Theater is a complex, multi-component performing art. On stage, actors not only need to memorize the script, but also be able to portray emotion and feeling through movement and move in whichever manner is deemed appropriate by the script. Acting therefore requires as much movement as it does vocalization. As training exercises in theater naturally involve boosting physical, cognitive and affective function, and social relationships, theater experience can be used to promote health and wellness. Over the last two decades, there has been an increase in the use of theater to promote health and wellness among older adults. Thus, the overall aim of this project is to evaluate the therapeutic benefits of a 10-week theory-based theater program on physical functioning and emotional stress among older adults. Hypothesis #1: Older adults residing in subsidized housing who participate in a theory-based theater program will demonstrate better physical functioning, and reduction in emotional stress than wait-list controls at the conclusion of a 10-week theater program. Hypothesis #2: The positive impact of the theater program on the residents' improved physical functioning and stress level will be maintained at 3-month follow-up.



Eligible Ages
Over 62 Years
Eligible Genders
Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion Criteria

  1. Age 62 or older living in HUD-subsidized housing 2. Residence in a subsidized apartment for at least one year. 3. Able to carry on a daily conversation with or without hearing aids 4. Intact cognition as indicated by a score of greater than 5 on the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (SPMSQ) 5. Ambulatory with or without aids, as the outcome measures require participants to perform static and dynamic balance, and walking activities.

Exclusion Criteria

  1. Visual impairment that cannot be corrected with assistive devices 2. Diagnosis of progressive neurodegenerative disorders (self-report)

Study Design

Study Type
Intervention Model
Parallel Assignment
Primary Purpose
Single (Outcomes Assessor)

Arm Groups

ArmDescriptionAssigned Intervention
Theater program
The design of the 10-week theater program is based on the principles of acting as written and practiced by Constantin Stanislavski in his revolutionary text on acting: "An Actor Prepares" [Stanislavsky C, 1989]. The exercises target concentration, voice, physical skills, emotion memory, observation, and dramatic analysis and include 3 components: 1. Preparation for the Actor (which involves relaxation , collaboration, movement, posture, and vocality; 2. Learning the Components of the Repeatable Acting Process (which involves physicality, attention, and concentration); and 3. Synthesizing Components into Characterization (which involves creativity and emotional expression). Each of these components will be addressed during each of 20 sessions through the use of group warm ups, group ensemble exercises, and group recitations. Participants will perform physical, mental, and emotional exercises similar to those given to beginning acting students in traditional theater schools.
  • Behavioral: theater program
    10-week theory-based theater program designed to improve their physical functioning and reduce emotional stress.
No Intervention
Wait-list control
During the study period, the control group will not receive any type of intervention. However, they will be offered the same theater program experience after the primary data collection period ends.

Recruiting Locations

University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, Alabama 35294
Hon K Yuen, PhD

More Details

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Study Contact

Hon K Yuen, PhD


Study information shown on this site is derived from ClinicalTrials.gov (a public registry operated by the National Institutes of Health). The listing of studies provided is not certain to be all studies for which you might be eligible. Furthermore, study eligibility requirements can be difficult to understand and may change over time, so it is wise to speak with your medical care provider and individual research study teams when making decisions related to participation.