PACE@Home was pleased to partner with Tractor Shed Theatre in honoring the lives of its senior participants at performances on December 8 and December 21. Tractor Shed, St. Stephens High School’s resident theater troupe, regularly embarks on a community project, and this semester, they focused on documenting and interpreting the experiences of seniors through the performing arts.
At the shows, the students used song, poetry, rap, dialogue, narrative, and improvisation to share memorable events from the PACE participants’ lives. The performances illustrated the changes in culture and lifestyle from the 20th to 21st centuries while also proving the connections among people of all generations.
Molly Rice, Tractor Shed Theatre coordinator, encourages the role of theater in promoting human connection. “Theater isn’t just an old-fashioned method of storytelling. It’s relevant to our lives today, as our students have shown. It showcases emotions, and it gives truth a chance to shine. Our goal is to bear the torch of these lives we’ve presented and to communicate the dignity of every person.”
Jane Rollins, PACE@Home director, agrees, saying, “When we were approached by Tractor Shed, we leapt at the chance to involve our participants. A major part of our program is to provide social and recreational opportunities, and transforming our seniors’ lives into theater was an innovative way to engage them and to give them a renewed sense of themselves. It confirmed to them that they’re still valued and appreciated.”
Also participating in the project were students in St. Stephens’ visual art classes, taught by Sue Hardy. In total, 41 students gathered stories and information from 23 PACE@Home seniors to produce the show, entitled “Ars longa, vita brevis,” or “Art is long, life is short.”