Improv is the Future of Theater: a panel discussion

White Pines is excited to announce . . .

A Special Event for Theatre Philadelphia’s Theater Week

present

Improv is the Future of Theater: A Panel Discussion

Benjamin Lloyd, Artistic Director Bright Invention

Benjamin Lloyd, Artistic Director Bright Invention


 “The impact this ephemeral art form has had on popular entertainment is undeniable. Improv has replaced jazz as America’s most popular art.”   Sam Wasson, author of Improv Nation

An exceptional panel of Philadelphia theater artists will gather for brunch and a spirited panel discussion about improvised and scripted theater, and how improv uniquely satisfies our need for communal artistic experience. The event will shed light on the many genres of unscripted theater available to Philadelphia theater-goers. The panel will include Q&A with the audience and open dialogue. 

Bobbi Block, Artistic Director Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theatre

Bobbi Block, Artistic Director Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theatre

The idea for the panel came from Bright Invention Artistic Director Benjamin Lloyd. “I have been thinking for a long time about the future of theater in America – scripted and unscripted,” he says. “I created White Pines with Bright Invention at its center as a new paradigm for American theater, based on the skills of the improviser. When I saw the invitation from Theatre Philadelphia to create events for Philly Theatre Week, I called Bobbi Block of Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theater and we got to work creating this panel. She will be joined by Philly actor Scott Greer, and Dave Jadico of Comedy Sportz among others!”

•    Date: Saturday February 17, 2018
•    Location: Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard Streets
•    Doors open 11am — brunch and mingle
•    Panel discussion:  11:30 - 12:30 (or longer, if the discussion warrants!)          
•    Bagels provided; mimosas and other beverages available at the cash bar.

Free event, registration required:

Panelists:

Scott Greer, Philadelphia actor

Scott Greer, Philadelphia actor

¥    Benjamin Lloyd, Artistic Director, Bright Invention: The White Pines Ensemble
¥    Bobbi Block, Producing Artistic Director, Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theater, Co-founder, ComedySportz Philadelphia
¥    Scott Greer, Veteran Philly actor, former ComedySportz company member; recently performed the one-man hybrid scripted/improvised play Every Brilliant Thing at Arden Theater.
¥    Dave Jadico, Artistic Director, ComedySportz Philadelphia, Actor/Writer and External Relations Director, 1812 Productions
¥    Tara Demmy, Instructor, Philly Improv Theater, Company member, Tribe of Fools
¥    Nick Gillette, Instructor, Philly Improv Theater, Co-Founde, Almanac Dance Circus Theater 

Moderator:   Mark Cofta, Theater Critic, Broad Street Review

White Pines completes another residency with senior citizens

A short movie of our work with residents at Saligman House!

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On December 5th, several residents of Saligman House on Roosevelt Boulevard were joined by Bright Invention members Leah Holleran and Kiersten Adams. Under the direction of Jerry Perna, White Pines' Director of Senior Theater, they presented an open class of their work.

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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!

Addressing the #metoo movement in corporate culture

Bob Stineman and Michelle Pauls perform a scenario for the YMCA under Benjamin Lloyd's direction. 

Bob Stineman and Michelle Pauls perform a scenario for the YMCA under Benjamin Lloyd's direction. 

How can companies address the #metoo movement? What steps can corporate culture take to examine the workplace environment? How can managers and employees address workplace sexual harassment through non-threatening, impactful training?

The answer is in "scenario-based" workshops, such as our Creative Corporate Training program. Our program trains professionals in interpersonal skills, effective communication, teamwork and sensitivity in which we design scenarios with you that address issues and challenges you want your team to look at. Then our skilled actor-facilitators perform these scenarios for your team at the training, and the team figures out how to fix them. 

Gavin Whitt and Michelle Pauls perform a scenario for University City District. 

Gavin Whitt and Michelle Pauls perform a scenario for University City District. 

The issues you want addressed - such as sexual harassment - are examined through specific scenarios we design with the program directors of client companies. These scenarios are built to resemble environments, situations and challenges that will be familiar to the team observing them. Our work focuses on empathy and creativity, and results in respect and accountability among team members, and inclusivity within the institution.

We have worked successfully with Drexel University, Freedom Valley YMCA, Philadelphia City Council staff, and University City District.

Click here to learn more! 

White Pines Creative Corporate Training is a fun, safe and effective experience for your team. Our work focuses on empathy and creativity, and results in respect and accountability among team members, and inclusivity within the institution. 

White Pines Creative Corporate Training is a fun, safe and effective experience for your team. Our work focuses on empathy and creativity, and results in respect and accountability among team members, and inclusivity within the institution. 

White Pines Masque picture gallery

Members of the Thriller dance corp!

Members of the Thriller dance corp!

Our first Masque was held Sunday October 22nd at St. Paul's Elkins Park, in their beautiful sanctuary. It was gala fundraiser, aimed at supporting our work with youth in the refugee and disability community. About 75 people attended and saw Bright Invention perform some improv, BEATPEACE play some amazing music, and a crew of zombies perform the Thriller dance from the Michael Jackson music video!

"We are especially proud of the dance," remarked Executive Director Benjamin Lloyd, "since it showcased the kind of radical inclusion we practice at White Pines. It featured members of the board and ensemble of White Pines, and kids with and without disabilities. And one executive director."

Student Elias Rosen (in wheelchair in the photo) and his mother Jill Spector spoke movingly about the impact of having an acting class especially for kids with disabilities to go to. And Director of Education Dani Bryant spoke about White Pines' work with refugee children. She introduced the founder of KXB Studios Klementina Budnik who has led this partnership with HIAS Pennsylvania. Tina spoke about the work she has done with these kids, and her admiration for White Pines. Tina, who teaches animation at White Pines, is an accomplished filmmaker and shot video of the Masque. Look for our Masque-movie soon! 

Board president David Cohen, himself a dancing zombie, remarked "We hope to bring the Masque back in 2018, and generate excitement and support for White Pines programs annually."

Click here to see photos of the Masque! 

The Elkins Park Fall Festival

On Sunday October 29th, Elkins Park East will again become a block party music festival, with live music being played in four locations continuously throughout the day. High School Park, Elkins Central, Creekside Co-op and The White Pines Place will be performance venues for a variety of musicians, from garage rock bands, to singer songwriters, a cappella groups, jazz and classical ensembles. All the events are free, with donations being accepted to pay musicians. Once again, the heroic David Heitler-Klevans (an Elkins Park native and accomplished musician himself) is the organizer. 

At White Pines, the schedule is as follows:

11:00 am - Marielle Kraft - Indie Pop

12:00 pm - Acoustic Blender - Alternative Folk

1:00 - Dave Posmontier Quartet - Jazz/Latin Jazz

2:00 - CubiZm - Original Folk, Rock

3:00 - Meghan Cary - Singer-Songwriter

4:00 - Spring Muse - Celtic-influenced Folk

5:00 - Saul Broudy and Jim Dragoni - Folk/Country

The full schedule can be found at the Elkins Park Fall Festival Facebook page - click here! 

Look for this poster in local venues, and up and down the "611 corridor"!

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