Play of Delights

Play of Delights is an intergenerational humanities project that connects underserved community members from rural and urban areas of Tompkins County through discussion, creation, collaboration, and performance. It culminates in a public performance and theatrical celebration inspired by The Book of Delights, an essay collection by award-winning author Ross Gay.

The Book of Delights inspires readers to witness and celebrate unexpected delight in their lives, while acknowledging the complexities of pain, trauma, and systemic oppression that exist in our society. Community gardening and the beauty of nature are recurring themes. Ultimately, the book reminds us that there is nothing more important than connecting with and caring for others and the natural world around us.

Our community partners, the Greater Ithaca Activities Center and the Ulysses Philomathic Library, a public library in Trumansburg, have identified a need for creative outlets that connect their members to one another and allow for conversation and collaboration with people in other places. While there are existing opportunities in these communities to act in plays, there are very few programs that allow for youth, adults, and elders to create original performances, and none we can identify which intentionally connect across rural / urban and racial divides. This project will use Theater for Social Change tools to co-create an accessible, trauma-informed space with marginalized community members, supporting them to share personal experiences of seeking and finding joy, and to collaborate with others who have different lived experiences.