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"Theatre Through Windows" combines service with improv performance

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Undergraduates in Dr. Ozzie Abaye's Agriculture, Global Food Security and Health course through the School of Plant Environmental Sciences recently performed for residents of Commonwealth Senior living in Christiansburg.  Students Rose Scannell, Mary Weeks, Sara Rheintgen, and Noreen Karam are tasked with a service learning project and have come under the mentor ship of Theatre Through Windows co-creators Courtney Surmanek and Stephen T. Licardi. Commonwealth's Activities Director, Corinne Shelor also helped create Theatre Through Windows as a source of engagement for seniors living in the center during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Activies include sing-a-longs, poetry, charades and other interactive games while maintaining distance between the students and residents.
"Our theme for today is thankfulness." We were thinking very critically about how can we give back to the elders and the community, and how can we bridge the university culture and the students, the youth of the university with the intergenerational opportunity to engage with elders. *Singing* "These are a few of my favorite things." It's called Theatre Through Windows. We basically wanted to create a story and a performance, we did improv. "Any guesses what the emotion is ?" Reciting poetry, playing games with the members, asking them questions though we built those relationships. We've been working with them in a kind of hybrid way. So our training sessions had been online. We also have an hour and fifteen minute long co-creation session where we work through the kind of structure of what the, what the opportunity will look like, but the engagement session will look like. We're all experiencing this space of isolation right now. And I think it creates an opportunity, perhaps more so than for to really empathize with the isolation that many of our elders experience. I hope that, I mean, at the very least that inspires them to build personal connections with the elders and the communities that they move in to. They said, you know, this is so nice because it reminds us of our grandchildren. And it brings them so much joy. And it brings us joy because, you know, we can't see our grandparents either. So for us it's kind of like