Cover image for Senior adult theatre : the American Theatre Association handbook
Senior adult theatre : the American Theatre Association handbook
Cornish, Roger, 1934-
Publication Information:
University Park : Pennsylvania State University Press, [1981]

Physical Description:
100 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
General Note:
"Prepared under the auspices of the ATA Senior Adult Theatre Program Committee."
Added Corporate Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN3156 .S4 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Presenting concrete suggestions for starting and developing theater experiences of all types for senior adults, this handbook is designed to help three groups: professional theater people who may become involved in projects for older persons; professional workers with the elderly who may want to recruit or work with theater people; and senior adults who may want to encourage and enjoy a theater project. The handbook could be called a descriptive catalog of ways to enrich life in retirement centers, in nursing homes, and in congregate meal or recreation centers, by means of senior adult theater (SAT) activities.

Following an introductory chapter, which challenges all Americans to recognize the need for theater experiences among fellow citizens of senior status, five longtime SAT workers distill the essence of their experience. Chapters 2-4 deal mainly with starting an SAT group and with the chief artistic lines that such a group may pursue: standard production, readers' theater, and creative drama or improvisation. Attention is given to everyday matters such as maximizing participation (through multiple casting as well as backstage or front-of-the-house activities), minimizing strain on players and audiences (through simple but effective staging), and cooperating with the younger players' groups. Chapter 5-7 consider such practical matters as serving senior audiences (through players from "inside" or "outside"), selecting and obtaining scripts, and budgeting and funding. The five contributors do not invariably agree on approach or emphasis, though always on humane standards.

Main points are illustrated by references to actual SAT projects, often accompanied by photographs. Illustrations frequently are drawn from Older Americans on Stage, a nationwide survey of SAT activities conducted by the American Theatre Association with funding from the Kennedy Center's Alliance for Art Education. The ATA has had a standing committee on SAT since 1973 and has supported preparation of this handbook.