Pontine Theatre Serves The Needs Of Region's Seniors
This Spring Pontine Theatre will present their original staging of stories written by Hampton Falls' Alice Brown, Tales of New England Life will be presented at assisted living communities, senior centers, libraries and historical societies throughout the region. The tour is made possible with support from the Fuller Foundation and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. The FullerFoundation, is a nonprofit organization that supports projects that improve the quality of life for people, animals and the environment.
Alice Brown (1857-1948) was born on a farm in Hampton Falls, a community that acted as a template for the villages depicted in her stories. She attended Robinson Female Seminary in Exeter, where she displayed a talent for writing at a young age. It was during her early years in Boston that Brown published her first novel Stratford by the Sea (1884), set in a small coastal community. Her rich descriptions and candid characters established Brown as a popular regional color writer. Brown was best known for her popular New England short stories. Collected into volumes, her tales of New England life portray the traditional simplicity and bounteous goodness of country life: Tiverton Tales(1899), The County Road (1906), Meadow Grass (1886), and Country Neighbors (1910). Pontine Co-Directors, Marguerite Mathews and Greg Gathers, have selected three of Ms. Brown's evocative tales to bring to life on stage: Farmer Eli's Vacation (1895), Gardener Jim (1910), and A Poetess in Spring (1910). Each story introduces a cast of colorful characters portrayed by Gathers and Mathews through storytelling and Toy Theatre figures created by Greg Gathers.
Pontine's program will the meet the needs of seniors who are unable to travel to enjoy cultural events. The $4,000 Fuller Foundation grant brings Pontine's program to the following assisted living communites in May and June 2019:
- Forestview Manor, Meredith NH
- Cornerstone of Hampton, Hampton NH
- Maple Suites, Dover NH
- Residence at Silver Square, Dover NH
- Taylor Community, Laconia NH
- Clipper Harbor, Portsmouth NH
- Woodcrest Village, New London NH
- Webster at Rye, Rye NH
- Standish Village, Dorchester MA
- Portsmouth Senior Center, Portsmouth NH
- Harmony Homes on the Bay, Durham NH
Seniors are a growing, but often neglected segment of our population. While many seniors are still active participants in their communities, others have been restricted by the need to enter assisted care facilities. These seniors face not only physical and cognitive challenges; they also often battle depression and a sense of isolation from the larger community. Arts programs, such as Pontine's, help to keep seniors connected with the larger community and with their own cultural heritage.
Activity directors at these facilities see enormous value in bringing arts programs to their residents. However, the cost of live performance is prohibitive to most retirement and nursing homes. Funding from the Lincoln Financial Foundation will allow Pontine to substantially subsidize its costs, making the program accessible to senior audiences throughout the state.
In addition to retirement communities and senior centers, Pontine will also perform Tales of New England Life at - the Lee Historical Society (22 May @7pm), the Pittsfield Historical Society (12 June @7pm), Newington's Langdon Library (25 June @6:30pm), the New Durham Library (28 June @6:30pm) and Milton NH's New Hampshire Farm Museum (29 June @3:30pm)
Pontine Theatre, a two-person ensemble, is well known for a large body of innovative original productions that celebrate the history and culture of New England. The company resides at the Plains School, #1 Plains Avenue in Portsmouth NH, where it presents an annual performance season featuring its own productions and those of invited guest artists.
For more information on Pontine, visit - www.pontine.org
Photo Credit: Dan Derby