Everyone has a passion, but often our innermost dreams remain a secret, stifled by fear, lack of time, or the idea that the opportunity has passed. Happily, when it comes to creative endeavors, the adage is true—you are never too old. We’ve already talked about writers who didn’t hit the big time until well into their golden years, activists who defied convention after retirement, and extreme seniors smashing athletic records. Today we’ll look at another venue where seniors are not only welcome but revered – the stage.

Even if you’ve never had a desire to perform soliloquies or tackle a show tune, acting can be a fantastic outlet for retirees. Most community theatres offer a variety of classes from stagecraft to improv, which can be a fun way to meet new people, gain skills, and stretch your creativity. The health benefits of discovering a new hobby are plentiful, and theatre offers seniors some unique bonuses.

Seniors are always in demand – One of the best things about joining a theatre group as a senior is that you’ll never be at a loss for roles. Many shows cast with diversity in mind, and that means finding actors who most closely fit the role in question. A senior who has real-life experience to funnel into a performance is going to be more believable than a 20-something in makeup.

You’ll be joining a family – Anyone who participates in community theatre will tell you that the dynamic is as close to a familial bond as you can get. Acting with others requires trust, intimacy, and vulnerability.

It’s a stress-buster – While that may sound terrifying to some, the good news is that tapping into those feelings is like opening a faucet, and the more you allow yourself to feel the easier it will be. In addition, opening yourself up – feeling real anger, grief, and happiness – without having ties to real-life consequences, is a tremendous emotional release.

Stretch your body – and your brain – Acting requires mobility, and while not every role means strapping on dancing shoes, being able to move around the stage and maintain the stamina to perform is required. And just like working your emotions, the more you work your body the more comfortable you’ll be.

It’s fun! – Even if you’re not ready or willing to perform for a huge audience, acting on any level is a great source of entertainment. Doing an improv class for an hour a week will allow you to reap most of the benefits of larger-scale acting. It’s fun, you’ll widen your social circle, and having a regular, weekly activity will give you something to look forward to.

Don’t let an opportunity you really want pass you by. Allow yourself the time and opportunity to work on that novel, pick up a paintbrush, or hit the stage. There is no statute of limitations on creativity, and any type of personal expression is a great outlet—so express yourself!