Thursday, December 30, 2010

News Articles about ACT from Fall 2010

  - Guide - -

Seniors on Stage: ‘Young at Heart’

Posted By David Boraks On December 7, 2010 @ 10:14 pm In seniors,theater

Davidson Community Players’ Seniors on Stage acting class presents its first workshop production “Young at Heart: A Laugh-In Experience” this Wednesday, Dec. 8, and Saturday, Dec. 11, at Armour Street Theater in Davidson. Wednesday’s show is at 2 p.m., Saturday’s at 11 a.m.

The show consists of a series of skits developed by people ages 55 and above in a senior acting class taught by Wrenn Goodrum. The performances are free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted at the door.

Davidson Community Players’ Seniors on Stage was launched in September as a pilot program for adults aged 55 and over. Through improvisation, character creations, storytelling and vaudeville, the ensemble has created a variety show filled with monologues, short scenes, song and dance set in a ‘Laugh-in’ format. A sampling of scenes from the production include a surfer dude teaching Granny how to surf, a 16-year-old school girl at her prom, and a cook-off between the “Almost Naked Chef” and “Granny.”

“Senior Theatre is relatively new to this area” Ms. Goodrum said in a press release. “The benefits of participation are more than mere entertainment.”

Loretta Banner, who plays Granny, agreed. “Becoming another character – even for a few minutes – enlightens the soul. Learning to improvise keeps your mind and limbs limber and active. Meeting new friends and laughing keeps the heart light. … This is truly a rewarding experience.”

Said artistic director Melissa Ohlman-Roberge: “Little by little, we’ve been expanding and trying different things in our effort to find what’s going to resonate with our community. The need for increased programming for Seniors has been on our radar for some time, and was on our initial list when we opened Armour Street Theatre in 2008. We needed to find the right time, format and person to launch the program. We have that now in Wrenn, and are so pleased to embark on this new phase of our journey with Seniors on Stage!”

Future senior acting classes are also planned. For more information about classes, or for a reservation to one of this week’s shows, call Davidson Community Players’ box office, 704-892-7953.

Article printed from Guide:

 Matthews Minthill Weekly Newspaper by Kara Lopp
Seniors, it’s your time to shine
Activate Community Through Theatre to lead workshop for senior citizens.

There’s a new activity for area seniors, and it has nothing to do with the letters B-I-N-G-O.
Beginning Oct. 6, Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts will play hostess to a local theater company eager to teach senior citizens the craft of theater. And it’ll be good for them, too. Research shows seniors who regularly participate in theater lower their risk of
disease and increase their overall health. Wrenn Goodrum is the leading lady in the local senior theater movement. Founder of Activate Community Through Theatre, or ACT, Goodrum will teach a 10-week theater workshop series for seniors on Wednesday
afternoons from Oct. 6 to Dec. 8 at the Playhouse, 100 E. McDowell St. She’s currently teaching a similar program in Davidson and envisions more area workshops and even a seniors-only theater company. Goodrum, who has more than 30 years of theater experience, also teaches classes for children. In fact, the Cary, N.C. native had her own children’s theater company for 21 years in Rhode Island. A graduate of the North Carolina
School of the Arts, Goodrum made a living first as an actress and then as a theater director and educator in New York City for 10 years. She’s even been an extra on TV shows such as “All My Children,” where she played a nurse.  So why seniors? Goodrum has a simple,
honest answer: her mother, Peggy. Goodrum, 59, moved back to the area last year after her mother had a stroke. Visiting her mom in an assisted living facility, Goodrum said she noticed something lacking for the senior residents. “There was no real spiritual, physical
or emotional things going on,” she said. “They had activities, but they didn’t have activities that could really stimulate.”  So she volunteered to host interactive  workshops, bringing the theater to elderly residents and making them the stars. The program was well received.
“When I started working with them, it was like they were coming out of a cocoon. It was really moving to see the power of theater,” she said, choking back tears. “The theater has that door or it has that window and says ‘come in, come in.’ Some people run through it, and others it takes a while, but when they get throughit, there’s this breakthrough.”  And health benefits to boot, research shows.  A 2001 study conducted by the Center for Aging, Health, and Humanities at George Washington University showed seniors involved in the arts have fewer falls, fewer doctor visits and take fewer pills than their peers. The study, described as the first of its kind, followed seniors ranging from 65 to 100 years old in
three cities: Washington, D.C., Brooklyn and San Francisco. The study revealed that regular theater participation helped seniors maintain their independence and appeared to be reducing risk factors that drive the need for long-term care, study authors wrote.  “I am not sure that people realize that senior theater and acting classes for Seniors, it’s your time to shine Activate Community Through Theatre to lead workshop in Matthews for senior citizens seniors exist,” Goodrum said. “There are over 700 senior-theater companies in
America, and growing by the minute, but not in this area. I want to change the stereotypical
way that society views senior citizens. I want to give a voice and an outlet for seniors to express themselves, share their life stories and wisdom. We’ve got to celebrate the seniors.”
Those attending Goodrum’s workshop don’t need any theater experience, just a willingness to learn – and laugh.  “We’ll sing. We’ll do improv. We’ll share stories,” she said. “It’s a safe place to be who you are.”   Want to know more?  Wrenn Goodrum will lead a 10-week
theater workshop just for seniors at the Matthews Playhouse, 100 E. McDowell St., from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesdays from Oct. 6 to Dec. 8. Cost is $125. For more information or to register, call 704- 707-6757. The workshop will end with a final presentation for family and friends.
by Kara Lopp

