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To Be or Not To Be...in a Senior Theater Group
Written By : SeniorsList 
Rating: 2.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Are you ready to let your talent shine?  If you are, you’re in luck. Around the country, senior theater groups are growing in numbers.  In 1999 there were only 79 senior theater companies, and today the number tops 530 companies across the nation.  Here you’ll find the basics about what these groups do, and how to find one in your area.

It’s okay if you don’t have any experience and don’t know where to go.  Groups range from amateur to professional and are often sponsored by local retirement communities, educational institutions, senior centers, and community theater groups.

Each senior theater group has a different aim and style to their work. Many companies do what’s called “reader’s theater”.  This is a script-in-hand performance that alleviates the fear of memorization.  You can also find playwriting, play-viewing, TV commercial acting, and play-reading groups.

Do you have something to teach to the world?  Find a group formed to educate the public about senior issues like fall prevention and concerns related to diseases and illness.  Such “edudramas” find funding more easily than other theatrical events.

Not all shows are full-length.  It’s popular to do shorter 10 to 30 minute plays, allowing for an easier rehearsal schedule.  These plays are also less expensive to put on.

A great resource for learning more about senior theater is Arthur Strimling’s book, Roots & Branches: Creating Intergenerational Theatre.  It’s a great tool for learning to blend the young and old alike in the theater.

You too can start your own senior theater group, or find one to join.  If you’re looking for an existing senior group, try going online or talking to your local senior center.  If you want to start your own, get some fun and courageous friends together and have a play-reading party.  Invite guests and read a short or full-length play.  If the group seems like a good fit, start rehearsing something and shop around for venues to perform.

If performing just isn’t your cup of tea, but you have a love for the theater, call your local playhouse or Theater Company and ask for a senior discount package.  Almost all regional theaters have special prices and packages for seniors, including passes to see matinees.  If you have trouble with seeing or hearing, notify the people in the box office.  They can usually get you to a closer seat and almost all theaters provide complimentary headsets to seniors with hearing difficulties.

Most regional theaters in the nation have special accommodations for wheelchairs and other disabilities.  Phone ahead to tell the box office and they should be able to assist you.

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