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Upper Darby Summer Stage Now Independently Run And Free For Upper Darby Residents

Upper Darby Summer Stage is an award winning summer theater program that has served thousands of Upper Darby residents in its 47 years of existence.

The Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation, Upper Darby Township, and the Upper Darby School District are pleased to announce the execution of a memorandum of understanding regarding the ownership and management of Upper Darby Summer Stage. This agreement has been months in the making, as all three entities have worked together on an agreement that will best serve the residents of Upper Darby and position its nationally acclaimed Summer Stage program for sustained success for generations to come.

Upper Darby Summer Stage is an award winning summer theater program that has served thousands of Upper Darby residents in its 47 years of existence. The School District andTownshiphave each supported the program since its inception. With this agreement, all three organizations have proudly pledged their continued support for this nationally known educational program.

Under the new management structure, Harry Dietzler retired from the township and school district position as Executive Artistic Director of Summer Stage and will now serve as Executive Director of the Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation. "In the past, Summer Stage was funded as a joint venture between the District and the Township," Dietzler explained, "I'm thrilled that the UDAEF is in a position to take this burden off the taxpayers, and that Summer Stage will now be directly supported by the community it serves. I am also immensely grateful for everything the Township and School District have done for this program since we founded it in 1976, and I appreciate the continued support that they have pledged in this agreement."

The Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation LLC is now solely responsible for the management and operations of Summer Stage. UDAEF is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit that has been dedicated to serving the Upper Darby Community for the past 22 years. "I can think of no better home for Upper Darby Summer Stage to ensure its posterity and carry on Harry's legacy for generations to come," says UDAEF board president Terry Tracy. "As an alumnus, I know firsthand the profound impact these programs have on the lives of everyone involved. As a resident, I know the intrinsic value - educational, cultural, and economic - these programs have to our community and region. We are wholeheartedly committed to using our unique position as an institution to raise capital, expand access, and bring joy to a community we love in every conceivable way."

The Township has committed to a $125,000 annual scholarship program in an effort to make Summer Stage free for up to 400 eligible children that reside in Upper Darby. This scholarship program represents a significant investment in ensuring expanded and equitable access to the program for all Upper Darby youth. Any resident within the age groups that the program serves, regardless of their background, is eligible for free registration for Summer Stage, subsidized by the township. Scholarships are available on a first come, first served basis, and have no other financial requirements. The scholarship application, along with the Summer Stage registration information, can be found here.

"I am dedicated to making the arts easily accessible to the children of Upper Darby and a large part of that is ensuring that Upper Darby kids go free to Summer Stage," Mayor Keffer said. "Part of our goals to reinvest in this community begins with investing in our youth by giving them the tools they need to not only grow as students, but succeed as well and the arts plays such an important role in that. We are excited about this new partnership and are dedicated to ensuring it thrives."

The Upper Darby School District Performing Arts Center has always been the home of Summer Stage, and that is not changing with this agreement. The Performing Arts Center will continue to host spectacular Summer Stage performances, and hundreds of students will use the District facilities throughout the summer.

"It is with the great pleasure of the Upper Darby Board of School Directors that the High School Auditorium, better known as the Performing Arts Center, will remain a source of pride in our community and the home of the world renowned Summer Stage Program," said Upper Darby School Board President Edward Brown.

"It took a collaborative effort of the Upper Darby School District, the Upper Darby Township, and the Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation to unravel a complex arrangement and to restructure it in a way that will benefit the many young people who thrive in this amazing program," continued Brown. "I am pleased that a difficult process fueled by the passion of many stakeholders was able to be resolved due to the collective focus on the children and community. All three groups contribute greatly to the quality of life of the residents of Upper Darby and beyond so it made sense to find a workable solution that allows each group to protect its interest and its stakeholders. The Upper Darby School District and the Board of School Directors look forward to a successful partnership and collaboration for many years to come."

The Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation is proud to offer Summer Stage programs for its first time in 2022. Summer Stage programs will run from mid-June through mid-August, and programs are available to children from the ages of 10-17. The technical theatre program serves students interested in joining the technical crew, and Summer Stage MainStage serves adults aged 18-28. Registration for these programs is available here.

The Foundation's other programs are also expanding, including the Brad Schoener MusicMan Academy for youth music education. MusicMan Academy Camps begin June 21st and operate until mid-August.. Learn more about Musicman Academy programs here.

The Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation is heartened by the support it has already received by community residents who have contributed to Summer Stage and to the UDAEF's mission of supporting the arts and education in our community. Even prior to this agreement with the District and Township, UDAEF had raised nearly $500,000 to support ongoing operations, and since then the community has continued to contribute. Those interested in supporting the Foundation's continued growth and success can donate to The Upper Darby Arts and Education LLC online using this link, or by check to Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation, 1051 Pontiac Road #707, Drexel Hill, PA 19026.

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