Jerry and his team had been meeting with these residents for 12 weeks through our Senior Theater Initiative, a program supported by the Henrietta Tower Wurts memorial at the Philadelphia Foundation. Beginning with simple games and exercises, Jerry then moves the group into a collective creative process in which they are creating "structured improvisations" based on their own lives, experiences and memories. Later, they are joined by members of our professional improv ensemble Bright Invention to further develop these scenarios. This was the second consecutive residency at Saligman House, a site operated by Federation Housing, Inc. White Pines has done work at other FHI sites since 2014.
After the completion of this residency, we received the following letter from Barry Jacobs, a resident of Saligman House and a participant of both the residencies we offered there. We are publishing it here with his permission:
Dear Mr. Lloyd
Words alone cannot convey the extent, depth and intensity of my appreciation, gratitude and thanks for your God-given work. As a resident of Saligman House, I am so appreciative for the opportunity to interact with others and to express myself through Jerry Perna's direction.
I have never before had the occasion to participate in any activity such as [the Senior Theater Initiative.] I hope that White Pines Productions will be a permanent fixture in the lives of so many others, as well as in my own life.
Especially when we are living through such difficult and complex current events, White Pines reinforces the meaning of the arts, and is as crucial as ever.
I hope and pray that you will be continuing, and that you find permanent funding, so that you can continue your work - preferably to Saligman!
May God bless all of you connected to White Pines!
Sincerely, Barry Jacobs.
Barry, you have our word that - supported by foundations, and our donors and patrons - we will be back to make more magic with you, and with others!