Olana PartnershipHudson, N.Y. – Fresh from the success of its Young at HeART painting and memoir-writing courses, The Olana Partnership at Olana State Historic Site is partnering with the Ancram Opera House this spring to offer the third course in the series, an in-depth playwriting course for adults 55-plus.

The playwriting course will offer students the skills and techniques to create a dramatic monologue from start to finish. The series culminates in a performance, for which a professional actor will read student works.

"After the excitement generated by our memoir and landscape painting courses, we are so excited to see how older adults enjoy the art of playwriting," said Emily Sachar, consultant historian for The Olana Partnership, recipient of a two-year, $25,000 annual grant from Aroha Philanthropies in Minneapolis. "Olana is deeply committed to the development of creative aging courses, and this is yet another chance for us to test exciting new ideas."

The five-week playwriting workshop will teach techniques for crafting dramatic monologues, three-dimensional characters, and captivating narratives. Participants will experience their creation come to life through the art of theatre and professional acting. This course also teaches the fundamentals of playwriting, performance, team-building, research, improvisation, and more.

All Young at HeART courses use Olana and documents in its archives as a point of inspiration. Students will learn about landscape painter Frederic Church’s love of exotic costumes, collected on his travels in the Middle East in the 1870s. Church often used these historic costumes in his home, sketches and finished paintings. The first four weeks of the course will take place at Olana. Sessions on April 22 thru 24 will be held at the Ancram Opera House, 1330 County Route 7 in Ancram.

Creative Aging courses are designed to engage older adults in participatory, professionally run arts programs with a focus on social engagement and skills mastery, according to the non-profit organization Lifetime Arts, a partner of Aroha. The creative aging movement responds to a major demographic shift in the United States. With millions of baby boomers entering their third act of life, creative aging has grown into a full-scale movement designed to provide opportunities for meaningful creative expression through visual, literary, and performing arts workshops.

The Young at HeART playwriting course runs Thursdays and Fridays from 10 AM to noon, starting March 26.  To participate in the workshop, students must plan to attend all eleven sessions, including an extra rehearsal on Wednesday, April 22.  All materials, supplies, and instruction will be provided for a nominal fee of $150 per person.

Registration is open to residents of Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Rensselaer and Ulster Counties, and participants must have their own transportation. Call (518) 828-1872 or visit OLANA.org to register.



About Olana and The Olana Partnership

Olana is the greatest masterpiece of Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), a preeminent American artist of the mid-19th century and the most important artist’s home, studio, and designed landscape in the United States. Church designed Olana as a holistic environment integrating his advanced ideas about art, architecture, landscape design, and environmental conservation. Olana’s 250-acre artist-designed landscape with five miles of carriage roads and a Persian-inspired house at its summit embraces unrivaled panoramic views of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains and welcomes more than 170,000 visitors annually. The house is open for guided touring, and reservations are highly recommended. The landscape is open daily 8:30 AM-sunset.

Olana State Historic Site, administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, is a designated National Historic Landmark and one of the most visited historic sites in the state. The Olana Partnership, a private not-for-profit education corporation, works cooperatively with New York State to support the restoration, conservation, and interpretation of Olana. The Olana Partnership operates Olana State Historic Site in a cooperative agreement with New York State Parks.

About Aroha Philanthropies

Aroha Philanthropies, based in Minneapolis, is devoted to the transformative power of the arts and creativity, inspiring vitality in those over 55, joy in children and youth, and humanity in adults with mental illness. Aroha believes that learning about, making, and sharing art enriches everyone throughout their lifetime. More information is available at www.lifetimearts.org


Media Contact:

Melanie Hasbrook

Director of Advancement & Marketing




Program Contact:

Emily Sachar

Historian and Curriculum Specialist