'Acting up' coordinators Larry and Barbara Biddison

Coordinators Barbara and Larry Biddison prepare for the start of the 2019-2020 Acting Up! season.

Acting Up! Hamilton-Gibson’s free readers theatre program for adults 55 and older, is entering its 17th season on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Barbara and Larry Biddison are the program coordinators.

Since 2005, when the Biddisons became the coordinators, an ever-changing group of fun-loving men and women has gathered in the living room at the Hamilton-Gibson office at 29 Water Street in Wellsboro from 2 to 3 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, September through May. There are no fees and no long-term commitments.

The one-hour sessions bring together congenial and mutually supportive people in a relaxed, informal atmosphere that provides a low-key, low-pressure opportunity to experiment with “reading with expression.”

The main focus on Tuesdays is a group reading of a story or play or a series of poems. Participants often bring short poems, humorous stories, or thoughtful articles to share aloud with the group.

They also enjoy bringing to life vintage radio scripts, interesting essays and original short plays written by Acting Up participants.

“There’s always plenty of fun stuff to read aloud among friends,” said Larry.

Each Acting Up session is self-contained. Those present are not obligated to attend other sessions.

Though regular attendance is not required, the Biddisons are pleased with the strong repeat turnout.

“We look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones,” Barbara said. “This is a safe place for people who have a fear of speaking in public, as well as for those who have always wanted to act but weren’t ready for the stage,” Barbara added.

“Several participants have gone on to be in Hamilton-Gibson radio plays and HG Women’s Project productions while continuing to attend Acting Up and Acting Out.”

When an invitation is received to perform outside HG’s familiar living room, any volunteers who feel up to the challenge of reading aloud in public can become participants in the Acting Out program.

Acting Out offers entertainment for schools, libraries, churches, senior centers, assisted living facilities, personal care homes and organizations, such as the Wednesday Morning Musicales.

Anyone interested in seeing what Acting Up is all about is welcome to attend a Tuesday session. For more details, contact Larry or Barbara Biddison at 570-724-4586.