'At Your Age?!' An Ethnodrama from the AgeACTED Project

26 Jan 2023

On 26th January 2023 the Granary Theatre hosted a first reading of the play At Your Age?!, followed by a lively Q&A discussion with audience members. 

At Your Age?! is a full-length, three-act play which explores ageing and ageism. The script was written by Dr. Elaine Desmond as part of an innovative project entitled AgeACTED (Ageism Challenged Through Ethnodrama) developed with Eleanor Bantry White, in collaboration with Cork Cultural Companions.  The play was devised from the verbatim words of discussions with six women in focus groups and drama workshops. The three main characters are vibrant, humorous, and non-conforming in their own inimitable ways. They must, however, negotiate feared future imaginaries around the changing physicality of ageing, concerns around death (both their own and that of loved ones) and a dreaded loss of agency associated with illness and ‘institutionalised’ care.  The play explores the resilience required to stay positive in the face of fears which are intensified through ageist framings surrounding the experience of ageing in contemporary society.

Five of the research participants formed the cast for a rehearsed reading of the play at the Granary Theatre.  The performance was directed by Fionn Woodhouse from UCC's Department of Theatre. The use of ethnodrama represents an exciting, new way of presenting research data in the social sciences and has established a stimulating collaboration between the School of Applied Social Studies, ISS21 and the Department of Theatre.  Feedback from participants and the audience was overwhelmingly positive and plans are ongoing to try to extend the reach of this inventive and touching new play to wider audiences. 

A draft copy of the script is available at the following link: At Your Age?! theatre script

AgeACTED is funded by the Irish Research Council. Find out more about the project on the ISS21 website, accessible here


For more on this story contact:

Dr Elaine Desmond ( and Dr Eleanor Bantry White (  

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30