June 3-7 saw both touring casts and several readers, led by our fearless leader Barbara Sloan, hit the National Senior Theatre Conference in New Orleans and boy did we make a splash! Two of our staff, Martha Haarbauer and Ellise Mayor, presented workshops on "Readers Theatre" and "Hitting the Road" to very interested conference attendees.
Our readers Nova Lacefield, Pauline Neilson, Leo Hall, and Ward Haarbauer presented sampling of our most popular readings as part of Martha's workshop. Participants actually gasped in amazement when they heard we performed over 130 times each year. The presentation particularly piqued the interest of Philip Thomas from The Gwanwyn Festival of the Arts in Wales who is interested in developing a partnership between our two groups!
The conference was kicked off by Stuart Kandell, founder of Stagebridge, the only senior adult theatre in the country to pre-date The Seasoned Performers. His keynote address was followed by a rousing senior adult dance performance ending in a classic "second-line" procession New Orleans-style, complete with beads. The following days were filled with workshops and performances by participants from all over the country.
Each TSP cast gave a performance of Rosa and the Rhinestone Star to conference attendees and each other which included some improv shenanigans with a flask ... but, what happens in New Orleans stays in New Orleans. Cast members were (M-W) Arlene Hall, Dorvy Jean, Margaret Hendrix, Beth McCord, and Sally Montgomery, and (T-TH) Sherry Atkinson, Marva Douglas, Lin Kendrick, Pauline Neilson, and Tommie Willis. Rick Rivenbark and Mike Neilson (our photographer) also attended. And, of course, Edwin Booth drove our new van down. Special thanks go to Ellise's high school buddy Donna Baugh Albright who provided shuttle service out to eat for our entire group. All in all, a fine time was had by all -- even with the false alarm fire evacuation! Our own Dorvy Jean made it down 10 flights of stairs on her own. We saw lots of interesting approaches to senior theatre and once again represented our company and our state with style. On to 2014!