Wendy Wasdahl

Wendy Wasdahl
New York, NY
Acting, Dance/Movement, Improvisation, Storytelling
Adult Day Care, After School Program, Arts/Cultural Organizations, Community Center, K-12 Schools, Senior Center

I have over thirty years experience as a theater practitioner including Co-Founder/
Artistic Director and Lead Actress of The Shared Forms Theatre, Talking Band
Theatre Company board member, ongoing collaboration as dramaturg/director
with playwright Alvin Eng and numerous independent projects and teaching
workshops in New York, Paris, Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China. I am a recipient of
a Lower Manhattan Cultural Foundation (LMCC) 2017 SU-CASA grant. SU-CASA is
community engagement grant that places teaching artists in residence at senior
centers across the five boroughs of New York City. My Bachelor of Science degree is
from NYU School of Educational Theater.

My classes are designed to introduce Theater Games and Storytelling techniques
through gentle movement that incorporates pantomime, sense memory and
improvisation. Theater games involving group participation are structured to
stimulate creativity and inspire imagination. Class members will become acquainted
with movement and theater techniques developed by Viola Spolin (originator of
Theater Games) and Joseph Chaikin (The Open Theatre).

Movement exercises and theater games practiced in class will lead to strengthened
mobility, flexibility and balance. Self-confidence will be strengthened as self-
expression is developed and group trust is built in sharing personal histories and
original stories. Awareness and appreciation will be developed for the techniques of
ensemble theater and for the varied skills that actors utilize in the creation and
performance of theater.

My work with the LMCC SU-CASA program at the Hudson Guild Senior Center in
New York City was such a rewarding experience that I very much look forward to
continuing my work in the field of creative aging. As an older person myself, I find it
a real pleasure to connect with a group who has the long view of life. When given the
opportunity to explore their personal stories, backgrounds and concerns, they are
quite open and responsive to the stimulation of theater games and improvisation
techniques. The element of play and fun is introduced and a supportive ensemble is
formed. This has confirmed my belief that theater games are a wonderful point of
connection for all involved and are of benefit to any age group.

Another pleasure was to join class members after the class at the lunch provided by
the center. It was an opportunity to get to know them better as individuals. Class
participants who had never spoken to one another now sat at a common table and
enjoyed each other’s company, looking out for each other, helping carrying lunch
trays and sharing information about classes, events and other issues of concern.

Many of the lunchtime discussions became the subject matter of improvisations in
class. They brought lovely stories of family and favorite memories that brought a smile.