I first became involved with the Pennsylvania Theatre of Performing Art over 20 years ago when I was still in high school and the theatre was located at the former Grace United Church of Christ on Laurel Street. The theatre and PTPA space have been truly formative in my life, with the friends and memories I made at that time helping me in immeasurable ways during my young adulthood.
When I returned to community theatre in 2012 it was once again the PTPA that opened its doors and arms to me. The PTPA became a space for me to exercise artistic expression through performance and direction for which I am truly appreciative. Working with scores of talented people from northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond at the PTPA has been a continuous learning and teaching experience that I truly cherish.
As a member of the theatre’s board of directors since 2018 and incoming President of the board, I hope to contribute to others finding the same supportive home at the PTPA as I have. In this most trying of times the theatre should continue to be a space that is both safe AND challenging. Safe for children and adults of all experience levels, races, ethnicities, and affinities to healthily express and be themselves through art and performance; but also challenging to the organization and the community to continue to grapple with big ideas, philosophical questions, and topical social issues so that we may grow as an inclusive, informed, and compassionate society.
Above all, it is my sincerest hope that this theatre continues to be a beacon for youth and young adults to develop their talents, skills, and personalities; and a place for the community to partake in quality entertainment that is both professional and homegrown. There is truly nothing else exactly like community theatre, in terms of what it offers to those both onstage and in the audience, and now more than ever we need its unique gifts in our lives.
- Adam Randis, Current PTPA President
The Pennsylvania theatre of performing arts has had a special place in the Hazleton community for the last 25 years. Started by a small, hardworking group of actors, friends, and family many years ago it has changed over the years. It was THE theatre in Hazleton.
Housed in an old church on Laurel Street, productions were held upstairs where families sat in the old pews (with a few select cushions) with the spotlights and sound being manned in the balcony. Food was cooked in the basement where concessions were consumed at intermission. The community filled the spaces with laughter, families attended to see their children, and Hazleton was brought together, for a very special night. It was during one of those nights, I think it was a production of Cinderella, or maybe Godspell when my oldest daughter would not stop talking about the show, and how she wanted to be a part. That was the beginning of a new life for our family. Hours upon hours were spent “at the PTPA”. We saw the hard work and dedication that went into staging a show, we saw the money spent to achieve such wonderful results. We became part of the family.
Soon the PTPA would move to a larger space, right downtown, where more people could attend. The famous J.J. Ferrara Center. And my family would continue to grace the stage, helping backstage, in concessions, and selling tickets. We spent most weekends with the community of the PTPA, on and off the stage. Now that our children have grown I have seen first hand the effects theatre has on family, community, and myself. I am happy to say I’ve been able to be a part of this amazing group of talented people and hope to celebrate this upcoming year in the most glorious way that we can. Bringing family and friends once again into the theatre for a special evening.
-Frank Seratch, Outgoing President and Current Treasurer
I was told there was this thing called the theater bug. Well, my girls, Zoey and Carly, caught it and caught it quick. It didn’t take them long to realize that this was something they loved. Their first show at PTPA was The Lion King Kids. They were both so happy and excited to get the roles that we all thought were perfect for them!
The girls had such a wonderful time throughout the workshops and rehearsals. I give a lot of credit to the PTPA directors and staff for making it memorable and fun for the girls. They always look forward to being with their theatre friends. Thanks, PTPA!
-Amber Force (Carly and Zoey's Mom)
PTPA has been a huge part of my life since I was 10 years old. I've made lots of new friends through my time at the theater, many of who have turned into family! I also love helping around the theater outside of rehearsals. I love making great memories with all of these amazing people!
At the PTPA, I was able to experiment creatively and technically, while learning from others that have been working in theatre for decades. My experience at the PTPA has helped me to expand my portfolio, which helped me get into college and find work in New York City.
- Matt Straub
Community has always meant a lot to me in the theatre. There is nothing like having a cast that feels like family. I didn't grow up local to Hazleton, but I was so lucky to find PTPA last summer. When I first started at PTPA I was quite nervous, but within a few rehearsals, I knew I found my family!
PTPA and community theater are about more than entertainment, it creates a home for people who often aren't sure of where they fit in. I was 6 (pictured here) when I went to my first rehearsal and can't imagine my life without it. I fell in love with the theater and the PTPA. I have learned many things over the years and have made lasting friendships and priceless memories!
- Dante Passeri
The PTPA has been a big part of my life since 2018. I fell in love when I did my first show, All Shook Up. I already made many lifelong friends in the short time I have been involved. The PTPA has become my happy place. My life wouldn't be the same without it!