HOLIDAY CHANGES

Here at STAGES, we continue to evaluate and assess our commitment to celebrating diversity and inclusion. In that spirit, we recognize that – like many other organizations – our programming schedule over the years has been directly influenced by the Christian holiday calendar. Earlier this fall, we created more space in our calendar for young people, their families, and our staff to observe a wider array of additional holidays without missing out on STAGES programming. A list of holidays appears below. 

We are excited to learn about more of the traditions and celebrations that make the STAGES community unique, and we are committed to making an effort to recognize and celebrate different cultures throughout the year.

STAGES administrative offices, and all programs/activities will be CLOSED on the following holidays:

New Year’s Day
Martin Luther King Jr Day
*President’s Day
*Patriot’s Day
Memorial Day
Juneteenth
Independence Day
Labor Day
Indigenous Peoples Day
Veterans Day
All of Thanksgiving Week
The last 2 weeks of December (including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve)

*President’s Day and Patriot’s Day begin the February and April school vacation weeks, respectively. STAGES will be closed on these days, with the exception of any M-F vacation daycamp programs taking place.

STAGES administrative offices may be open on the following holidays – but there will be no rehearsals, class meetings or performances; and, staff members observing any of these holidays are excused from work:

Passover (first night)
Ramadan (first night)
Eid-al-Fitr
Eid-al-Adha
Rosh Hashanah
Yom Kippur
Hanukkah (first night)

We invite feedback from the STAGES community about this list, including any omissions, or suggestions about how we can make our program more welcoming for our young people and their families. Contact us any time!




Accountability

STAGES Youth Theater recognizes and acknowledges the decisions and actions made in our past that have had a negative impact on the students, families, co-workers, and audience members in our community.

At times during the past fifteen years, we have chosen to produce shows that were not representative of our current community, and failed to practice race-conscious casting in doing so. We have not done our part to challenge the rights-holders of shows containing problematic themes and content, and instead have continued to present these plays and musicals with all-student casts. We have not done nearly enough to make our programs more accessible and welcoming for students who are not white and affluent. We have often relied on BIPOC Teaching Artists and students to bear the responsibility of helping STAGES create a more diverse program, instead of our predominantly white organization doing the work to make this happen.

We accept complete responsibility for our mistakes (including others not listed above) and apologize for the times when our activities may have hurt, confused, frustrated, excluded, or otherwise harmed anyone in the STAGES community.

KYLE AARONS (he/him)

Kyle grew up in a small town outside of Erie, PA.  It was there, at the Erie Playhouse, that he found his passion for all things musical.  From there, he obtained his BFA in Musical Theatre from SUNY Fredonia, moving right into an international children’s theatre tour upon graduation.  For 2 years, he traveled the US and Canada, teaching over 5000 students and traveling over 25,000 miles.  In 2013, he found his way to Maine and has been here ever since!

Over the last 8 years, Kyle’s work has been seen on stages up and down the coast line as an actor, music director, fight choreography, playwright, director, pit musician, and private coaching.  While off stage, he is very interested in theatre history and exploring the topics of classical musical theatre and drama and how they are still relevant in today’s world.  He also has a slight obsession with Sondheim musicals… very slight.  But whether he’s on or off stage, he’s just thrilled to be in the theatre.  It’s been his home for over two decades and he can’t wait to help more students find the home of their own!

Kyle joined the STAGES team in 2020. He has been a Teaching Artist and Music Director, and is the co-director for the 2021-22 Shakespeare Ensemble.

Kyle aged 16 on the set of West Side Story – playing Action

MARK MAGEE (he/him)

Mark is an artist, actor and movie/theater buff who lives in Portland, Maine.

Since 2013, he has regularly participated in Portland’s fringe festival, PortFringe, along with his creative partner-in-crime, Ashley Kotzur (Finyette Productions). Mark and Ashley also co-hosted a goofy WMPG FM radio show called The Portland Files from 2014 to 2020. Mark led a weekly art group at the Preble Street Teen Center in Portland for 5 years and currently contributes voice work to the Business Pants podcast available on Spotify and iTunes.

After finding Portland’s creative community somewhat late in life, Mark is excited to help young people at Stages discover how rewarding artistic expression can be. 

Mark joined the STAGES team in 2019. He is a Teaching Artist, a scenic painter, and the co-director of the 2021-22 Young Performers Ensemble.

Mark at age 11 in his bicentennial leisure-suit!

STACEY KOLOSKI (she/her)

Stacey is a theater director, designer, playwright, and arts community activist in Portland. When not at STAGES, she works regularly with Theater at Monmouth and Mad Horse Theatre Company (where she has been a member of the resident ensemble since 2015). She is also the co-founder of PortFringe-Maine’s Fringe Festival, and is the Vice President for the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals.

Stacey spent 11 years as a fundraising management consultant for non-profit organizations before co-founding STAGES (with Hollye Seddon) in 2007. It’s been an amazing ride and she still loves working at STAGES where she can split her time joyfully between managing spreadsheets, developing new dramatic work for young people, and wielding a hot glue gun in the prop or costume shop!

As a member of the STAGES Team, Stacey is the Managing Director, designer, director, playwright and other roles; and was the co-founder (with Hollye Seddon) of STAGES Youth Theater in 2007.

Stacey at age 4!

SHANNON WADE (she/her)

Shannon is a puppet maker, puppeteer, performer and arts administrator! As a former shy kid who was brought out of her shell by theater, Shannon absolutely loves seeing the same thing happen with our students. She is energized every day by hearing young people’s amazingly creative ideas and thoughts on the world, and finds a lot of joy being in constant touch with her inner kid.

