Acting Up! is Hamilton-Gibson’s readers theatre program for adults 55 and older. Since its beginning in 2002, an ever-changing group of fun-loving senior citizens has gathered at the H-G Office (29 Water Street) in Wellsboro from 2 until 3 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month from September through May to read stories, plays, and poems to each other. There are no fees and no long-term commitments.
“We look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones,” according to Larry and Barbara Biddison, who have coordinated the program since 2005. Even though regular attendance is not required, the Biddisons are pleased with the strong repeat turnout. The one-hour sessions bring together congenial and mutually supportive people, and the relaxed, informal atmosphere provides a low key, low pressure opportunity to experiment with “reading with expression.”
According to Barbara, “It’s a safe place for persons who have a fear of speaking in public, as well as for those who have always wanted to act but weren’t ready for the stage.”
However, when an invitation to perform outside the familiar living room, any volunteers who feel up to the challenge of reading aloud in public automatically become participants in the Acting Out program, as it has come to be called. To date, the Acting Out program has offered entertainment for schools, senior centers, libraries, and churches, as well as for the Wednesday Morning Musicales, the Gmeiner Brown Bag Series, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital, Representative Matt Baker’s Senior Expo, and the Hamilton-Gibson Summer Fringe Festival.
But at the H-G Office, each Acting Up! session is self-contained, and those present are not obligated to attend other sessions. The main focus of each session is a group reading of a story or play—or a series of poems. Participants often bring short poems, humorous stories, or thoughtful articles to share aloud with the group. During past years the group has enjoyed bringing to life scripts from vintage radio and interesting poems, stories, essays, and plays. They have also read original short plays written by Acting Up participants. There’s always plenty of fun stuff to read aloud among friends between September and May!
For more details you may contact Larry or Barbara Biddison at 570-724-4586.