100 WVIA Way
Pittston, PA 18640

Phone: 570-826-6144
Fax: 570-655-1180

Copyright © 2024 WVIA, all rights reserved. WVIA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Young, older generations invited to bond over theater

The Keystone Intergenerational Theatre Ensemble is a free, four-week theater workshop for older adults and young adults.
Conor Kelly O'Brien
The Keystone Intergenerational Theatre Ensemble is a free, four-week theater workshop for older adults and young adults.

Conor Kelly O’Brien, executive director of the Scranton Fringe Festival, loves sharing theater with older adults, especially those who may not have done much acting before.

“Some of them have some experience, most have none,” he said. “What I love to illuminate to them is that, well, you don’t think you do, but some of them were teachers, business leaders, parents…their skill sets are so valuable.”

That’s part of why Scranton Fringe and the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging set in motion the Keystone Intergenerational Theatre Ensemble, or KITE.

The free, four-week workshop will bring older adults and young adults together to learn about theater arts from professionals.

Once assembled, the group will work together on an original script with help from professional theater artists and writers. They’ll also have a chance to interview each other and use what they learn to create scenes.

“It’s a form of something called…documentary theater,” O’Brien said. “Pulling from real life events, true narratives, but at its core, it’ll still be based in…the fundamentals of storytelling, writing and theater.”

Susan Miraglia, community services administrator with the Area Agency on Aging, says intergenerational programs like KITE can benefit both age groups - when older and younger generations are able to interact, Miraglia says they learn from each other’s experiences.

“One of the most significant benefits of intergenerational programs for seniors is improvement in their mental health and their emotional wellbeing,” Miraglia said. “They can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness leading to a greater sense of purpose and belonging.”

KITE starts on April 15 and runs for four Sundays at the AFA Gallery in Scranton. Anyone interested in participating can email info@scrantonfringe.org to reserve a spot.

On the younger end of the age spectrum, O’Brien says anyone over the age of 18 can participate - teens 16 and older can also join with permission from a parent.

The Area Agency on Aging’s services typically target adults aged 60 and older, Miraglia said.

This will be the first KITE program the agency has hosted, but Miraglia has seen how other arts programs have helped older adults discover new hobbies and connect with different people in their community.

“When they first attend an art class they might be a little timid, then next thing you know they’re not only improving their skills, they’re socializing with other people and just being out,” she said. “It’s helping their emotional well-being, being involved and engaged.”

KITE runs Sundays from 2-4 p.m., April 15 through May 5 at the AFA Gallery in Scranton.

Sarah Scinto is the local host of Morning Edition on WVIA. She is a Connecticut native and graduate of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, and has previously covered Northeastern Pennsylvania for The Scranton Times-Tribune, The Citizens’ Voice and Greater Pittston Progress.

You can email Sarah at sarahscinto@wvia.org