Theatre Academy

Developing Excellence – Growing Creativity
All sessions are held at Hershey Area Playhouse at Country Meadows, Sandhill Road at Cherry Drive, Hershey, PA

2019 Fall Semester

Saturdays starting September 21, 2019, until November 9, 2019.

Acting classes, like dance classes, are repeatable and build on natural cycles of learning with age-appropriate skills to help children expand imaginations and more experienced students perfect technique. 

Click on the link below to register which will hold a space for your child, then simply print and mail your completed registration form and check to us at Hershey Area Playhouse Theatre Academy – PO Box 713 – Hershey PA 17033. We apologize we cannot accept registrations over the phone or at our box office. 


Step #1- Registration is open – Complete this online form to hold a spot (hurry- spots fill up fast!)
Online Registration Form

Step #2- Mail a copy of this form with your registration check to Hershey Area Playhouse - PO Box 713- Hershey, PA 17033

Questions? Please contact Jill Panyard at [email protected]




Creative Kids
Character Creation

Age Group: Students entering grades 1-3
Cost: $130
Class Dates: 9/21/2019 to 11/9/2019
Class Schedule: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM

Our youngest students will continue to explore the actors’ tools of body, mind, and voice. Through a variety of new theater games, as well as old favorites, students will be learning how to create different characters and build scenes and stories around them.  

Acting It Up
Show Don't Tell

Age Group: Students entering grades 4-6
Cost: $130
Class Dates: 9/21/2019 to 11/9/2019
Class Schedule: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM

Through a variety of theater games, students will be learning how to create realistic and ridiculous scenes with a beginning, middle, and end. They will use the actors’ tools to focus, act and react.

Theatre Arts Studio
But What I Really Want To Do Is...

Age Group: Students Entering Grades 7-12
Cost: $150
Class Dates: 9/21/2019 to 11/9/2019
Class Schedule: 1:00 PM- 3:00 PM

For the first time, the Playhouse's theater academy will offer student directing.  Students will be guided through choosing a scene from a play or musical, choosing their actors, and crafting a scene through blocking and character motivation. The actors’ tools are always included in the class with games, exercises, and improv.


Meet Our Staff

Ms. Cory Wilkerson

Cory Wilkerson is a director and performer specializing in theatre for youth, who trained in the UK.  Former artistic director of WOW! Theatre. Ms. Wilkerson has taught acting both here and in Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Wilkerson is a recipient of a Pennsylvania State Legislature Certificate of Achievement for her work with children and youth.  When not directing or teaching, Ms. Wilkerson is a national arts education consultant.

Ms. Jennifer Feldser

Jen has been with the Playhouse since the beginning, teaching, directing and working behind the scenes as stage manager for many of the productions.  When Jen is not doing theatre she is busy keeping track of dramatic elementary students as a children’s librarian and running the Steelton-Highspire school drama club.

Ms.  Laurie Miller Petersen

Laurie comes to us straight from New York with professional credits in Stage Combat from both theatre and film industries.  Laurie holds a degree in theatre from the prestigious Northwestern University and has been teaching for the playhouse since 2009.

Ms. Jill Panyard

Jill Panyard is an area director and acting teacher and Executive Director of Encore! Productions. Jill directs acts and specializes in teaching young people how to act. Her students have captured several nominations at the Apollo Theatre awards.

Ms. Debra Macut

Debra holds a BA in drama and psychology and an MFA in Acting from Catholic University of America. She has enjoyed a successful career in professional theatre, performing throughout the United States, and has an extensive teaching background with over 20 years of teaching experience.

Lisa Lutton Weitzman

Lisa holds a Master's degree in drama from Villanova University and a BS in education from PSU. From its inception in 2001 to 2016, she taught theater at The Capital Area School for the Arts Charter and is a former adjunct professor at Harrisburg Area Community College. Lisa is one of the founding members of both Wow! Theatre in Education and the Coffee With Crones theater company and also TMI and No Artificial Sweeteners Improv troupes. She continues to study acting and has participated in summer intensives in New York City and Toronto, Canada.


Rebecca Wolf

Rebecca is new to the playhouse but is no stranger to live theater. She has directed, music directed, stage managed and performed in countless productions including professional and community theater. By day, Rebecca is a mom and homeschools her five-year-old son, but by night she is generally teaching piano or voice in her private studio or working on a production at a theater. Recent credits include Yours, Anne (Director, vocal director, pianist), Beauty and The Beast (Mrs. Potts), Seussical the Musical (Sour Kangaroo), and she looks forward to music directing RENT this summer in York.


Class Registration Policies and Refund Procedures

Hershey Area Playhouse Theatre Academy and Theatre Academy Players educational programs and classes are open to all, subject to minimum and maximum ages/grades, experience and class sizes posted in the program descriptions. Registrations are accepted by mail on a first-come-first-serve basis.

In addition, siblings (two or more students living in the same household) registering are each eligible for a $5.00 discount per program.

We will do our best to accommodate each student’s needs. When reasonable accommodation is not possible, concerns will be addressed directly with those involved. Students are requested to disclose needs or other pertinent information at the time of registration.

All refunds are subject to a $15 non-refundable processing fee. If/when students drop out of a class, the amount refunded is pro-rated, based on the number of classes attended/remaining, after deducting the non-refundable $15 processing fee.

Occasionally, because of the age, experience and number enrolled, some programs have to be merged, combined or cancelled. In these instances, our goal is always to provide our programs to as many students as possible.

Decisions of the Playhouse Board member coordinating the programs of Hershey Area Playhouse Theatre Academy and Theatre Academy Players are final.


Contact us at 717.533.8525 or [email protected] if you have questions about future Hershey Area Playhouse Theatre Academy programs.