Stage Stormers

(610) 340-4341

All classes and performances held in
Owen J. Roberts School District

Welcoming students from all
surrounding school districts.

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PROGRAM TESTIMONIALS


Confidence is something that most adolescents struggle with. The ability to speak publicly, as well and express oneself is not inherent. However, through my experience with Stage Stormers summer program, I was able to discover my inner self-confidence, as well as help others discover theirs.

I started in the Stage Stormers program as a camper. As a preteen, my foible was a lack of assurance. Presenting myself and expressing my thoughts were always a challenge. I loathed having to publicly voice any idea, especially to my adult counterparts. But, I was always creative, my imagination ran rapidly and make believe was favorite activity. My parents asked me if I wanted to try a new activity, one that would allow creative expression as well as gain confidence, a summer theater group. I was soon casted in the coveted role as Michael Darling from Peter Pan, a lofty role for a kid with no experience. I studied my script religiously; there was no chance I was appearing on stage in front of anyone with risk of embarrassment. When the lights came on and the play began, I was hooked. The feeling of being able to perform and not only make the audience laugh, but tell a story, was exactly what I need to filled the void. I loved every second of being on stage, from the raising of the lights to the final bow. I came back to Stage Stormers every year, excited for a new opportunity each summer.

I continued with Stage Stormers well into my teens and began teaching my fellow young actors and actress. As Assistant Director of Stage Stormers, I was able to be part of the journey in a different, but just a rewarding role. The beginning weeks of the program were always the same, games played to spark imagination, ice breakers to get to know our cast, and eventually- auditions for roles. Then, we would work together, the cast as a whole, to put together a wonderful performance at the end of the season. We, as an ensemble, challenged each other; through the quick months of summer, the kids were able to present something that they were proud of.  Seeing the joy of accomplishment on their faces after every show was enough to understand the value of this program. The responsibility that comes with taking on a role, and knowing it in a few short months, you would get on stage and perform said role in front of a live audience, that experience is unmeasurable. Each child brought wonderful and special things to our show, but it was always the shy ones, the ones that blossomed through the program, that hold a special reminder. I was one of those kids, unsure of myself, timid, reclusive. Now, I could not think of different words to describe myself. Through the Stage Stormers program, I became confident, accountable, and ultimately, a teacher of these qualities to others. The pride I feel as a Stage Stormer is unmeasurable, and the skills I have gained through this experience have guided me through my entire life.

-Katie Heer
Student turned instructor


East Coventry Elementary has been blessed by Susan Wood's talent and leadership through the gift of Drama for the past 5 years. I have two daughters who have been learning under Susan during this time.  It has been amazing to watch my girls and their peers grow in confidence and skill under the tutelage of Susan. She has taught them many life skills as well such as how to handle unexpected circumstances, how to project their voice, beginner’s choreography and how to conduct themselves on stage. The confidence I saw emerge within my girls has been wonderful. My oldest is now in 8th grade and has used these skills every time she must get in front of her class. She has such a passion for Drama now. Susan has been known to rewrite a script in order that all children will have the opportunity to have a part in the show and have the ability to shine. Any school or company will be incredibly fortunate to have Susan’s talent and love for the theatre in their program! I can't speak highly enough about Susan Wood. She is a wonderful Director!

-Christine Wunder
Parent


Let me say what a fantastic experience Stage Stormers has been for both my kids this summer. They are excited, look forward to going everyday and they talk about it non-stop. I can't say enough how it has exceeded my expectations for them this year and in particular, for my daughter. She has made an entirely new set of friends and this play has brought her and brother even closer (which I didn't think was even possible!). The experience could not have come at a better time for her as she heads into high school.

-Kelly Erb
Parent


Although she likely did not know it at the time, Susan’s hard work in developing Stage Stormers lit a spark within our son that has ignited into a flame.  At the age of four, our son, Ben, showed an interest in musical theater.  He loved going to shows and wanted the chance to be on stage himself.  Not sure how to foster this interest at such a young age, we were so fortunate to find Susan’s Stage Stormers program.  True to their motto, Stage Stormers gave every child the opportunity to perform.  Theresa, the director, took a chance on Ben and cast him as Augustus Gloop at four years old.  He relished the opportunity and had the most amazing time performing.

That first summer, Ben fell in love with theater.  From then on, theater has become an integral part of his life.  Each of the next two summers, Ben returned to Stage Stormers and continued to develop as an actor.  Since then he has gone on to perform in numerous productions, culminating this past winter with the role of Ralphie in A Christmas Story.  We have stayed in contact with Susan through the years.  It was so great Susan could come see how Ben has grown and to see how her work many years ago truly transformed his life.  We will be forever grateful for her work and the opportunity she provided to Ben and other children to experience the joys of performing at a young age.

-Natalie Pedersen
Parent


I am very pleased to write on behalf of Susan Wilkinson-Wood. I have known her for eleven years, and every summer, for six of those years, I participated in her summer workshop, Stage Stormers. Having known Susan so long and benefitted greatly from her program, I am quite proud to vouch for her abilities.
         
