Growing Stage 2016 Summer Camp Directors
Artistic Director – Jess Pullis
Director – Grace Vaughan (see below)
Music Director/Choreographer – Stephen Coakley (see below)
Artistic Director – Jess Pullis
Jessica Pullis was born and raised in Loudoun County, VA. She found her love of theatre during high school performances and classes at Loudoun Valley High School, where she graduated from in 2011. She performed in a number of shows including her personal favorites, The Fantasticks and Anything Goes. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in English (with minors in Secondary Education and Theatre) from James Madison University in 2014. Her experience in the Theatre & Dance department here was mostly in costuming and hair/makeup design. She is currently in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at James Madison University, and will graduate in Spring 2016. She then hopes to teach middle or high school English/Language Arts. Jess has always wanted to be a teacher, for as long as she can remember.
Jess has been working with The Growing Stage since the summer of 2011, when she started as a camp director. Since then she has gained the most valuable learning experiences from working with the kids who attend the camps. Nothing makes her happier than coming to camp and getting to work with such amazing, hilarious, and talented young performers. She is so excited to be the Artistic Director this year.
Director – Grace Vaughan
Before becoming The Growing Stage Theatre Company’s 2015 summer camp director, Grace Vaughan has enjoyed performing in over 24 staged, televised, and filmed theatrical productions. Her background in back-stage work includes providing technical support, founding and leading marketing teams, and acting as assistant director for staged productions of both musicals and straight plays. So far, Grace has portrayed 20 lead characters in both plays and musicals. If she had to pick some of her favorite roles, Grace would choose Adelaide from Guys and Dolls and Paulette Bonafonte from Legally Blonde the Musical.
As an actor, Grace has won several titles, including VTA Best Actress (Regional), VTA Best Actress (District), and VTA Extraordinary Performance (State) for her portrayal of the Twelfth Interviewee in the one act Interview: America, Hurrah!. During the end of her Loudoun Valley High School performance career, Grace Vaughan and her production teams were nominated for four CAPPIES. Last year, Grace won the CAPPIE for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, and was invited to attend and perform at the Kennedy Center CAPPIES gala twice. Currently, Grace attends James Madison University where she is studying to double major in Theatre Performance and Public Relations with a minor in Film Studies. Most recently, Grace was cast in the original production of Roulette as Rose at James Madison University, and is apart of the tech crew for the universities spring musical, Sweet Charity.
In addition, Grace is a writer for The Breeze (the James Madison University newspaper) covering campus theatre news. She founded a singing trio, The SunSpots, that eventually performed for Purcellville’s mayor and at venues including the National Little League World Series and the Leesburg Airshow. Along with acting and singing, Grace has played violin since the sixth grade, and left Loudoun Valley as section leader and recipient of the coveted Director’s Award for outstanding leadership, values, and work ethic in a Virginia public school music classroom. Grace will appear as one of two hosts on an upcoming vlog series scheduled for release fall 2016. She’s also no stranger to working with younger people; Grace has lead workshops in children’s theatre and taught Sunday school for St. Francis de Sales for four years.
Of her accomplishments, Grace is most proud of becoming Viking of the Month during her last semester at Loudoun Valley High, and for being voted Most Likely to Become Famous by her graduating class.
Directing Growing Stage Theatre is a real full-circle thing for Grace, because her first roles in community and summer camps were at The Growing Stage! This theatre company helped instill a love in Grace’s heart for the arts that she continues to explore and expand upon today, and she cannot think of a more exciting prospect than to help cultivate her same passion and understanding of drama in the minds and hearts of this year’s campers!
Music Director/Choreographer – Stephen Coakley