SteppingStone Theatre, has three program areas: performances, education and outreach. Mark Farraro Hauck, whose work in local theatre has included Executive Producing Director of the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona MN and head of the theater department at Hopkins High School, stepped in as artistic director several years ago.
Located a couple blocks off of Grand Avenue, near to Hamline Law School on Victoria Street, Steppingstone has been housed in a beautiful historic building for years. However, in November of 2019 they announced they have begun the process of looking for new space. In August of 2020, Steppingstone and Park Square Theatre announced they will be forming an official partnership. Performance programs, workshops, and rehearsal halls will be at Park Square’s current facility in the Hamm Building. Creative Learning programs will be held in a central location near SteppingStone’s existing building, with plans to expand into satellite locations as well.
Stage Productions at SteppingStone Theatre
The Theatre produces family-friendly stage performances throughout the year. Their productions tend to be shows that promote diversity, cultural awareness and tolerance. In the past, I have found their plays a bit too challenging for younger children, and have chosen to take my middle grader. However, they added some special productions geared toward smaller children this year.
Upcoming Shows at SteppingStone:
We keep an updated calendar of kid-friendly shows on our Performing Arts Calendar. Find SteppingStone shows there.
SteppingStone offers a Pay-What-You-Are-Able Performance for most performances. The suggested minimum is $5, but they want people to feel welcome no matter what price they feel able to pay. These tickets are first come, first serve and it is recommended that audience members arrive 30-45 minutes ahead. However, I've made this my rule of thumb, and sometimes I've sat in a mostly empty theatre until 10-15 minutes before the start time. If you are running late, and feeling adventurous, show up a little later and see what happens.
Classes and Camps at SteppingStone
Both semester-long classes and summer camps are available for children 3 ½ to 16. Classes and camps can be found at their website. During the school year, look for Theatre Explorer Storytimes. Sign up for the whole program or just drop in for $5/family.
Membership at Steppingstone
New this year, Steppingstone is offering Circle of Supporters Memberships. They offer various levels with benefits to match your contribution. Levels and benefits tend to change from time to time, so it is best to check out the latest offerings at the link.
SteppingStone's mission statement focuses on developing the whole child through educational theater programs and fully staged productions. It strives to offer a non-competitive environment to help build self-esteem and confidence within a community that celebrates diversity.
History of SteppingStone Theatre
In 2016, Gianna interviewed Michelle Pett, the Interim Executive Director at for Youth Development at Steppingstone and asked her:
What is the history of Steppingstone Theater?"SteppingStone is 29 years old this year (that means next year we hit the big 3-0!) We began our organizational life by providing in-school theatre residencies to St. Paul schools. We started producing plays with all-youth casts shortly thereafter. We moved from the Landmark Center to our own building on Victoria Street in 2007. SteppingStone lives in a 110 year old Methodist church that has been renovated into a 426 seat theatre with a proscenium stage; plus studio and classroom space on the lower level." - Michelle Pett