It was a great privilege, working with Susan. As a director, she believed in the potential of every child. She saw each of us as absolutely vital to the success of the show. She was able to use each child’s individual and unique skill set effectively and in a way that made him or her feel like a truly necessary component of the performance.
         
However, making us all feel needed and important did not stop Susan from teaching us all the value of hard work and dedication, which she consistently rewarded.

Speaking from a more personal point of view, my own experiences at Stage Stormers introduced me to the wonderful world of theatre and shaped me into the person I am today. Without the gift of theatre that was introduced to me by Susan, I would have missed out on so much. Theatre has truly blessed me with so many valuable friendships and worthwhile experiences. Not only that, but it has also given me an important outlet for expression, which is something every person needs. Perhaps, most importantly, it has given me the opportunity to see the world, and help others see the world, from a perspective that is decidedly not my own. Had I never been introduced to theatre, I may have never learned to respect, value, and try to understand the “other side” in the way I do now, nor encouraged others to do the same.

It is deeply important for every child to have the opportunity to forge friendships, express him or herself, and see the world from a different perspective. When I was only five years old, Susan allowed me to experience these life changing opportunities by introducing me to theatre. I sincerely hope that she will be able to bless even more children with these vital and necessary gifts.

-Rose
Student


I have known Susan Wood for the past five years as the director of both the fall and spring musicals at my daughters’ school, East Coventry Elementary.  The amount of work it takes to organize such an accomplishment is nearly unfathomable to me.  As a current sixth grade teacher in a neighboring school district, I know the hardships of organizing and carrying out a school event; Susan navigates these responsibilities flawlessly.  Her communication with parents, school staff, and her young charges is enthusiastic, professional, and always timely.  Her meticulous attention to detail eliminates confusion among students and parents; something this working mom appreciates immensely.   Susan uses her own time and talents to create, construct, and carry out a performance that defies the age of its participants.  Susan has more patience than any person I have ever known!  Two years ago, I helped to organize the performers in a central location as audience members took their seats on the night of the performance.  In spending that thirty minutes with roughly thirty elementary aged performers, I got a small glimpse of what Susan experienced every practice.  To say that she can work and concentrate under the most tenuous of circumstances is an understatement. 
My girls have gained and honed new skills under Susan’s watchful eye.  She enforced a calm sense of team camaraderie among her cast.  The kids cheered each other’s successes and helped to encourage each other during challenges.  Each of my girls grew in confidence and presence as they practiced with Susan and the other performers.  When they stumbled, Susan offered suggestions for improvement and encouragement for perseverance, skills with amazing transfer power both to the academic setting and the “real world”.

It is my opinion that Susan would be a tremendous asset to any production team or initiative.  She will make a most distinguished addition to any school lucky enough to hire her.

If I can offer any additional insight or clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact me.

-Patti Kalbach
Parent


My first interaction with Susan Wilkinson-Wood was as a child in her summer Stage Stormers program, where a group of kids ranging in age, confidence, background, and experience met a few times a week to play games spurring imagination and to rehearse a play to perform at the end of the couple months. It was my first time taking ownership of my contribution to a production, and at nine years old, I was hooked. I returned to Stage Stormers for two years, and when I outgrew the age cap of that camp, I came back for an additional two for my very first “interning” experience. Susan constantly empowered me, as my director and later as my boss, to use my modest choreographing abilities and put my talents to work, letting them expand organically in my enjoyment of them.

That remains my greatest takeaway from those five years: Susan gave me so much trust in my own abilities, so much freedom to play with friends and as an actor on the stage, and enough space to discover my own inclinations as I approached adolescence. She knows how to connect with young people, never babying them or making them feel inferior or incapable, but instead challenging them in a supported and exciting way. She identifies their strengths, knows how to play to those affinities, and shows kids the magic of their collective efforts when they — often, by her own guidance — put aside differences.
With Susan’s program as my foundation, I’ve gone on to study acting in the university setting, where I currently complete my degree. For over two years I have been working at a highly competitive regional theatre, the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. I constantly contribute the love and respect I developed for my craft, and also (and maybe, even more importantly) my ability to empathize and collaborate with others, to the experiences I had in those most formative years of my childhood. Any school or organization would be incredibly lucky to have Susan serving their children and cultivating the artistry in each individual.

-Stephanie
Student


I have known Susan Wood for 7 years when our 6th graders started kindergarten at East Coventry. Susan was responsible for the drama club when my son, Stephen Hernandez, expressed interest in joining.  It was surprising to find out that Susan ran the drama club on her own with one student helper.  The drama club had many students because Susan wanted to give everyone a chance to participate in the play.  The students enjoy working with her because she gives them attention and makes them feel they are part of something bigger by being part of this drama team.

My son does not play sports. This was a great opportunity for him to shine as a performer, but also be part of a team that worked together to produce a show after weeks of rehearsals.  My son learned to be more outgoing and take chances on stage and was able to face his public speaking fears. The students are presented with medals after the play and this gives them a sense of accomplishment for their efforts.

