Thursday, December 30, 2010

News Articles about ACT from Fall 2010

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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

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