Starting the next chapter after retiring opens up a wide variety of opportunities. Irene Stender and fellow performers found it in Senior Theatre. The opportunities are limited only by your imagination
Irene Silver Stender’s love of the theatre goes back to the age of three, when she performed on Broadway as “Little Irene.” She remembers living in downtown New York and walking to the theatre, singing and tapping her way into the hearts of the theatre-goers, and yes, of course, the applause.
After retiring she found the answer to “What’s next?” at The Friendship Center in Sarasota. In 1998, she and a group of friends founded Sarasota Senior Theatre, an organization that has since drawn international and national kudos.
The group grew from 25 to more than 100. Many members of the original group are still active. Like the other performing arts opportunities available at the Center, Senior Theatre affords an opportunity to feel validated, and valued. The oldest participants are well into their 90s.
“More mature performers tend to care less about impressing people than entertaining the audience,” Irene said. “They’re not shy about displaying their talents. It’s a way to feel stimulated and there’s great satisfaction in hearing applause at the end of a show.”
Friendship Theatre will be performing in “A Night at the Follies on April 11 at the Friendship Center 1888 Brother Geenen Way, Sarasota. Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Call 941.955.2122 for information.
About Friendship Theatre
FRIENDSHIP THEATRE has drawn national attention. This June the group has been invited to perform at the 2014 Senior Theatre USA Festival and Conference at Bally’s Hotel and Casino on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. A few years ago their performance at the Festival drew a full 15 minutes of applause and multiple accolades. Friendship Theatre meets at the Friendship Center. It’s a wonderful way to meet people, have fun and earn applause. For information, call: 941.556.3265.
About Peg Palmer
Peg Palmer is director of communications and public education for the Friendship Centers. She has been with Senior Friendship Centers since 1996, and is editor of Prime Times, published by the Sarasota Herald Tribune. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Sarasota County Aging Network, and has served on board of the Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association. She co-produced the Healthy Aging Television Series aired on the Education Channel. Prior to joining Senior Friendship Centers, she was marketing special sections editor for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. She is co-author of the Insider’s Guide to Sarasota and Bradenton, a 500 page book published by Knight Ridder.