Olana Partners with Ancram Opera House to offer Young at HeART playwriting course

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HUDSON – Fresh from the success of its Young at HeART painting and memoir-writing courses, The Olana Partnership at Olana State Historic Site is partnering with the Ancram Opera House this spring to offer the third course in the series, an in-depth playwriting course for adults 55-plus.

The playwriting course will offer students the skills and techniques to create a dramatic monologue from start to finish. The series culminates in a performance, for which a professional actor will read student works.

“After the excitement generated by our memoir and landscape painting courses, we are so excited to see how older adults enjoy the art of playwriting,” said Emily Sachar, consultant historian for The Olana Partnership, recipient of a two-year, $25,000 annual grant from Aroha Philanthropies in Minneapolis. “Olana is deeply committed to the development of creative aging courses, and this is yet another chance for us to test exciting new ideas.”

The five-week playwriting workshop will teach techniques for crafting dramatic monologues, three-dimensional characters, and captivating narratives. Participants will experience their creation come to life through the art of theatre and professional acting. This course also teaches the fundamentals of playwriting, performance, team-building, research, improvisation, and more. 

All Young at HeART courses use Olana and documents in its archives as a point of inspiration. Students will learn about landscape painter Frederic Church’s love of exotic costumes, collected on his travels in the Middle East in the 1870s. Church often used these historic costumes in his home, sketches and finished paintings. The first four weeks of the course will take place at Olana. Sessions on April 22 through 24 will be held at the Ancram Opera House, 1330 County Route 7 in Ancram.

Creative Aging courses are designed to engage older adults in participatory, professionally run arts programs with a focus on social engagement and skills mastery, according to the non-profit organization Lifetime Arts, a partner of Aroha. The creative aging movement responds to a major demographic shift in the United States. With millions of baby boomers entering their third act of life, creative aging has grown into a full-scale movement designed to provide opportunities for meaningful creative expression through visual, literary, and performing arts workshops.

Ancram Opera House

The Young at HeART playwriting course runs Thursdays and Fridays from 10 AM to noon, starting March 26.  To participate in the workshop, students must plan to attend all eleven sessions, including an extra rehearsal on Wednesday, April 22.  All materials, supplies, and instruction will be provided for a nominal fee of $150 per person. 

Registration is open to residents of Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Rensselaer and Ulster Counties, and participants must have their own transportation. Call (518) 828-1872 or visit OLANA.org to register.