Wallerstein Foundation funds playwriting residency for Canterbury Village seniors

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Premiere Stages, the professional theater in residence at Kean University in Union, recently announced its second playwriting residency for senior citizens, 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 Nov. 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,” Wooten said in a press release. “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 theater 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, Nov. 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,” Jennifer Daclan, director of activities at Canterbury Village, said. “The project is a win-win situation for all involved.”

Photos Courtesy of Courtney Little