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Posts Tagged Vitality Arts

Connecting through Storytelling

When you’re young, most people grow up hearing the old adage “listen to your elders!” After all, they’re the ones with the best advice and the life wisdom, so why not? Though somewhere along the line, technology was introduced into our lives and now we have so much information at our fingertips, listening to our elders has sadly become a rare activity.  Thanks to the brilliant guidance of teaching artist Dane Stauffer, a group of older adults were able to come together for eight weeks, discover and craft an important story of their own, and ultimately perform that story for a captive audience of friends, family, and wisdom-seekers at Park Square. This was Park Square’s first foray into adult learning, and took place with support from the Vitality Arts program at Aroha Philanthropies.

I was lucky enough to follow the group from their shy, tentative introductions with one another to the culminating event, which involved a proud, confident performance in front of a live audience. Seniors who had come from all walks of life in a previous lifetime – engineers, teachers, managers, computer technicians – now retired. I had no idea how much I could relate to their journey at 32. I, too, ask the questions, “what do I want to be when I grow up?” and “what now?” or “what’s next?” These were all asked during that first introduction and continued through some of their stories; where one chapter ended, another was clearly beginning with endless possibilities in sight.

There are three things I’ve learned in the last two months from listening to these great individuals. 1.) Every story is important. Stories that make you laugh are just as powerful and meaningful as those that can bring you to tears. 2.) Never be afraid to tell your story. Words are only as good as the audience that take them in and an untold story can never truly be appreciated. 3.) Listen and experience every story older adults are willing to share. You’ll be surprised at the connections you can make with each other through storytelling.

The next Adult Theatre Workshop, Make ’em Laugh: Comedy Styles and Performance, is Sept 7 – Nov 5, taught by the inimitable Shanan Custer (Calendar Girls, The Liar, Sometimes There’s Wine). Space is limited, so register now! Click here for more information and registration.

 

Lindsay Christensen Park Square’s Group Sales Associate and a fierce freelance stage manager and graduate student pursuing a degree in Arts and Cultural Management at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. 

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