This past fall, New York Theatre Workshop partnered with Brooklyn Public Library to offer a session of Mind the Gap at BPL’s Central Library at Grand Army Plaza. From October to December, teens and elders participated in intergenerational dialogue and writing workshops led by NYTW Teaching Artist Adam Odsess-Rubin with the assistance of Education Associate Psacoya Guinn and Education and Engagement Fellow Jordan Powell.
The program culminated in a reading of plays in progress written by the participants inspired by the personal stories shared throughout the sessions.
Psacoya remarks “Mind the Gap at Brooklyn Public Library was a huge success! Our elders and teens created excellent plays inspired by each other that our actors were able to bring to life through fun physicality and expression. It was a wonderful opportunity for the BPL community to witness firsthand what we do at NYTW education”
Having never been a part of Mind the Gap, Jordan was “excited to be an assistant teaching artist for this program because I’ve heard how it leads to active listening and bonds between elders and young people. My favorite part was when we did an activity called hot seat, every participant had 15 for them to talk and us to listen and ask questions. It was fascinating to see what stories were waiting to be told from these hot seats and how much participants learned from each other’s lives.
Here’s what some of the participants had to say about the program:
“Relationships were all great, the elders were all so polite and always in such awesome moods! Interviewing them was always so much fun; I would always look forward to the interviewing part of every session! I learned that everyone’s story is valid and should be heard.” -Zayah, Teen
“Each relationship was different but rewarding in its own way. I remembered what it was like to live at home with family members before I’d gone off into the world. But the teens were all so thoughtful, and, dare I say it, sweet. I have a more kindly attitude towards teens now.” -Denis, Elder
“Mind the Gap has re-taught me to give young people a break. It’s true, even when I’m in rush mode, I tend to judge people based on what I initially observe (e.g., on the subway, or late at night walking home, or on my way to rehearsal). Now, I catch myself–especially theyounger generation–and give them some slack, whereas before, I was in a categorizing mindset. Just two days ago, a young person saw me studying my music and asked me about it. We got into a lengthy conversation–this wouldn’t have happened before. This is a huge change for me and one that I’m grateful for.” -Joe, Elder
To learn more about the Mind the Gap program, please visit NYTW.org/education.