Playwriting Residency at Ingleside Retirement Homes a Success and Norman Lockman Special 2012 Grant Awarded

Wilmington, DE –– INGLESIDE PLAYWRITING RESIDENCY: Delaware Theatre Company’s (DTC) education department, led by Director of Education and Community Engagement, Charles Conway, has been conducting a pilot playwriting residency at Ingleside Retirement Apartments in Wilmington. In an effort to promote productive aging, and based on the successful structure of DTC’s own Delaware Young Playwrights Festival, Conway met with the residents once a week for a ten-week period to write, edit and perform original monologues. This program, conceived by Conway, was funded by a generous gift from the 1916 Foundation and assisted in coordination by Director of the Downs Cultural Center and Activities at Ingleside Retirement Apartments, Debbie Coates, and Ingleside’s Resident Service Coordinator, Debbie Dalecki.

On Tuesday, May 8, at 7:00 pm in the Downs Cultural Arts Center, 14 residents shared their original memoir monologues with an audience of family, residents, community members and Ingleside staff, in a presentation entitled “Our Lives and Times: Stories We Want to Tell.” Due to the overwhelming success of the program, Ingleside has graciously renewed the program for September of this coming year. With performance titles ranging from “My First Boyfriend” to “Round the World with the President,” each performer’s monologue represented a great deal of artistic integrity, as well as a great deal of heart. The opportunity to hone both the craft of playwriting and performance “educated, inspired, and strengthened our residents,” according to Coates. In addition, the connections forged among fellow Ingleside members, staff, and community was invaluable. As stated by Coates:

“The program resulted in a greater confidence and an increased self-esteem among our residents, not only for those that participated in the playwriting workshop, but also for those that attended the performance. It proved that the marriage of Delaware Theatre Company [Education Department], and Ingleside residents is an uplifting combination in so many ways. It is such an encouragement to everyone to see our residents continue to engage in activities such as playwriting and performing on stage, and in many cases venturing out of their comfort zones. Throughout this process Conway proved to them, and also the audience, that life’s opportunities should be embraced and that taking a chance at something new can be an exhilarating experience.”

Visit here for more information on the array of enrichment programs offered at Ingleside, all of which are free and open to all ages. Downs Cultural Enrichment Center at Ingleside is located at 1005 North Franklin Street, Wilmington, DE 19806.

NORMAN LOCKMAN SPECIAL 2012 GRANT AWARDED: Continuing the tradition of excellence for which DTC is known- in both performance and educational programming- DTC was honored at the First State Gridiron Board dinner on May 5th. Recently appointed Executive Director, Bud Martin (formerly of Act II Playhouse in Ambler, PA), DTC’s Director of Education, Charles Conway, and board member Nancy Lynch were on-hand to receive the Norman Lockman Special 2012 Grant Award. This $25,000 grant was provided in support of Delaware Theatre Company’s Totally Awesome Players (TAP) Program, which provides performance opportunities for young people with intellectual disabilities. Established in 1992, TAP has become the cornerstone of the Delaware Theatre Company’s Youth-At-Risk Program. TAP employs acting skills and the creation of a play to increase the social skills and creativity of these young people, many of whom have been with the program since its inception, when it was originally called Totally Awesome Kids. The troupe meets weekly and participants create, write, rehearse and perform a play. These original plays are presented on the main stage of the Delaware Theatre Company and other community venues, including Mitchell Hall at the University of Delaware. The TAP Program serves the entire state by offering in-school workshops at the Howard T. Ennis School, a school for students with significant disabilities located in Sussex County, Delaware. It is through the gracious financial support of sponsors that the Delaware Theatre Company is able to continue to produce such high quality education and enrichment programs such as these.