(UNION, NJ) -- Premiere Stages, the professional theatre in residence at Kean University, has announced its second playwriting residency for senior citizens, graciously funded by the Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement. Based in West Orange, the Wallerstein Foundation’s primary mission is to support qualifying not-for-profit organizations that assist elderly individuals to remain healthy, active and engaged and generally improve their quality of life. The seven-week residency, which began in early October at Canterbury Village in West Orange, will culminate in a public presentation on November 28. John J. Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages, leads the residency.
“The primary goal of the residency is to provide creative engagement and fulfillment to seniors while honoring and celebrating their legacies,” stated Mr. Wooten. “It is our sincere hope that their uniquely inspired plays will be passed down from generation to generation as part of each family's compelling history.”
Premiere Stages’ senior legacy residencies pair teaching artists and actors with seniors to create original works for the stage. Through structured theatre exercises, senior residencies provide artistic engagement and stimulation, while preserving family histories and memories through dramatic storytelling. The Canterbury Village residency will culminate in a showcase of short scenes, inspired by the participants’ own experiences and performed by professional actors, on Tuesday, November 28 at 1:30 p.m. Participants and their families will receive audio recordings of the memories dramatized as well as printed copies of the finished plays.
“This residency offers the senior citizen residents at Canterbury Village the wonderful opportunity to learn about the field of playwriting while modeling the collaborative process and encouraging self-expression,” said Jennifer Daclan, director of activities at Canterbury Village. “The project is a win-win situation for all involved.”
Canterbury Village is a not-for-profit assisted living residence that offers an individual approach to wellness and high-quality health services in a gracious and comfortable setting with all amenities located on one level. In 2016, Canterbury Village was selected as a Best of Assisted Living Award Winner on SeniorAdvisor.com, the largest ratings and reviews site for senior care and services in North America. Winners of the SeniorAdvisory.com Best of Awards represent the top tier of in-home care, assisted living and other senior living providers, based on the online reviews written by seniors and their families.
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Playwriting residencies are just one facet of Premiere’s larger educational initiative, known as the Premiere Play Factory. Play Factory programming also includes Camp Premiere, two-week summer theatre camps for middle and high school students, and the Play Factory Performance Series, an annual summer performance series featuring dynamic, professional theatre presentations designed specifically for young audiences.
Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces, and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advance notice. Please call 908-737-4077 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at www.premierestagesatkean.com.
Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant, and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit www.JerseyArts.com for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.
ABOUT PREMIERE STAGES
Created in 2004, Premiere Stages is the professional Equity theatre in residence at Kean University. Through its unique partnership with Kean, Premiere’s play development programs, educational initiatives, and professional development opportunities actively embrace the university's academic curriculum while expanding the scope, accessibility, and prestige of the professional programming on campus. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at www.premierestagesatkean.com.
PHOTO: Premiere Stages actors and staff rehearse a scene based on the life of Canterbury Village resident Aniela Wolny. Photo by Courtney Little.