We spoke to the amazing, Anna Ledwich, theatre director of the recently preformed Roundelay by the equally fabulous writer Sonja Linden. Roundelay, performed by the Visible Theatre group, tackles love and sex in later life with an intergenerational cast of nine performers. Here Anna shares with us her views on ageing, the benefits of a pro all-age society and ageism.

The Age of No Retirement Q&A

Who are you and what’s your age?

40 years old. I am an Australian born, London based theatre director who has lived in this city for almost 20 years.

Do you think how old you are today, is relevant to how you think about yourself and why?

Yes, I have an acute awareness of being at the supposed designated mid-point of my life so I naturally calling into question all of the decisions I have made and how I want to live my life in the next forty years.

Do you think how old you are today, changes how people think about you and why?

It does in superficial ways. As a woman working in the entertainment world you are made painfully aware of your desirability shelf-life (although as a director I am thankfully free from having to really deal with that) but as a youngish woman I’m aware when dealing with older member of my profession that I still have many years to live before I m considered expert. And yet when I work with 20 year olds, I am painfully aware how old I am in comparison to them. The generational gap is a real thing to me now.

Is there a difference between people who know you and people who you have just met? Could you give us an example?

"Realising that each life stage has a significant importance and that we need to embrace it instead of deny it. I think if we could get our heads around that, there’d be less unhappiness and dissatisfaction."

Anna Ledwich.

Anna Ledwich. Image source Exeunt Magazine.

Perhaps when people get to know me, they are able to see past the superficial renderings of my age and actually hear what I am saying. But that must apply to everyone (although I would say, for women and younger women it is always a struggle to be taken seriously. Young men never have that problem).

What is the biggest stress in your life at the moment? Does this have anything to with how old you are?

Mid-life stress. As I mentioned earlier - choices, the window for certain life choices is shrinking and that can bring on a panic in the middle of the night

Is there one thing which makes you happiest right now? Do you think this has to do with your age?

Feeling more settled in my skin is definitely a benefit of my age right now. Still having energy, but also some significant experience makes for a greater sense of perspective and calm. Sunny days makes me happiest right now.

What do you think are the biggest challenges we share across all ages?

Maintaining empathy and compassion for others. Not disappearing into our own little bubbles and blocking out the world. On an existential level, the question of what it’s all for, finding meaning to your life and what your legal might be seem like universal challenges. Or maybe that is really a mid-life thing?

What can you learn from people who are older?

"I’m aware when dealing with older member of my profession that I still have many years to live before I'm considered expert. And yet when I work with 20 year olds, I am painfully aware how old I am in comparison to them. The generational gap is a real thing to me now."

Anna Ledwich.

Perspective. The bigger picture. Learning not to lose precious days to unnecessary worries. Knowing what to prioritise. Making time for friends and family. The guidance and wisdom of older people is a woefully under-utilised resource in our culture. We’re the poorer for not realising that.

What can you learn from people who are younger?

The entrepreneurial spirit. Lateral problem solving (I think its something to do with video games). Playfulness. Curiosity. Courage.

What do you think is the benefit of a society where our age does not define us?

Recognising the strengths of all generations and what they can contribute to each other. Realising that each life stage has a significant importance and that we need to embrace it instead of deny it. I think if we could get our heads around that, there’d be less unhappiness and dissatisfaction. That’s got to be better for our society overall.

You can find our more about Anne Ledwich here

You can find out more about Sonja Linden here

Interested in finding about more about The Visible Theatre company? Find out more here



If you liked the story above, we think you will also like these related stories from our In—Common library.

Guiness World Record holder Michelle Dubarry/Russell Alldread

We interviewed photographer Jess Desaulniers-Lea, leading up to our 'Age Does Not Matter' Festival (more)

Brighton Swimming Club

Brighton bound, documentary photographer Zackary Cain, who is in his late thirties shares his (more)

A film about Leon

Leon Ward gained an interest in bowling while hanging around his local alley as (more)

Read more of our In-Common stories here