Theatre Academy

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


REGISTRATION CLOSED: Hershey Area Playhouse Gardens Camp 2019


Wish to add your child to the waitlist? Please contact Laurie Miller Petersen at [email protected]


2019 Summer Performance Camp

Weekdays Monday, June 17 through Friday, June 28 with an evening performance on Friday, June 28 starting at 6:30p

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]




Kids Camp Jr.
Adding Imagination to Performance

Age Group: Students entering grades 1-3
Cost: $135
Class Dates: 6/17/2019 to 6/28/2019
Class Schedule: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM

Our young campers will use their imaginations with scripted text to bring characters to life. The Actors’ Tools will be taught through drama games and exercises, along with movement and character work. The emphasis will be on storytelling as these young actors perform on stage.

Kids Camp
The Ah-ha! Moments

Age Group: Students entering grades 4-6
Cost: $160
Class Dates: 6/17/2019 to 6/28/2019
Class Schedule: 10:30 AM-12:30 PM

Our tweens and teens going into 4th-6th grades will explore the text of a script, understanding character, relationships, setting, and other details. As they understand the purpose of the script and its meaning, these actors often say “Ah-ha!” and incorporate winning details in their performances. This camp will give each child an opportunity to audition for a role, learn blocking and movement, costumes and how to perform with storytelling, with the audience always in mind.

Studio Workshop
Understanding the Character within the Text

Age Group: Students Entering Grades 7-12
Cost: $225
Class Dates: 6/17/2019 to 6/28/2019
Class Schedule: 1:30 PM- 4:30 PM

The older students will go through a professional performance experience. They will have the opportunity to audition for and perform a part in a published play. Drama exercises and games will focus on understanding character, movement and blocking, stage presence and sharing the stage. Teachers will encourage understanding of the text, in-depth character development, working with props and costumes ending with a professional performance for the audience.

Gardens Camp
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

Age Group: Grades 4-8
Cost: $275
Class Dates: 7/15/2019 to 7/26/2019
Class Schedule: 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED. If you wish to add your child to the wait list, contact Laurie Miller Petersen.

Hershey Gardens and the Hershey Area Playhouse’s are pleased to offer the popular Gardens Summer Theater Camp back for its seventh summer!

Monday classes will be held at the Hershey Area Playhouse on the campus of Country Meadows - Cherry Drive in Hershey.

Classes Tuesday through Friday are held at the Hershey Gardens - 170 Hotel Road in Hershey.

The camp will culminate with a performance of “Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass” at the amphitheater in The Children’s Garden, an original production of the classic tale written by local playwright Jennifer Feldser. Friends and family will be invited to a lunchtime performance in July. Please register early to reserve a spot as this is a sought after experience for area students and places fill up within the first two weeks of the lottery opening; we do also offer a waiting list.

This is a rigorous fast paced performance camp designed to hone student talent in a fun and supportive environment. Teachers will emphasize the importance of responsibility and respect for each other as well as the collaborative process of play production. Respect for others and daily attendance for the full three hours are necessary requirements for the good of the production and for each student to feel comfortable and able to perform their best. Staff reserves the right to reduce student roles or offer partial refunds if there are attendance or behavior issues.


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.