Shannon has been lucky enough to teach and perform with arts organizations across the country, including the Yocum Institute for Arts Education (PA), Portland Stage Company (ME), and the Omaha Theater Company at The Rose (NE).

Shannon spends her free time biking, reading, playing board games, and soaking up the sea and sunshine.  

As a member of the STAGES Team, Shannon is the Director of Education, show director, music director, designer, teaching artist, and many other roles!

Baby Shannon!

HOLLIE PRYOR

Hollie has been making theatre in the Portland area since 2014. After getting her B.A. in Theatre from The University of Southern Maine, Hollie joined the STAGES team in the fall of 2018, and has been directing, writing, acting, and teaching here ever since! When Hollie’s not making magic happen at STAGES, she can be found drinking iced lattes and doing jigsaw puzzles while hanging out with her cool cat, Oracle.

Hollie has directed plays for The Theater Project in Brunswick and Polyphonic Theatre Ensemble in Portland, as well as plays featured in Portland’s PortFringe Festival and FringePVD in Providence, RI. Hollie was also chosen to be a featured playwright for the 2020 (now 2021!) Maine Playwright’s Festival! Some of her favorite acting roles include Snout/THE WALL in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Fenix Theatre Company in Deering Oaks Park, and Luca in STAGES’s original production, The Songbird. Her most favorite award she’s ever received is “The-Most-Cheese-Consumed-in-a-Single-Performance-Award” from FringePVD! 

As a member of the STAGES team, Hollie is a director, choreographer, designer, teaching artist, TYA performer, programming manager, and other roles!

MEGAN TRIPALDI (she/her/they/them)

Megan Tripaldi (She/Her/They/Them) is an actor, bi-coastally produced playwright, and educator living and working in Portland, ME. They graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a BA in Theatre in 2012 and are currently in pursuit of their Masters Degree in Playwriting at Goddard College.

They have had plays produced in Maine, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Washington, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and California. They love performing with their company, Polyphonic Theatre Ensemble (now a federal non-profit!) and creating new and exciting pieces for PortFringe – Maine’s Fringe Festival every year. 

STAGES has always held a special place in their heart and they are so excited to be a part of the team!

As a member of the STAGES team, Megan is a director, a designer, a teaching artist, director of the PlayBox program, and many other roles!

Megan making music at age 17!

COLIN WHITEMAN (he/him)

Since my first days of singing with the Boy Singers of Maine back in 1998, to my performances across Europe, to Marketing and performing for opera companies in Brooklyn and on 42nd st, the thing that has kept me going is my passion for music.

Growing up in Maine, my options for musical training were limited. Both my parents being working class people with very little musical background, they gave me as many opportunities as they could, but I knew if I wanted to make a life out of this I would have to seek training elsewhere. I auditioned for several conservatories around the country, and was fortunate to be accepted into the Opera program at SUNY Purchase. I had never even heard an opera before I made my decision to go there, but I knew the training would be top notch, and the experience would be priceless. 

I instantly fell in love with the classical style of singing. The idea that we can train our bodies to produce a sound louder than a full orchestra was enough to send shivers down my spine. But as I continued through the program I also became addicted to the poetry, the history, and the culture around classical music. 

After leaving college,  I spent several years performing around Europe and Manhattan. Each new role I learned brought with it new challenges, but equally as many lessons. I was privileged to work with incredible directors and conductors throughout this time, and I will never forget those opportunities.

After moving back to Maine, several months prior to the covid pandemic, I found a new passion in songwriting. I explored many new genres of music trying to find my personal sound. I’m still looking for it, but what it has shown me, is that music has power in all styles. We have all heard a piece at a moment in our lives when we truly needed it and it built us up, or made us reflect on moments in our lives we missed. Through music, we are able to portray emotions that we do not have words for. We are able to share experiences, feelings, dreams, through a language that speaks universally to the soul.

It really seems wild that when I break down what I do, in basic terms, it’s breathing in and yelling in pretty tones. But I know the emotions, passions, and love I have experienced throughout this journey would not have been possible if that was all it was.

Now that the world has paused, and the pandemic has shuttered performance halls around the world, I find myself often wondering why music is important. Why should I continue to focus on something that no longer seems viable as a means to support myself? The short answer is that it is what I have done my entire life, it is what I have dreamed of doing ever since I first set foot on Lyric Music theater’s stage as a Munchkin in the Wizard of Oz over twenty years ago. Why would I do anything else? 

Music can be a healing tool, it can bring joy even in the darkest of times. Singing, is just another way of accessing that universal language that connects us all. My hope is that as we move forward as a society, we all get a chance to make a little more music.

As a member of the STAGES Team, Colin is a music director, a sound/music recording engineer, a teaching artist, the voice instructor in the private lessons studio, and many other roles!

Colin in high school!

REBECCA CARON (she/her)

Rebecca spent most of high school telling her parents that she didn’t want to play piano professionally. She now plays piano professionally, and is sure that “I told you so” passes through her parents’ heads every time they see her.

Rebecca started taking piano lessons when she was about 8, but has been surrounded by music since birth – both her parents play piano, and she’s just one in a line of generations of musicians on her dad’s side of the family. Her interests and career goals have gone through several transitions – when she was little, she wanted to be a dancing farmer – but she played in her first theater orchestra when she was sixteen and got hooked.

Nowadays, Rebecca is a full-time music director, pianist and teaching artist. She travels around Central and Southern Maine, working with all ages in schools, community choirs, and theaters. She especially loves getting young people excited about the arts.

As a member of the STAGES team, Rebecca is a music director, director, choreographer, teaching artist, the piano instructor in the private lessons studio, and many other roles!

Rebecca at age 8!