ACT Hired by Matthews Playhouse to Teach and Direct 'Life Stories' Performance Workshop

June Bayless, Artistic Director of Matthews Playhouse has hired ACT to teach/direct a performance workshop for seniors starting the first Wednesday in February 2011.  Matthews Playhouse received a $2,000 matching grant from the Arts & Science Council for a senior theatre performance workshop where the students aged 55+ will compose monologues of their life's stories.  Students will work on acting, storytelling and writing techniques for twelve sessions.  A public performance of this multi-media 'Life Stories' production is scheduled for April followed by performances at three senior communities in Matthews and Mint Hill.   The fee for the workshop is only $125 and the class size is limited so early enrollment is advised.  The workshop will take place on Wednesdays from 10:30 - 12 at the Matthews Playhouse - 100 McDowell Street in Matthews.  For more information please call Wrenn at ACT.

Seniors on Stage at Davidson Community Players

Young at Heart Song

Loretta and Paw doing the Dirty Dance

Sally 'Surfer Dude' teaches Granny how to surf

First meeting of a '' match or was it?

Inspired by Artie Johnson and Ruth Buzzi 'In the Park'


Catholic School Girl (Peggy) as a grocery store clerk whose customer, Dumb Blond (Judy) wants to return M'M's because she couldn't peel their shells off.

Barbara played an advice columnist who gave sexual advice to seniors....Hilarious!
 ACT was hired by Davidson Community Players to teach a 10 week performance class for seniors aged 55+....We had a most amazing ten weeks working on improvisations, character creations, comedy, laughter yoga, songs and hilarious vaudeville scenes.   Several had never performed in public ....but you never would have known it.   I so loved working with my students who were fearless and ever so creative...As the video in my mind replays I think of Loretta and her wild sense of humor and artistic contributions to our costumes and props..she (along with her assistants, Sally and Fran) made all the mouseketeers ears, 'Young at Heart' signs and a few other props used in the many scenes of the performance.....her 'Dirty Dancing' with Paw brought the house down.  Judy as the dumb blond secretary with perfect comic timing and Fran so courageous to play the eccentric old lady on the park bench with a snarly Rodney....tooo funny!  And of course there was Barbara P who took on the role of Stage Manager as well as getting many guffaws in her walk-on as the waitress...Her comic take to the audience was priceless.  Marion created a Bostonian woman whose husband invented the chicken and was immensely entertaining in her '' date with Rodney's 'Tex'.   And there was Sally as a 'surfer dude' teaching Loretta's Granny how to surf and Peggy's 16 year old Catholic School girl telling the audience about going to the prom.  Barbara H's monologue 'Lightning Bugs' always brought a tear or two and the power of the silence which followed was extraordinary.....BRAVO to the Seniors on Stage in their 'Young at Heart' Laugh-In Experience.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Shakespeare UnPlugged

My most favorite Shakespeare comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream,  had three amazing performances - sadly turning away 20 - 30 people for every performance....the ensemble of actors were amazing as they did all the choreography, music design and even the costumes for this ensemble production, conceptually a group of teens making a YouTube video of A Midsummer Night's Dream...many thanks to Ed McCutcheon who was our videographer and YouTube video designer....what FUN we had...especially the FOOD FIGHT!!!   Wahoo!

Davidson Seniors on Stage Present 'Young at Heart A Laugh In Experience

My senior performance class in Davidson is in their final weeks of rehearsal prior to performance. We have created a FABULOUS show that will have our audiences laughing from the moment they enter the theatre till they leave and most likely days later as they remember the hilarity of the show. Our seventy five minute show is filled with comedic characters created by each actor....such as a Dell Support Employee, a wealthy Texan, a Surfer Dude, a 16 year old Catholic school girl, an 'Almost Naked Chef', an Advice Columnist who helps women look for the right man, a dirty old man and woman, a Granny who dirty dances with her husband and Mrs. Buff Orpington who is married to the man who invented the chicken.....also included in the show are Burlesque skits, songs and a few surprises.....I am so proud of our actors and can't wait to ACTivate the Community with this Senior Theatre Performance!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Edison ACTing Classes
The start date for the classes has been moved to September 28th and 29th providing a minium number of students is met. We are offering a $100 coupon for our fall/winter classes to the Cox Mill Elementary School's 'Bingo Fundraiser' on Friday, Oct. 24th...Come one come all!!!