Susan clearly has a passion for the arts and that is obvious when you see her manage this large student group to produce an entertaining production.  Her communications with the parents make things easier for us so that we know about everything we need to support our students and to make the play successful.  Producing a play is like managing a project and Susan has excelled at project management.  Every detail has to be managed from rehearsals, to music, to costumes, playbills and finally performance night. My son currently goes to French Creek where the drama club is run by team of women, not just one woman.  When I see this team of moms at FC, it makes me wonder how Susan was able to produce so many plays at East Coventry and come year after year to do it again.  I used the word “crazy” once when I saw what she has to do to, but really it’s called passion and that is what you get with Susan.

-Susan Shenberger
Parent


I am writing to you with regard to Susan Wood, with whom I worked for ten years with Stage Stormers Summer Theatre Workshop. Susan is the founder and Program Direction for Stage Stormers. During my time with the program, I worked as an assistant theatre director, was promoted to lead theatre director, and finally Assistance Director for the program. Susan’s professional mentorship, creative spirit, and dedication to the arts were the cornerstone of our program and contributed to my professional development.

As an assistant theatre director, I looked to Susan for guidance in creating a dynamic and engaging theatrical experience. Susan’s rehearsals were productive and exciting. In addition to blocking and rehearsing song and dance numbers, Susan spent time creating lessons to support understanding of the technical aspects of staging and theatre production. When promoted to lead theatre director, I used what I learned from Susan with my own students. Her guidance was the foundation to my students’ success and mine on stage.

Several years into the program, I was promoted to Assistant Program Director. As Susan’s assistant, I supported the distribution of program information to school districts, students, and parents. Susan created all rehearsal schedules, costume suggestion lists, and technical week documents. It was because of Susan’s excellent written and verbal communication skills, as well as being highly organized, that allowed me to effectively disseminate program information.

Finally, I attribute much of my professional success to the time I spent with Stage Stormers. At a very young, Stage Stormers gave me the opportunity to practice my instructional skills. Additionally, I learned strong communication and organization skills that I continue to uphold in my current teaching position. My time with the program encouraged creativity, something I strive for as I look for unique ways to engage my students in their learning.

I look forward to hearing of Susan’s success as she forges a new path in sharing her love of the arts with new districts and their families. Susan’s intelligence and drive will prove vital in creating a new theatrical experience. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

-Ms. Theresa Rose Murphy, M.Ed.
Instructor


As a parent (and a former high school theater "rat") I was delighted when first my daughter and later my son became involved with the Stage Stormers.

One of the foundational aspects of Stage Stormers was the promise that everyone who wants a part gets a part. Many after school activities stress the competitive realities of the outside world. If you are not good enough or on the fringes the message is you should stay, there.

The Stage Stormers family welcomed everyone with respect and dignity.  How many kids, who normally would get a second glance in the real world, would blossom once the curtain came up! How many tremendous adults emerged from that one brief shining moment on a Stage Stormers stage. And all those other kids where there to see each other’s' magical moments occur.

These miracles occurred due to a group of dedicated, experienced, invested staff (including, for a time, my daughter) offering a well-organized professional program.

At the helm: Susan was the role model for her talented staff and it was her vision that permeated and inspired. As outsiders looking in my wife and I knew both of our kids were in good hands with Susan and her staff.

It is my fervent hope that Susan will begin another youth theater program someday. And if the experience is half as good as the one my family had, it will be enough.

-Tom Heer
Parent


Susan Wood has been a vital part of my growth as an artist. Before joining the Stage Stormers program at around the age of ten I had the mindset that the arts were obtainable. Meaning that giving me the opportunity to act opened doors for me as a creative person. Eventually however I outgrew the program. When I received a flyer the next year, I didn't want to stop participating in
the theatre.

After having watched Susan throughout the years I knew that my interests pertained less to being center stage and more to work behind the scenes. I asked to help her manage and direct the show and Susan was more than willing to let me have a go at it. As Stage Stormers came to an end, neither of us were ready to let go of children's theatre. At this point I had begun to explore fields of the arts as viable career choices and ultimately fell in love with cinema. I continued to assist my mentor when she began directing East Coventry Drama Club. As the programs grew in size and complexity so did both of our skills and love for the theatre.

As I write this note, as a sophomore in film school it might be important to note, in high hopes that these programs can continue to inspire kids like me to think creatively and give them the confidence to do what they love. I'm not sure I would have had the courage to live what I love if it hadn't been for the accessibility to a community acting program and all of Susan Wood's endeavors throughout my young adult life.

-Sarah Davies
Past student and current instructor


I do not have very specific recollections of Stage Stormers, because I was so young when I did the program. What I do remember is that I was ecstatic to partake in the show every summer. I was in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin. When I think about Stage Stormers, I think about how enjoyable the experiences were. I also remember how sad I was when my parents told me that Stage Stormers was shutting down. I would not be doing theatre right now if not for Stage Stormers. I have a strong passion for theatre, and I would not have found that if I had not partaken in this program.

-Ben
Student

 

Stage Stormers is a part of the Owen J. Roberts School District Summer Enrichment program.
© 2018 Stage Stormers