Steel River Playhouse has hired Aileen McCulloch, Vagabond Acting Troupe’s Founder and Executive Artistic Director, as Education Director, effective immediately. From Morgantown, PA, McCulloch was specifically brought on to revitalize Steel River’s educational arts program and guide the company in the final steps to become a leading educational theatrical program in the region.
McCulloch has spent nearly 30 years teaching, directing, and developing educational arts programming at a number of arts programs throughout the region, including Vagabond, the Philadelphia Young Playwrights, Pennsylvania Performing Arts Academy, and Young Audiences of Eastern Pennsylvania. She also works part time as the Middle School Theater Teacher at the prestigious college preparatory institution, The Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, PA.
For the past five years, McCulloch’s work with Vagabond’s education program has been recognized in the top five list of the PHL-17 Hotlist for Outstanding Children’s Theater, topping it in 2014. During her tenure, Vagabond has also garnered several Barrymore Award nominations, and won an award for Outstanding Collaboration with Penn’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
“I began Vagabond as an educational company, and it has flourished for almost a quarter of a century,” said McCulloch. “I hope to renew Steel River’s education program to reach the same level of outreach and reputation. With this great facility and Steel River’s first rate staff, I am confident that we can give the Tri-County Region’s children the same amazing first steps into the world of theater, music, dance and associated fine arts.”
McCulloch plans to meet with current and past students and parents in round tables to explore what Pottstown area families are seeking in arts education. “Our education department is strong, but we expect that Aileen will give it the organizational push it needs to take it to the next level of outreach and program building,” said Leena Devlin, Managing Director of Steel River Playhouse. “The stronger our educational programs, the better we can be in developing Pottstown as a hub of arts and culture for the Tri-County Region. The future of the arts is in our children, and Steel River wants to give them all the opportunities that we can.”
Steps have also already been taken to expand home school daytime offerings, and to bring more theatrical production workshops to Steel River. McCulloch will continue to develop a strong intern-development relationship with area colleges to facilitate opportunities for local students who are looking for hands on experience before hitting the highly competitive theatrical workforce.
“My experience has proven to me that students learn best through hands-on projects that allow them to practice the craft,” says McCulloch, noting that this approach has been at the center of the success of other education programs she has lead. She hopes to develop a strong workshop program to work in tandem with the organization’s existing music, theater and arts classes, and summer program productions.
Current and potential students can meet McCulloch and the rest of the education staff at Steel River’s Education Open House scheduled for Saturday, August 29 from 10am to 12pm and Sunday, August 30 from 1pm to 3pm. Attendees will be able to sample some of this fall’s private lessons, group classes and workshops. Registration is now open for the fall session, which begins September 14, 2015.
More information and Aileen’s extensive resume can be reviewed at www.steelriver.org.
Theater/Organization Steel River Playhouse
Theater/Organization Website: http://www.steelriver.org
Theater/Organization Address: 245 East High Street Pottstown, Pennsylvania 19464 (Map It)
Theater/Organization Phone: (610) 670-1199