MCCC Presents "The Romantics" Outdoor Immersive Experience June 5-6 


West Windsor – The stage has been set for a unique immersive experience at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) during the first weekend in June. “The Romantics” – a devised performative collage outdoor performance -- is the brainchild of MCCC Theatre and Dance Company coordinator Jody Gazenbeek-Person. 

As audience members meander through and around the campus, they will come upon dance, poetry and theatrical scenes. 

Audience size is limited to 50 for each of the performances, which are scheduled for Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The rain dates are June 12-13 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.  

A special performance for those with mobility concerns is planned for 4 p.m. Friday, June 5 (rain date June 11). The audience members can remain seated the entire time. 

“The idea for this production hit me due to the pandemic,” Gazenbeek-Person said. “This has been a challenging time for everyone. The one beautiful thing to come out of these awful times was people’s return to nature … taking hikes, houseplant collecting, gardening, joining bird-watching groups. It struck me to move with the positive parts of our time. A lot of people haven’t heard of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing). People are much more inspired to nature at the moment, and I thought ‘why not take our community in Mercer County deeper?’”

“In between the performance moments we’re actually doing a horticultural walk and will teach the audience the principals of Japanese forest bathing – nature is the energizing force. When you breathe those things in, you build your immunity – Japanese scientists have proven that forest bathing improves short-term memory, reduces stress, increases creativity and has many other health benefits.” 

“The Romantics” will harness the talents of MCCC’s Kennedy American College Theatre Festival award-winning Company. The cast includes many Mercer County residents, with East Windsor, Ewing, Lawrence, Princeton, Robbinsville and Trenton represented. 

 “This is a unique event,” Gazenbeek-Person said. “All the various art forms tend to do one of two things: make people more empathetic or change their thinking. We are going to do both of those things, we are actually going to be affecting people’s health in a positive way, they’re going to walk away feeling a little healthier, and they’re likely to be more sympathetic to others.” 

Studies have shown that forest bathing increases prosocial aspirations and generosity. 

"People who do forest bathing are more likely to be helpful in their communities," Gazenbeek-Person said.

He hopes that as participants are "bathed in a forest atmosphere,” they will have an opportunity to commune with nature and relax after the challenges of the past year. 

The performance is two hours with a 10-minute intermission. Audience members can wear masks if it makes them comfortable, and it is asked that social distancing be maintained. The invigorating event will cross many terrains: walking on grass, gravel, and concrete; and up and down small hills. 

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or a walker to sit during the performances. 

 For further details and to purchase tickets visit


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The Romantics


Mercer County Community College alumna Natalie Bogach of East Windsor is part of the cast for"The Romantics," scheduled for Saturday and Sunday June 5 and 6 on the West Windsor campus. Members of MCCC's award-winning theatre and dance program will present the innovative production. There will be a special production on Friday, June 4 at 4 p.m. for anyone with mobility issues. For tickets, please visit   (Photo credit: MCCC student Abigail Acolia, Stage Manager)