Age is a Stage is a project of OldSkool Arts
OldSkool Arts is a theatre arts company specializing in providing opportunities and access to theatre and circus arts for older people. We were founded in 2018 to recognise and foster the vital part that circus and theatre arts can play in developing and promoting healthy ageing.
Age is a Stage
Age is a Stage was conceived in conjunction with Theatre Royal Brighton’s Creative Learning project. We offer weekly drop-in workshops as well as occasional public performing opportunities.
Regular classes are held at the Theatre Royal on Friday mornings, and at Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham on Tuesday mornings.
We have taken part in the Ageing Well festival, the nationwide Fun Palace project and most recently had an award winning show, ‘Beyond the Nose’ in the Brighton Fringe Festival.
Chris Cresswell M.A. AFHEA
Artistic Director and Founder
Chris has been teaching and performing in theatre, cabaret circus and film for over 40 years.
He first appeared on stage aged six at the Winter Gardens Eastbourne in the Sooty Show, where he was chosen to play the villain by Harry H Corbett himself. After studying Drama at Loughborough University, afterwardss obtaining an MA in Theatre and Circus Studies from Middlesex University, Chris has spent his career involved in music and drama.
Chris earned his Equity card playing on the alternative cabaret scene in London in the late 80s. Chris worked with satirical songsters Skint Video before joining circus theatre company Ra Ra Zoo, playing to audiences all around the world. He was instrumental in promoting circus cabaret in London before moving to Brighton with his own theatre and cabaret company, Voodoo Vaudeville, which had a successful ten-year residency at the Komedia.
Chris has performed at many high-profile festivals, and worked in the arena of physical comedy and clown, with residencies in Berlin and New York.
In conjunction with the Arts Council, Chris has researched and produced a variety of performances, as well as bringing international circus artists including members of Cirque du Soleil to the Spiegeltent at the Brighton Fringe Festival. He has also produced and performed in his award-winning show Lost In Transit. Chris runs a highly successful percussion company Clatteratti who have been performing internationally for over 15 years.
Chris has appeared in Blue Peter, The Generation Game, the Nicholas Parsons Show and Eastenders. He also played Willy Wonka’s candy-making rival Prodnose in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Chris is a household face in Norway, having starred in a long-running series of award-winning commercials.
Chris is passionate about developing theatre and cabaret skills in others by passing on his knowledge and experience. He was course leader at The Italia Conti Academy and has taught in numerous other establishments including National School of Circus Arts, Northbrook College Worthing, Brighton University and Brighton Dome. He was until recently an Associate Lecturer at Chichester University with his own speciality module entitled Mask and Clown.
In 2006, Chris’s journey into helping older people achieve their potential through drama, clowning and theatre skills began, when he received funding from Brighton and Hove Council to run the street theatre project Street Elders. This took older performers onto the streets of Brighton and Hastings.
In 2018, he started running drama classes under the Age Is A Stage (AIAS) banner as part of Brighton Theatre Royal’s Creative Learning Department, expanding to Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham in 2020. Chris also other classes throughout the year, including advanced Development Classes which delve more deeply into comic techniques, along with fun-filled ‘Laughter for Life’ workshops.
Together with AIAS members, Chris developed and performed the successful Brighton Fringe show ‘Beyond the Nose’ in 2023, with a new show ‘Insurrection Shuffle’ planned for 2024.
AIAS has received funding from The Paley Trust, Sussex Community and BHC, and has grown into a successful and supportive community for older people, instrumental in growing confidence, increasing visibility and fostering close friendships.
Contact Age is a Stage
We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch for more info or to join any of our classes and workshops