Mind the Gap

In 2009, NYTW created Mind the Gap: Intergenerational Theatre Workshop as a way to foster meaningful dialogue among artists and audiences of diverse backgrounds and generations. Mind the Gap workshops are held twice per season at NYTW, as well as in residence at multiple community partner locations around New York City.

Mind the Gap is a free workshop in which half of the participants are elders ages 60 and up and half are teenagers ages 14-19. Over the course of 10 sessions, participants work in pairs to interview each other and write plays inspired by their partner’s personal stories. Each workshop culminates with an invited presentation in which participants’ work is read aloud by professional actors. NYTW holds sessions of Mind the Gap in the Summer (July-August) and Fall (October-December).

Now accepting applications for the Fall 2015 workshop. Apply online or download an application.

The goals of the program are both to teach writing and theatre skills and foster better communication and understanding between these two age groups. No playwriting or theatre experience is necessary to participate in Mind the Gap.

Through the workshop participants are able to:

  • INVESTIGATE, LISTEN and EMPATHIZE with someone of another generation, while using playwriting as a tool to understand and represent their unique experience
  • BROADEN THEIR PERSPECTIVE, see the other generation in a new light, and take on the task of telling someone else’s story with respect and understanding
  • SHARE THEIR STORIES and ultimately see them interpreted through another’s eyes making meaning out of their personal narratives and gaining insights into their own lives

Current Community Partners

Located in the Upper West Side, DOROT provides intergenerational programming for the Jewish and wider community. The organization has been a Mind the Gap partner since 2012.

Want to bring Mind the Gap to your community? If you work with elders or teens and are interested in learning more about recruitment or becoming a Mind the Gap community-based partner, please contact Alexander Santiago-Jirau, director of education, at AlexanderS@nytw.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mind the Gap? How does it work?

Mind the Gap is an intergenerational playwriting workshop. We will select a group of 14 people for each 10-week workshop. Half of the participants in the group will be ages 60 and up, and half will be ages 14-19. The goal of the workshop is to use playwriting to create a dialogue between these two age groups.

A typical Mind the Gap session will include writing exercises, full-group discussions and one-on-one interviews in intergenerational pairs. After each conversation, participants will go home and complete a playwriting assignment, using the conversation with their partner as inspiration.

In the early sessions, participants will interview multiple partners, getting to know several different members of the group. Towards the middle of the process, everyone will be paired with a “permanent” partner and spend a longer time in interviews with that person. Ultimately, each individual will write a 10-minute play inspired by their permanent partner. The workshop culminates with an invited reading of all of the plays read aloud by professional actors.

How do you select participants?

While Mind the Gap is a writing workshop, the goal of the program is about listening and sharing personal stories. We are looking for individuals who want to meet and interact with people from other generations. We believe that everyone has an interesting story to share.

One of the most important criteria is attendance. Because most of the work is done with your partner, if one person is missing, it throws off the rest of the group. We expect all participants to arrive promptly and attend all sessions. It is critical for every participant to commit to attending every session and to see the workshop through to the end.

What happens after I apply?

Once applications have been reviewed, candidates will be contacted to schedule group interviews.

The goal of the group interview is to provide you with a glimpse of what it’s like to participate in Mind the Gap. There will be up to 6 applicants in the room for each interview session, and you will be interacting with each other through a short exercise. No preparation is required. Just bring an open mind! If you have any questions about Mind the Gap, there will be a chance to ask them during the group interview session.

Is Mind the Gap a mentoring program?

No, the goals of the workshop are both to teach playwriting skills and to create dialogue between two different age groups that don’t often have a chance to interact in their daily lives. We treat the participants in the group as peers. We’re all on equal footing as we embark on this journey.

Do you write the play together or individually?

Each participant will write a 10-minute play based on the life of their partner. Story-sharing and interviewing is collaborative, but the writing process happens individually outside of class.

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