Insights + interviews

In Conversation With Debbie Lee Lodge

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We interview 57-year-old Debbie Lee Lodge, as she shares her passion for acting and what she does to keep active.

As the chairman of the non-profit interest group Ageless Theatre, Debbie Lee Lodge (DLL) is an active ager seeking to open up a platform for like-minded seniors to pursue their passion in acting. We met up with her to find out more.

AA: Hi Debbie, firstly what made you start an interest group like Ageless Theatre, and how did it come about?

DLL: About 20 graduated from a seniors programme on theatre acting conducted by The Necessary Stage, and when the three-year programme ended, we felt that it was such a pity to just go our separate ways, so we got together to form Ageless Theatre in 2011.

AA: What sort of feelings did you experience when you first started Ageless Theatre?

DLL: I actually had mixed feelings. There was definitely excitement because it meant that we will have more opportunities to act on stage, but for me, there was also a bit of reservation because we were not sure whether we as seniors, can actually put up a production on our own since we are not professionally trained to do so. But after the first production, we became more confident and positive.

AA: Have you always been passionate about acting, and do you actually have any background in acting?

DLL: I’ve always been interested in arts since young and one of my childhood ambitions was to be an orchestra conductor. I have sung, danced, played the piano on stage and I’m currently learning how to play the drums, but it was only in my 40s that I went into acting and that was when I discovered my passion for it.

AA: When you are acting, do you face any difficulties such as memorising scripts and if there were, how do you cope with it?

DLL: I think it’s not too difficult for me because I’m used to memorising musical pieces when I have to play for performances. Even for dance steps, you need to memorise right? I feel that getting older should not be an excuse for becoming mentally lazy. So I just carry on doing what I have to do though it now takes a bit more time and effort.

AA: Besides being involved in Ageless Theatre, what other ways do you try to keep yourself mentally and physically active during your free time?

DLL: As I’ve mentioned earlier, I do take up classes and workshops to learn new skills. I go for drum classes and different types of dance classes. For dances, I’ve done Flamenco, Jazz and my favourite is Latin, I’ve even taken some exams for it. I’ve also tried Hip Hop, but it’s physically demanding so I don’t think it’s for me. As for now, I only have time for line dance as a form of exercise. I still attend courses for professional development. For example, I’m attending this ‘Train the Trainers’ course and I’ve just completed an assignment that’s about 5,000 words, so that really keeps me on my toes.

AA: Do you take part in other activities with your fellow Ageless Theatre members outside of acting?

DLL: Yes, we attend plays and drama-related talks together. Sometimes maybe catch a movie or go for a meal together. We’d sometimes organise some events for seniors.

AA: How do you think having an interest group like this has benefited you?

DLL: It has widened my social circle and allowed me to learn from other people. I think it helps when you have a community. This group is almost like family since we meet so often – twice a week. We support one another in various ways. Recently a group member’s mother passed away, so we all went over to comfort her. So this is the community that we have and I think it’s very important that as we grow older and when our children have their own lives, we find like-minded people to hang out with.

AA: What are some things you wish to achieve for an even more fulfilling life ahead of you?

DLL: I look forward to the day when I can play the drums in a band. I would also like to write more songs and maybe learn another language.

AA: What would you say to encourage other seniors who are afraid of joining an interest group or are afraid to pursue their passions, given their age?

DLL: I would say, give yourself the permission to pick up something or try something that you enjoy doing but never had the chance to. Start taking baby steps and see where you’ll get to. Because at the end of the day, you do not want to live a life of regret thinking that you should or could have done certain things but because you were afraid of ridicule, you didn’t. You’d have to live with yourself and your broken dreams. I know seniors tend to rationalise a lot like “I can’t, I got to look after people.” I mean I understand that because I have the same commitments and obligations too. You just have to tell yourself, I’m just going to take two hours a week to do something for myself. I mean you’ll never know what you can do until you’ve tried.




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