“It’s a destination”

“It’s a destination”

Historic Arcade Theatre

Shining a spotlight on the Florida Rep

Published in Community Lifestyles South Fort Myers February/March 2015 issue

All photos courtesy of Bryelle Dafeldecker

A Fort Myers theatre, once a Vaudeville house in the 1920s, has attracted local and national attention over the course of its 17 seasons.

The Historic Arcade Theatre, at 2267 1st St., downtown Fort Myers, now home to the Florida Repertory Theatre, was built in 1908 and attracted such first time viewers as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

front coverOver the years, as movies became more and more popular, the building transformed into a movie house throughout the 1920s, remaining successful until the 1970s.

Unfortunately in 1989, the theatre plummeted into severe disrepair.

Bryelle Dafeldecker, Florida Repertory Theatre marking manager, said artistic director Robert Cacioppo, and his wife, Carrie Lund, founded the Florida Repertory Theatre in 1998.

“The City of Fort Myers offered him a theatre in Fort Myers because nothing was going on downtown,” Dafeldecker explained.

Robert Cacioppo

Robert Cacioppo

Now the theatre attracts about 80,000 people annually into the downtown district.

“It’s a destination,” Dafeldecker said.

For the past six years, the Wall Street Journal has reviewed the shows at the Florida Repertory Theatre, making it one of the top repertory companies in the nation.

“After that happened, it brought a lot more attention nationally – and locally,” she said. “We have a really loyal base, which is great.”

She said they offer nine full professional productions per season, from the end of October through May.

“We pay all of our actors and designers and fly them in from various locations from all over the country,” she explained.

A Packed House for August: Osage CountyThere are six productions held on the main stage of the 393- seat Arcade Theatre and three in the smaller studio theater, which comfortably seats 115 guests.

“Fascinatin’ Gershwin” is currently performing, and will do so through Sunday, March 15. Previews are held on Wednesday, Jan. 28, and Thursday, Jan. 29.

Dafeldecker said the review will feature all of Gershwin’s music.

“Around the World in 80 Days” will be held through Wednesday, March 4.

Dafeldecker said that performance is a family-friendly comedy that depicts five actors playing an array of different characters traveling the world.

“Dividing the Estate” will be held from Friday, March 20, through Wednesday, April 8, with previews Tuesday, March 17 through Thursday, March 19.

“Split in Three” will conclude the season with showings from Friday, April 24, through Sunday, May 10. Previews will be held from April 21, through April 23.

In addition to the productions, the theatre also has a thriving education department that sees 17,000 students every year. Programs include Children’s Theatre, Camp Florida Rep, Theatre Conservatory, Classes for Youth & Adults and “ACT UP!” for Children on the Autism Spectrum.

The Children’s Theatre includes Lunch Box Performances for $12 if booked in advance. She said acting interns put on children’s theatre pieces.

"Journey to Oz."

“Journey to Oz.”

“Journey to Oz,” an interactive piece about the “Wizard of Oz” will be held Sunday, Feb. 22, at 11 a.m., and the “True Story of the Three Little Pigs,” a rock musical for younger kids, will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28.

The Camp Florida Rep, open to kindergarten through 12th grade students, includes a two-week summer camp program and one-week winter and spring break program.

Dafeldecker said the camp which sells out every year, and puts on a full produced musical in two weeks.

The Theatre Conservatory is an audition-only program held February through May, designed for young actors with moderate to advanced level experience who are interested in theatre.

The classes held for youth and adults cover a vast array of areas that will help beginning artists, serious young artists, professionals and adults seeking something to do.

ACT UP provides youngsters ages 11 to 16 with an opportunity to learn basic acting skills through verbal and nonverbal communication, collaboration, creative movements and improvisation, while interacting with others and making new friends.

“We have fall, winter and spring classes and then in the summer we do summer camps,” Dafeldecker said.

For more information on the Florida Repertory Theatre, its many performances and upcoming camps, call 239-332-4488 or visit FloridaRep.org.

Shell Point Retirement Community

Shell Point Retirement Community offering a vibrant, warm and active lifestyle

Published in South Fort Myers Community Lifestyles August/September 2014 issue

A continuing care retirement community for individuals 60 years old and up nestled within Southwest Florida provides an abundance of amenities and programs to help guide residents on their own personal journey to better themselves.

Shell Point Resort Services and Wellness Manager Mary Franklin said although there has been recreational activities since it became a part of South Fort Myers community in 1968, it has grown throughout the years.

The community of Shell Point, located on the Caloosahatchee River, at 15101 Shell Point Blvd., Fort Myers, has 2,300 residents, is owned by the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and offers independent living and longterm care.

Shell PointA new community-wide program, LifeQuest, kicked off in January 2013 and has been very successful since its inception. All of the staff has been trained on the mission of LifeQuest and the four restaurants have included a LifeQuest menu, which features healthy options.

