Subject: Senior Theatre from memories, events, a play in two days, and more
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Date: 5/6/2014 3:16 PM

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Senior Theatre Online May 2014
Table of Contents
Bonnie's Column: Create shows based on memories
Senior Theatre gains national spotlight
Senior Theatre performances, workshops, panels this July
Our shows are being produced
Playreading Conference Call
Create theatre from memory materials
Idea of the month: A play in two days
Group of the Month: Extended Run Players
Quote of the month
View our catalog
We're on Facebook
Senior Theatre Resource Center

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Bonnie's Column: Create shows based on memories
Finishing Touches
Finishing Touches

This month we feature how to use memories to create theatre. This is a very rich area in Senior Theatre. But the question for directors is how to craft the memories into a theatrically viable performance. This comes up every time I talk with directors who are working on life story theatre.

Though there a many formats that work well, the most popular ones for shows based on memories are monologues, musical revues, or storytelling, usually done as readers theatre. Often they are accompanied by slide shows with photos that enhance the production.

When I directed the Oregon Senor Theatre, we created several shows based on life review but Finishing Touches
was our most successful. We had our creative process down to an art! The cast and I began by determining the themes we wanted to feature in the show. Then I wrote questions as prompts for the actors. Each week they had several stories to write. After a couple of months, we turned the raw material over to a playwright who crafted the script and worked with me on edits.

Once the play was written we cast the show, being sure that the actors were not speaking their own stories. We wanted to create a theatrical piece that was not restricted by an actor’s reality saying, “but I wore the pink dress!”

During the gathering phase, we also collected family photos which were blown up to a large size, 2’ x 3’ and colorized. The photos illustrated the themes in the show. As each theme was introduced, a photo was added to the stage-sized backdrop.

Get creative, make the memories come alive as you build a show that gives insight into the elders’ lives. Whichever technique you use to create and perform the show, memories are rich fodder for performances that educate, touch, and move audiences. Enjoy!

Yours in theatre,

ArtAge Senior Theatre Resource Center, President

The Senior Theatre USA Festival comes in June. Click here to join us!

Senior Theatre gains national spotlight
Senior Theatre featured in leading magazine
Senior Theatre featured in leading magazine

We're in the press! For the first time Senior Theatre is featured in American Theatre, which you may know is the leading magazine for theatre professionals. The April 2014 article highlights the growing field of 700+ Senior Theatre companies and the prominent role of ArtAge Publications, described in the article as "a mecca for all things related to theatre for seniors!"

Click here to read the full article in American Theatre

Senior Theatre performances, workshops, panels this July
Join us July 24-27 in Scottsdale, AZ
Join us July 24-27 in Scottsdale, AZ

The Senior Theatre program at the 2014 ATHE Conference is a great opportunity to connect with other Senior Theatre enthusiasts as you learn more about the field. Join us in Scottsdale, AZ at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess from July 24-27, 2014 for ground-breaking workshops, performances, and more!

Click here to see the exciting program

Our shows are being produced
"Ain't Retirement Grand!" recently performed as readers theatre!
"Ain't Retirement Grand!" recently performed as readers theatre!

Here are just a few recent productions from around the U.S. and Canada:

Ain't Retirment Grand! was a hit in Hemet, CA.

Doctor, Doctor was enjoyed immensely by audiences in Michigan, Florida and Colorado.

At Halftime, High Heels, Tech Support and The Committee were performed in Florida.

Does This Show Make My Butt Look Fat? was produced in Indianapolis, IN.

Another One of Louella's Killer Ideas was a success in Alberta, Canada.

Starting Over and Grown Up Games entertained audiences in Florida.

Hi Tech had them laughing in Arizona and Oregon.

All I Want is the Recipe and The Pie Ladies in Deep Water were paired for a great show in Alabama.

Click here to read about Who's Who in Senior Theatre

Playreading Conference Call

Everyone is loving the Playreading Conference Calls! Participants say, "it's a great way to discover new shows" and a "real treat to speak with popular playwrights!"

