Lake Norman & Mooresville

Seniors' Reader's Theatre hits the stage

Back in 2004, Mooresville resident Rodney Nall, 71, was retired and a little bored. Then he read about the South Iredell Senior Center's Senior Theatre and decided to attend the meeting.

Nall retired in 2002 from Hershey, the Pennsylvania-based chocolate maker. He and his wife, Linda, moved into a home on the Mallard Head Golf Course to be closer to their grandchildren.

Three years after attending his first Senior Theatre meeting, Nall became head of the Reader's Theatre, a spinoff.

The Reader's Theatre is a performing group of seniors in the Mooresville community who present their material by reading scripts in a dramatic fashion.

"Most seniors enjoy doing things, but don't want to memorize things," said Nall.

The Reader's Theatre, which supports itself financially, performs for anyone who asks. It typically performs once or twice a month and does not charge for performances. The group does, however, accept donations.

Most of the Reader's Theatre gigs are held for churches, senior adults' groups, Rotary clubs and the like. Performances are usually skits and one-act plays, and typically last 45 minutes to an hour.

Nall said it feels great when the community gives a positive reaction to their performances.

"When we go out to a senior gathering and make people laugh, or they come and say how much they enjoyed it, I think we are doing something good for Mooresville," said Nall.

Nall said he ordered some scripts, but it was expensive and the content was often inappropriate. So now the Reader's Theatre develops most of its own material.

For example, Nall has written several 10-minute situation-comedy skits featuring "Margaret and Ed." Nall said the group gets a lot of its material from old-time radio shows.

The Reader's Theatre is always looking for new members, especially men. The group also has a need for people who do not want to perform; other duties, such as stage managing and building sets and backgrounds, also need volunteers.

The Reader's Theatre gives a big benefit to the seniors who participate, Nall said.

"It gives us great mental health," he said. "We are getting up and keeping active with our minds, and staying physically active."