About Us

Our Mission:

The mission of the Growing Stage is to nurture the development of the performing arts through education, and to create, produce, and perform works that engage the entire family.

Our Vision:

The Growing Stage seeks to be a model of excellence in theatre for young audiences.  We strive to develop new initiatives through the arts, on both the stage and in the classroom, which will enhance and benefit the lives of our young people.

The Growing Stage will create a professional performing arts center dedicated solely to young people.  It will be a resource, in which theatre is the centerpiece, but will also introduce and celebrate the professional artistic disciplines of music, dance, and the visual arts for our young patrons.

The Growing Stage will encourage the development of new material and continue to honor existing works that expand the world for our audiences.  We will feature works that celebrate diverse art forms, ideas and cultures, and we will utilize the power of art to open discussion, touch hearts, and question accepted notions.  We will honor imagination and infuse its power for growth.

Our Values:

We believe:

  • Young people hold complex realities, imaginations, and possibilities, and their concerns must be central to our programming choices.
  • The mentoring of young people is a fundamental responsibility of The Growing Stage Theatre.
  • We must preserve and celebrate the rich history of our home, the Palace Theatre and its place in the community as an agent for positive change.
  • We believe that in order for the arts to survive as an active part of our communities they must be inclusive, rather than exclusive.
  • Artists must be valued and provided with the tools to achieve excellence and realize their vision.
  • We do our best work when we all are involved as collaborators in the pursuit of the artistic vision.
  • We must embrace the fundamental attributes of the child:  curiosity, risk taking, candor, and imagination.

 Our History:

The Growing Stage was founded by Executive Director Stephen L. Fredericks in 1982 with a small professional staff, a dedicated corps of volunteers and a dream to bring quality professional theatre to children and their families. Initially, Main Stage productions were performed at the Black River Playhouse and the Williamson School in Chester, New Jersey. As our audience and our reputation for outstanding children’s theatre grew, the company embarked on a journey to create the only performing arts center in the state dedicated solely to young people and their families.

The Growing Stage purchased the Palace Theatre in Netcong in 1995, and this historic venue has become our home. Built in 1919, the Palace was in a desperate state of disrepair when we moved in, and its restoration, involving thousands of hours of contractor and volunteer labor, has become an integral part of our history. In 2012, we celebrated the completion of our final major capital project, the restoration of the Palace’s front façade, capping a $3 million, 20 – year renovation effort. The Growing Stage is the only theatre-for-young-audiences company in the state of New Jersey that owns its own facility, and the Palace is listed on the County, State and National Historic Registers.

Today, The Growing Stage enjoys a statewide reputation for creating professional, quality theatre for young audiences. Since our inception, over 500,000 patrons have shared in the wonder of the performing arts both at the Palace Theatre and through our workshops, residencies and programs throughout the state. We have much to celebrate as we enter our 35th Main Stage season, and we look forward to the continued expansion of our artistic and educational offerings.