Enriching Shipley’s Performing Arts Program

The performing arts perfectly embody Shipley’s motto, "Courage for the Deed; Grace for the Doing." Whether a seasoned senior actor performing in their seventeenth Shipley production, or a nervous fourth-grader taking their first steps onto the stage, the courage to perform in front of an audience and to do it with poise are essential to our students. Shipley's commitment to the arts is evident at all levels, starting with music programs and a visual arts curriculum beginning in Pre-K. The theater program is equally robust, commencing in the Lower School with the annual musical, while sixth-grade students engage in drama as part of their curriculum. As students progress, they can choose to specialize in drama as their performing arts focus, culminating in the Upper School, where theater can be a major course. Many of our students go on to pursue theater studies at the college level.

Adding New Talent to the Team

This year, Shipley has taken significant steps to enhance its dramatic arts program. Recognizing the importance of continuity and consistency from one division to the next, the School has hired a dedicated, full-time producer, Chelsea Drumel, who will also serve as the Chair of the Dramatic Arts Department. Chelsea, a graduate of Villanova University with a Master of Arts in Theatre and Non-Profit Management, brings a wealth of professional experience to her role, having worked with various theater companies locally and in New York.
In addition to the producer role, the School has appointed Sammy Hurley as the Technical Director for Theater. Sammy's background in production management and technical expertise will elevate the production values of all shows, ensuring an outstanding experience for Shipley students. Sammy will also contribute to the Upper School's technical theater education.

Phillip Brown, who leads the Upper School's drama initiatives, will direct the fall play and winter musical, while Chelsea Drumel will direct the spring Shakespeare performance. Ozzie Jones, responsible for teaching drama to Middle School students, will direct the Middle School musical. The Lower School production will be led by Chelsea, with her team to be announced soon.

Reimagining the Program Schedule

The School has also reimagined its program schedule, allowing for a more balanced approach, with a maximum of two shows in production at any given time. This adjustment ensures students have increased access to resources and a superior overall experience. The performance schedule for the upcoming year will feature the Upper School Fall play in November, followed by the Middle School and Upper School musicals, concluding with Shakespeare and the Lower School musical in May.

US Fall Plays – November 16 & 17
US Musical – March 15, 16, & 17
MS Musical – April 19, 20, & 21
LS Musical – May 3 & 4
US Shakespeare – May 16 & 17 

Looking Ahead

Looking ahead to the 2023-2024 school year, Shipley's Theater Department, in collaboration with the Division Heads, is in the process of selecting shows that align with the School's mission, catering to the interests and talents of its students.

We look forward to seeing our community in attendance to support our students in their creative endeavors. Stay tuned for more updates as Shipley continues to expand and enrich its performing arts program, providing students with transformative experiences on and off the stage.


The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.