“LifeQuest has been an amazing program for us,” Franklin said. “We have seen a lot of residents inspired to make a change.”

Since the program was such a hit for the residents, it is also offered for the 960 employees.

Franklin said with the LifeQuest program, they created a dedicated service and name that brought it to the attention of residents.

The program focuses on six dimensions: physical; educational; community and social; emotional; spiritual and natural environment. Those six dimensions are tied into everything Shell Point has to offer and is carried throughout the residents’ personal journey.

“We are not tracking anything,” she said of each of the residents’ journey. “Every person sets their own personal goals that they don’t have to share and their own personal journey towards a balance in life. That’s their MyQuest.”

Residents are provided with tools, programs and support from dedicated staff, so they can fulfill that personal journey.

One of those tools includes a LifeQuest booklet and a wShell Point coverellness assessment. The assessment questions help the residents take an honest look at themselves through basic and difficult questions. Once the test is finished it provides the residents with a visual of what dimensions and goals they should tackle.

“We give them a booklet to write the goals and keep notes themselves,” she said.

Shell Point publishes a monthly magazine, Shell Point Life, which highlights special programs or services, as well as an individual or group of individuals that are living the LifeQuest lifestyle.

The magazine has highlighted a couple who has lost 80 pounds combined, as well as Shell Point Singers, a group that comes together to put on three to four performances a year.

Franklin said the group was highlighted because they are working together and hitting numerous dimensions, as they practice and work towards a common goal.

The educational dimension includes the Academy of Lifelong Learning, which is offered throughout the year. There are approximately 80 programs every quarter that range from light-hearted programs, such as coffee with a neighbor that shares a unique story, to learning about computers. She said 80 percent of the programs are taught by their very own residents.

“It’s a chance for them to give and share their life experiences,” Franklin said.

Outside professors and guest speakers are also brought in to provide further information on some of the class topics.

The emotional dimension is tougher to tackle, Franklin said, due to individuals going through their own personal emotions. She said there are 10 support groups offered throughout the property that provide assistance.

“We see the support when they do go through a challenge in life,” Franklin said. “When they are engaged, they have such a big support group of friendships right here in the community.”

Some of those include a Parkinson’s enrichment group, a care-givers support group, memory care and salon and spa.

“We also have our case managers, which are there to help our residents with transitions of moving from place to place or any life issues that come up,” Franklin said.

The spiritual dimension includes the Village Church that offers weekly worship services, Bible studies and Season of Praise concerts. She said since residents represent many religious backgrounds and beliefs, the spiritual dimension embraces, strengthens and grows the residents’ own spirituality.

The physical dimension is tackled through 35 fitness classes offered every week.

Shell Point also offers Health Connection, which offers such specialty classes as balance and higher intense water classes. The new LifeQuest aquatic center has a 99,000-gallon main recreation pool, which includes two-lap lanes, a 23,000-gallon therapy pool that has an easy-access ramp and adaptable water chair.

“We also bring in outside doctors in the community here at Shell Point or the Fort Myers community to educate our residents on different physical issues,” she said. “We also have presentations by Shell Point staff on ways they can enhance their physical abilities.”

Community and social is everything fun that Shell Point offers for its residents. There are more than 60 activity groups ranging from kayaking to bridge and pinochle, which are all run by residents. There are also 21 social programs offered from going out to dinner, to holiday celebrations, bringing in musicians and hosting a weekly farmers market on property.

Shell Point also has more than 60 volunteer groups, which includes participation from more than 50 percent of its residents. Last year, 116,000 volunteer hours were turned into staff.

“Our residents themselves give themselves and it makes a strong sense of community here,” she said.

The last dimension, natural environment, is unique to Shell Point because of its proximity to the Caloosahatchee River. The community runs educational programs and classes, as well as offer garden plots that the residents maintain.

The community also offers such things as walking paths, birding groups and a photography club for the natural environment dimension.

“One of the things that makes us unique is we have our very own marina,” Franklin said, which includes the Shell Point boat Suzy Q 5.

The residents volunteer as the mates and narrators as residents and guests go out for trips on the water, while learning about dolphins, manatees and the mangroves. The boat ride also includes a lunch outing at a different restaurant.

Franklin said although they offer six dimensions of wellness and programs are offered under each one, they realize that going for a walk is truly only physical for one person, while being emotional for another.

“We try to pick the most obvious dimensions, but that is why it is such a personal journey,” she said.

The Shell Point community, Franklin said is full of active residents that are always having fun and smiling.

In addition to the community-wide program, Shell Point offers an abundance of amenities. Some of those include the Shell Point Golf Club, an 18-hole championship golf course; state-of-the-art Medical Center with full-time staff physicians; Salon and Spa Services; on-site hotel and on-site dog park.