The Levine Senior Senior

Sadly we had to cancel the production of 'The Phantom of the Soap Opera' as there were not enough people registered to cast the show. So, while I was devastated because I was so excited about working with the new friends I had made at my ACT & SEE presentation in August, I decided to offer classes at the Matthews Playhouse.

ACTing UP with Seniors

ACT will offer Acting classes for seniors at the Matthews Playhouse, Matthews Community Center * 100 McDowell Street in Matthews. ACTing Up will run for ten sessions starting Wednesday, October 6 and run through December 7. An additional class on December 6 will be held. All classes meet at 1pm and run until 2:30pm. No memorization or experience is necessary!!! Did you know that research proves that Seniors participating in theatre have less doctors visits, less medication usage and increased mobility of body? Truly! Truly! Truly!

Monday, August 30, 2010

ACTing Classes for Youth Communities at Edison

We are thrilled to offer acting classes for children in grades one through five starting September 21st. Our marketing plan has the phone ringing off the hook from families interested in getting their children into the ACT! I tell them that not only will their child learn acting skills but in the process their self-confidence will grow stronger...NOW, sometimes it takes more than one class but I remember...years ago, I had a young six year old who was playing the role of the lion in a 'Bag and Box Players' version of 'The Wizard of Oz' and when it was time for her to roar, she just couldn't..too shy and frightened...but not to worry, I said, and another child took her role...After two years of classes and involvement in my theatre company, I sent her to audition for Trinity Rep, a professional theatre company in Providence, RI. And she got the lead!!! Now she lives in NYC and uses her acting skills in business! I have so many success stories of children/youth whose lives were changed with their involvement in acting and the theatre. And then I remember that my life and my self-confidence took a giant step when I became involved in theatre and thus my mission in life became to help others find their way through theatre.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

ACT Plans for the Levine Senior Center in Matthews, NC


At the Levine Senior Center
August 19th at 1:30pm

ACT invites the community at the Levine Senior Center to come SEE what exciting ACTivities ACT has planned for YOU! We will tell you about the upcoming productions of ‘The Phantom of the Soap Opera’ and ‘Life Stories’, and how you may get involved both onstage and offstage. For those who want to ACT, we will engage you with laughter yoga, improvisation and reading a couple of scenes from the play. You don’t have to participate but please come and SEE what it’s all about. You’ll be glad you did!!!

September 11th at 3pm

ACT will be offering a 'Celebrate Grandparents Day' ninety minute workshop for seniors and their grandchildren at the Levine Senior Center in Matthews, NC on September 11th at 3pm. This workshop will include theatre games, song and dance, improvisation and short skits ending with a presentation for family and friends.

An Audience Participation Murder Mystery Lunch-Time Theatre Event
by Robert and Christine Johnston

Starting September 19th, ACT will begin rehearsals of 'The Phantom of the Soap Opera' with members of the Levine Senior Center. This audience participation 'lunch time' play will center around the 'Porcelain Bowl' awards for soap opera actors and the murder that occurs during the awards show. The audience is quite involved in this hilarious 'whodunit' audience participation event. Rehearsals are Thursdays, 1 - 2:30 starting September 16th at the Levine Senior Center. The performance is slated for December 4th...Make your reservations now! Limited enrollment!


All of us have a story to tell! This class will give its actors the opportunity to develop a comic or dramatic story from their lives using historical events, family, love, growing up and growing older memories. We will use storytelling, improvisation, scriptwriting and acting to produce a multi-media production for the annual Levine Senior Center Anniversary Celebration. Limited enrollment!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

ACT Postcard for Senior Communities Available

The ACT postcard for senior communities including retirement homes, YMCA's, senior centers and assisted living communities was sent out 6 July...Yesterday! Already I am getting inquiries about our programs. Can't wait to get seniors activated through our theatre! Seems there are not a lot of 'Senior Theatres' in Charlotte and surrounding areas... So everyone.. get ready!..because ACT is on its way! In the past year I went to a 'Senior Theatre' conference in New York City where I was inspired by 'Senior Theatre' performances and fabulous workshops...and recently I went to Asheville for the National Senior Theatre USA Festival. Again, I saw hundreds of seniors singing, dancing and acting. My favorite was a performance by a company of seniors from the 'Silver Stage Players' from Knoxville. They performed, 'Elderspeak', a poignant play, written by one of the company members, about the way people talk and relate to seniors....Very interesting...This is a play I hope to produce and tour with a group of seniors in the very near future!!!

I have some exciting programs for activating youth communities through theatre in the making but will be hush hush until confirmed and ready for the Big Announcement!