Playback theatre in adult day centers: A creative group intervention for community-dwelling older adults

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The literature indicates that theatre and drama-based interventions have the potential to improve older adults’ well-being and health. The goal of the current study was to characterize the process of a creative group intervention in adult day centers (ADCs), which integrates playback theatre and life-review principles. Our objective was to provide an evidence-informed framework for drama therapy interventions, which would allow older adults to bring up and explore their life-stories in a dramatic creative process in their own community. A total of 27 participants ranging in age from 63 to 91, took part in one of three playback theatre groups. The playback theatre group intervention comprised 12 weekly sessions. All sessions were videotaped to capture the lived experience of the creative process and were analyzed in post-intervention interviews. In addition, focus group meetings were conducted with 13 ADC staff members to decipher further the effects of the participation as perceived by people outside the groups. Three types of potential transformation were identified in the qualitative analysis: the evolution of life stories, evolution of playfulness, and expansion of social engagement. The results indicate the potential of the integrative framework to serve as a creative intervention in ADC communities, as well as its potential to bring about a personal transformation and expand it to enable a person’s social engagement in the community. The findings imply the potential benefits of using playback theatre groups to supplement the routine care provided in ADCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0239812
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2020 Keisari et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • Adult Day Care Centers
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Art Therapy/methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Play Therapy/methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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