The Seasoned Performers is a nonprofit company that celebrates the contributions of older adults by producing both original and well-known material, providing performance opportunities for seniors, and bringing live theatre to special and often underserved audiences. Our presentations may be populated with seasoned actors, but the performances appeal to people of ALL AGES!
Our mission is multifaceted: to give an outlet to vibrant seniors (those who have acted professionally or in the community, as well as those who are just beginning); to support older adults who want to continue contributing to the community; to project a positive view of aging; to reach urban, rural, suburban, and underserved populations with live theatre. Click here for more details.
Since 1984, The Seasoned Performers has become one of the largest and longest running senior theatres in the country. This distinctive theatre has gained national recognition with its accomplishments and was featured on a list of Creativity and Aging “Best Practices” on the National Endowment for the Arts’ website.
Currently in its 29th season of touring in 2013, The Seasoned Performers is a unique senior adult theatre troupe located in Birmingham, Alabama. The company is a nonprofit [501(c)(3)] organization, enriching the lives of audiences and performers with a theatre program especially adapted to the needs of seniors. This all-volunteer troupe is recognized as an important part of the arts culture and received the 2007 award for “Outstanding Contribution to the Theatre Community” from the Birmingham Area Theatre Alliance. The Seasoned Performers were honored for providing opportunities for actors to continue working in theatre as senior citizens, as well as entertainment for the local community.
There are three branches to the Seasoned Performers, each with its own performance style:
The Seasoned Actors
Since the company's inception, The Seasoned Actors have been on the road, taking 45-minute original one-act plays to a variety of locations -- serving 5,000 or more people every year, and reaching many underserved audiences in up to 16 Alabama counties each year. This wing performs at 60+ sites annually, and are driven to each place in our own van by our technical associate. The troupe unloads the scenery and props, dresses in costume, performs, reloads the van, and travels back to our parking lot.
Program objectives are to provide older adults with opportunities for participating in theatre, to bring live theatrical performance to audiences of all ages, and to serve as a training base for older adults who wish to increase their knowledge of theatre arts. Celebrating a new stage in life and giving voice to the significant contributions of older citizens, this troupe is usually composed of 10 actors who rehearse and perform the same play -- in two casts of five members each. There is a Monday-Wednesday team and a Tuesday-Thursday team. Auditions are held each January, and the play rehearses February - March and performs April - early June. The casts reassemble and rehearse in September, and then hit the road again in October and November. The play can perform for public or private audiences.
The Seasoned Readers
The Seasoned Readers, a branch of The Seasoned Performers, take part in weekly workshops and, in teams of four individuals, tour performances chosen from over twenty-five different shows in their ever-growing inventory. This group performs 70 times each year, at sites all over Jefferson County for over 2,500 people. The teams drive themselves to the readings, and often carpool to the site. The Readers present a variety of shows, including a number of seasonal offerings, like A Gift for Anna, for the holiday season and Mother’s Day. Voices of Liberty uses the words of famous Americans to celebrate patriotic holidays, Haunting Tales and Spooky Stories are perfect for the fall, and Seasons of Man, about the coming of age of men, proves popular for Father’s Day. The repertoire also includes a variety of humorous readings, as well as pieces for younger audiences. For older audiences, the Seasoned Readers provide a model for graceful and productive aging, while younger audiences delight in the opportunity to experience a fun group of seniors like their grandparents! The Readers are available for public readings and private events.
The Salon Readers
The idea for salon readers came from the fact that the many talented and more experienced senior actors in our community are not able to make the time commitment involved in being a Seasoned Reader or an actor in our touring productions. Few opportunities exist for these actors to work regularly together on local stages. We began in April 2007 by presenting an evening performance of a concert reading of Blithe Spirit in the Martha Moore Sykes Studio at the Virginia Samford Theatre. The Cabaret set-up with an excellent cast played to a sell-out crowd. The following spring we presented a concert reading of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple in the same space, this time for two shows, starring Sam Chalker, Bob Penny, Julia Matson, and Beverly Brasell. Again the performances sold out. In February 2009 we drew a large crowd to our ArtBurst concert reading of George Bernard Shaw’s Don Juan In Hell. That play was revived in February 2010 at the Bonnie Bolding Studio on the Samford University campus. We also have a lively Vaudeville troupe who perform around town. Our Vaudeville Valentine helped to open the new Hoover Library Plaza in 2009, as well as entertained 1,000 seniors at the Jefferson County Office of Senior Citizen Services February meeting. We are looking for individuals and facilities that would be interested in inviting us to perform for them with the goal of gathering financial support as well as spreading the word about this most unique group of performers. The Salon Readers are available for both public and private events.
Summer Acting Workshop
Our Founder, Martha Haarbauer, leads a summer acting workshop for senior adults called "Get Your Act Together." It is held at the Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church. Call the office at 978-5095 for more information.