Join other Senior Theatre enthusiasts for a live reading of two very fun shows Matzo Balls and It's Time for Bingo. The playwrights may be present to hear your comments and answer your questions. You get a FREE script and stimulating discussion, for only $10. It's easy to take part--you dial the special phone number, enter the access code, and join the conversation. So sign up now. It is a lot of fun!

  • Wednesday, May 28, 2014
  • 1:00PM PST (2:00PM MST, 3:00PM CST, 4:00PM EST.)

As a special bonus, register before May 12 and save $5!

We look forward to reading with you!

Click here to sign-up for the Playreading Conference Call

Create theatre from memory materials
Create an oral history revue with these easy-to-use templates
Create an oral history revue with these easy-to-use templates

These materials are just what you need to develop your own theatre from memories:

Age on Stage®: Lifewriting Your Monologue
Joy Reilly takes you through the writing process as you create monologues that reflect your own story. The monologues, from funny to deeply personal, will inspire you!

The Theatre of Memories: Creating Oral History Revues
This practical guide will lead you and your group step-by-step through the process of developing and creating an oral history theatre revue.

Reminiscence Theatre: Making Theatre from Memories
A comprehensive guide to the nature, practice and therapeutic effects of reminiscence theatre. Drawing on examples from a range of real-life case studies, Pam Schweitzer provides practical advice on how to draw out oral histories, create a script, and develop the material into a dramatic production based on life experiences.

Scripting Our Lives: Oral History Theatre–A collection of practical methods and script shell foundations
Create an oral history theatre revue with these easy-to-use templates!

A Laugh and a Half
Have fun with these 45 short skits in large print, all designed to prompt memories, discussion and fun. NEW! Now available as 45 separate, convenient, royalty-free e-scripts for one low price, only $19.95!

Skits for Seniors: Reminiscing Plays
Each skit requires no props or costumes. Printed in large-print type, with alternating bold print for ease of reading. Contains 14 witty short plays with dialogue that will evoke memories of the past.

Click here to see more theatre from memory materials

Idea of the month: A play in two days

Terry Tomczak of Arizona brings us the exciting idea of producing a play in two days! Her group has had success with this for over two years now. Here's how they do it:

On Day 1
1. They conduct auditions
2. C
ast the roles
Go into rehearsal

On Day 2
1. They do a read-through rehearsal
2. P
ull costumes
Break for lunch
3. Prepare t
he stage with simple props and stage pieces
4. Perform the play that evening

Terry says they do this by using less movement and by performing the plays as readers theatre. The performances are usually short, but by using these techniques they've on occasion put together a two-hour show! To round off the experience, audience members are asked to pay a small donation.

Give this idea a try with your group. We have it on good authority that it's great fun!

Group of the Month: Extended Run Players
The Extended Run Players in performance
The Extended Run Players in performance

In 1996 at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, a group of senior citizens joined together to form the Extended Run Players. Under the direction of Sr. Germaine Corbin, the players perform readers theatre both on and off campus. In 2001, a musical division, the Cadenza Singers, began to offer programs designed around various themes like Vaudeville and Broadway show tunes.

Last spring the Genevieve and Ward Orsinger Foundation awarded the group a $5,000 grant to bring their production of Memories on Review: Tales from WW II to local high schools. The presentation is based on wartime experiences that the Extended Run Players gathered through live interviews with local veterans of WW II.

The readers theatre production includes slides of the servicemen in uniform and other evocative images from the era. The Cadenza Singers sing the service songs and other popular 1940’s music. The goal is to stir the hearts and minds of the audience to understand, appreciate, and praise what these veterans have offered and bequeathed to us.

Click here to read more about the Extended Run Players

Quote of the month

When our memories outweigh our dreams, we have grown old. — Bill Clinton

View our catalog
The Senior Theatre Resource Center catalog
The Senior Theatre Resource Center catalog

Our catalog is filled with all things Senior Theatre--from short plays to full length shows and three-act musicals. Anything in Senior Theatre, we have it!

Click here to see our catalog

We're on Facebook
Check out our Facebook page.
Check out our Facebook page.

Facebook: Have a more extended conversation by using our facebook page. Become a 'fan,' then send in information to keep the connection and the movement growing!

Click here to 'Like' us on Facebook!

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