Senior Switches From Church Pulpit to Theatre Stage
Anne Wrider traveled a lot in her role as a priest with the Episcopal Church. In 2000, she relocated from Chicago to Cincinnati where she became involved in the community theatre movement. It inspired her love for acting, but she did not take the hobby seriously until she neared retirement.
A year ago, Anne retired from the Church. She sold her house and moved back to Chicago to pursue acting professionally. “People say, ‘How courageous of you to start a whole new career at age 67,’” says Anne. “But it doesn’t feel like courage, really, it feels more like a big new adventure!”
The Journey to Self-Discovery
Anne has spent the majority of her life helping others. She began her career as a social worker after graduating with a master’s degree. At 30 years old, she entered seminary school, then dedicated the next three decades to serving others through God.
When her son went to college, she found herself alone. Wanting to branch out and meet new people, Anne decided to try her hand at community theatre. She auditioned and was cast as the nurse in “The Gondoliers” in South Holland, Illinois. She has been hooked on acting and performing ever since.
Acting quickly became an all-consuming passion of Anne’s. She desired more training than books and videos could offer. A professional mentor recommended that she apply to programs in New York City to further her craft. Eventually, she was accepted into a six-week, intensive program at the William Esper Studio, which boasts famous alumni such as Kathy Bates, Jeff Goldblum and Patricia Heaton.
The Liberation That Comes With Age
The transition from clergy member to actress might sound strange to some people, but Anne found it to be a natural fit after speaking in front of her congregation week after week.
Anne considers herself lucky, as she can afford to follow a dream. While she tries to establish herself in this new role, she still has the safety net of a pension and Social Security.
“I’ve accomplished all of the milestones I wanted for myself—raised a child, had a successful career—and now I have the freedom to try something new,” says Anne. “I’ve accomplished so much else in life and now have the freedom to have more fun—I just love getting older!”
Hilary Young is a writer dedicated to helping older Americans live healthier, more fulfilling lives. She currently blogs for HuffPost50, Fifty Is The New Fifty and BlogHer. You can find her on Twitter as @hyoungcreative.