There’s almost nothing better than a warm welcome. Anxieties are put to rest. Communications channels stretch open. And smiles light the way forward.
Magdalena Gómez uses theater, dance and movement techniques along with words and writing to help participants open hearts and minds to new people and new experiences. This fun, playful and helpful interactive workshop, part of The House of the Seven Gables’ Community Conversation series, is Wednesday, September 26, 6 to 8 p.m., The Gables’ Visitor Center, 115 Derby St., Salem, Massachusetts. The event is free and open to the public.
“These interactive activities are really about humanity,” says Gómez. “We use tools like movement to build community despite language differences. It’s about connecting with others without language. What we do is deeply human, engaging, fun, joyful and there is laughter.”
Gómez says this event will be accessible to anyone who comes and expresses an interest. “You don’t have to be a dancer or theater person. What we do together helps to awaken ourselves to the idea that, yes, I am creative. It’s about self-discovery, joy, being present.”
Those attending will have opportunities to pause and take stock. “We will look at the diverse meanings of ‘welcome’ and talk about how we can welcome into our lives the people, situations and things that heal and calm us, says Gómez. “Time for rest and reflection becomes increasingly elusive in our fast-paced society. Participants will create new ways to welcome more peace, people and experiences into their lives. Those planning to attend may wear loose, comfortable clothing, soft-soled shoes and their adventurous spirit!”
Gómez says it’s important to build empathy and connections. “There’s so much stress. So much bad news. How do we create good news for ourselves.? And for those struggling in a new homeland? In fact, how do we survive without welcome? Well, actually, we don’t. We’re distracted, overworked, many of us underpaid. We face a barrage of stressors. All the more reason to pay attention to the act of ‘welcome.’ Welcome is another word for intimacy and connection.”
Magdalena Gómez is the cofounder and artistic director of Teatro V!da, www.teatrovida.com in Springfield, Massachusetts. She is a 2018 recipient of the coveted New England Public Radio’s Arts and Humanity Award. Her most recent play, “ERASED: a poetic imagining of the life of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg,” is a finalist (as of this writing) in the national Latinx Theater Commons competition. Her play, “Perfectamente Loca/Perfectly Insane,” was a winner in 2015. Her poetry collection, “Shameless Woman,” was published in 2014 by Red Sugarcane Press and is included in Latin@ studies syllabi throughout the United States.
About The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association
The mission of The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association is to preserve The Gables’ National Historic Landmark and leverage its power as an icon of American culture to engage diverse audiences and provide education opportunities for the local immigrant community. For more information visit www.7gables.org.
In 2018, The House of the Seven Gables celebrates a singular milestone. Built 350 years ago, it is still a place where stories are made. Ever the provider of shelter and support, The House of the Seven Gables inspires us as it once inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne. Where sea captains once found their footing, immigrants become citizens, visitors explore period rooms, historians pore over archives, children frolic in the gardens, and authors find inspiration. Celebrate this milestone with us and make your own stories at The House of the Seven Gables.
This post was written by Julie Arrison-Bishop