AgeQuake Theatres honored with Award of Excellence
Sept. 22, AgeQuake Theatres was honored as the recipient of the Illinois Theatre Association’s 2012 Award of Excellence in Community Theatre. The awards presentation took place as part of the Illinois Theatre Association’s 39th Annual Convention, “Ignite Your Creative Spirit,” and was held at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago.
Aime-Lynn Newlan, executive director of the ITA, states: “Each year the Illinois Theatre Association recognizes both individuals and organizations for their significant contributions of promoting quality theatre throughout the state of Illinois. AgeQuake Theatres was nominated by the Illinois theatre community, approved by ITA’s divisional representatives, and accepted by ITA’s Board of Directors. We are thrilled to provide this much-deserved recognition.”
In 2005, Dr. joan e. kole placed a notice for AgeQuake Theatre auditions for those 55 or older in a local paper as part of her doctoral internship. Several community residents and residents of Wesley Willows were cast and participated in age-appropriate plays. From that beginning, AgeQuake Theatres Company — men and women performing scripts — evolved. Now cast members write their own material, using an approach known as “life writing.” In its just-completed 2011-2012 season, “Aging IS Refreshing,” AgeQuake Theatre’s Company cast included three men and five women, including two women of color and one man in a wheelchair who was recovering from his second stroke. The youngest cast member has been 57; the oldest 88; others are in their 70s and 80s.
In the fall of 2007, at a Center for Learning in Retirement (CLR) class at Rock Valley Community College, AgeQuake Theatre’s Leading Ladies Ensemble had its start. Since 2007, AgeQuake Theatre’s Leading Ladies Ensemble has consisted of very special female aging performers who share their lives, perspectives, and life learning about life’s joys, regrets and hopes. Dr. kole has served as the artistic director of both theatre companies since 2005 and 2007.
In addition to performances with the Company and Leading Ladies, cast members now assist Dr. kole in two other programs. A copyrighted 3-4-session program she created, “Traditions,” is presented in rehabilitation or senior living facilities. Participants call on their memories of special occasions such as Thanksgiving or other holidays and describe their memories of those occasions. Their recollections are then “acted out” by cast members, and, when possible, participants also take on roles. Those same cast members assist in the presentation of TimeSlips sessions as well. Dr. kole is the only certified TimeSlips Facilitator in Illinois.
From the Oct. 3-9, 2012, issue
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