The Growing Young Process

Information for the center:

Creative team:

  • Peter Michael von der Nahmer: artistic and music director, composer, interviewer
  • Anita Prestidge: Writer/director
  • Marianna Mott Newirth: Writer


  • 2-3 young actors/singers from around the town

Number of seniors: 7-9 seniors

Who should participate: We are looking for ages 60 and up. It’s not about the age, but we ask for participants who can easily engage with us and are open and interested to talk about their life’s experiences, especially the time when they were teenagers.

Duration of the project: the project will take at least 3 weeks, meeting weekly with the seniors


  • Each session will be a one on one session between Peter Michael von der Nahmer and the seniors
  • We need a quiet and safe environment without distraction and disturbances
  • If possible access to a piano would be helpful but the work can also be done without a piano  
  • Rehearsal space can be the setting for the final performance or a different space that the relevant senior can access and observe.
  • Final performance setting: The final performance should be in an larger space, easy to access for the seniors. If possible with a piano.


  • The Senior Center would connect us with seniors interested and able to participate.
  • The Senior Center will provide a setting congruent with the guidelines set above as well as a rehearsal and final performance space. Pictures and details of the performance space will need to be made available before the rehearsal process begins.
  • 2-3 music stands and stools will need to be procured and if possible a piano.
  • Transport may need to be arranged for equipment and collaborators.
  • Access to a quality printer or print shop. Two copies of the script (both draft and final) and programs.  


  • Peter Michael von der Nahmer will lead one on one sessions over a period of 3 weeks, at least once a week with each senior.
  • Each session will take about an hour, longer as needed.
  • After each session PMvdN will write a short protocol for his writing collaborators establishing thematic focus and giving general feedbacks.
  • After all interviews are concluded with the seniors PMvdN and his team will start working on the pieces.
  • This transformation of the interviews can be done in two different ways.
    • First: the interviews will be transcribed and the text will be then directly taken from those interviews and what makes dramatically the most sense
    • Second: the interviews will be the inspiration for new created texts
  • After the completion of the entire piece, PMvdN will meet with the seniors to present them the text and see if they have any feedback, revisions or other suggestions that should be included in the text. The seniors will also be encouraged if there are areas either on or offstage where they would like to engage with the production.
  • The text will then be revised if necessary.
  • Once the text is finished PMvdN will add any interlude music or songs that he feels are needed and the director will block the show.
  • After book and music are finished the script will be placed in a black binder for collaborators and cast and the rehearsal period will start.
  • Rehearsal period: 2-3 young actors/singers ages 18-25 will have two 4hr open rehearsals with the director and artistic director over a period of 2 days during which time the seniors are welcome to attend. Dress rehearsal will be closed and occur 2hrs before the final performance. Rewrites will be finished before the dress rehearsal.
  • Final performance: Once the rehearsals have concluded, the piece will be performed at the center for all seniors who want to watch and come. The entire piece will be recorded and filmed for archival purposes of the GROWING YOUNG team.


  • An after party for seniors, actors, and collaborators to continue the dialogue and make connections.
  • Seniors receive their own copy of the script after the performance.
  • A second performance for the wider community.