Creativity: Into the Spotlight

Theater gives seniors an outlet for self-expression, therapy, socializing and sheer fun

For a self-described melancholic, James Harding, 59, has undergone a radical transformation since he joined the Masters Theatre Ensemble at Kilgore Junior College in Longview, Texas. This group of 12 people, all over the age of 50, studies acting and performs short plays for audiences of family and friends, who cheer them on enthusiastically. Melancholy is permitted only if a part requires it. "I've always been too introverted to mix really well," says the retired claims examiner for the Texas Workforce Commission.

"But when I read an article in the local paper about acting classes for adults, I remembered acting in...

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