Abstract: “Although a number of existing reviews document the health and social benefits of arts participation by older people, there are none which focus specifically on theater and drama. This article presents the findings of a study conducted as part of the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council “Cultural Value Project.” The 2-year (2013-2015) “Cultural Value Project” sought to make a major contribution to how we think about the value of arts and culture to individuals and to society. It made 72 awards: 19 critical reviews of existing bodies of research, 46 research development awards to carry out new research, and 7 expert workshop awards to facilitate discussions among academics and practitioners. Together, these awards explored the components of cultural value and the ways in which cultural value is evidenced and evaluated.
Abstract: “This article reviews the scientific literature on the enhancement of healthy aging in older adults through active participation in the arts. Methodologies and conclusions are described for studies of dance, expressive writing, music (singing and instrumental), theatre arts, and visual arts including documentation of mental/physical improvements in memory, creativity, problem solving, everyday competence, reaction time, balance/gait, and quality of life. In addition to these gains in measures of successful aging, the article also provides (in a Supplementary Appendix) some selected examples of arts engagement for remedial purposes. Finally, it offers suggestions for expanding inquiry into this underinvestigated corner of aging research.”