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When I moved to Maryland from Minnesota in 1996, I found that there were no theater companies for children in our new area. I started teaching for Park and Recreation in the fall of 1996 as a theater teacher. Our first class had two students and I quickly doubled enrollment when I brought in my own two children to the first class. Our class quickly filled to the point where we had a waiting list and where we had to add additional classes. My curriculum was so popular, that I quit my job teaching theater and vocal music at Hagerstown Community College and started our own performing arts school for children.
My two personal children have both graduated from college with degrees in the arts. More than 70% of the children that graduate from our program have graduated from college with degrees that have some emphasis on the arts or arts education. Many are working professionally in the arts.
We now have two thriving schools in Hagerstown, Maryland and Leesburg, Virginia. We also travel with production camps and workshops. We produce over twenty main stage productions a year and forty smaller productions. We offer classes from arts-based preschool enrichment, home school classes and evening classes in theater, music (vocal and instrumental), dance and productions. We have worked with thousands of fabulous young artists and the numbers keep climbing. We offer sliding scale scholarships to students in financial need so that no child is denied a quality arts education. In addition to this, we offer a STARS program on the last Saturday of every month to children who qualify for free or reduced lunch in public schools; an all day, 9am to 5pm performance workshop with a full production in the evening.
Our success is evident in the students that we work with every day and the ones who have graduated from our program. Our goal is not simply to turn out professional performers, but to raise young artists who will make the arts part of their every day lives. I have the best company in the world, helping to create the dreamers and doers of tomorrow.