The Sky is the Limit is a creative arts program operating out of the North Point Government Center and is a program of Baltimore County Recreation and Parks Office of Therapeutic Recreation. It is an inclusive and barrier free theatre. Their actors are made up of every individual who auditions for the show and perhaps most importantly it’s a space where people of any physical and mental ability can perform. It’s a program for the love of theatre and the ways theatre can transform a person’s life.
“If you don’t like sports, you can do theatre and it can give you that same experience of working with a team of people to do something wonderful. Everyone should have that experience,” Artistic Director Debbie Staigerwald said in a phone interview.
Staigerwald started the program 30 years ago after successfully running a disability theatre through the county Department of Recreation and Parks Berkshire program. She was determined to make The Sky is the Limit an inclusive theatre experience, which was not the norm when she first began but has started to become more normal in contemporary community theatre. “It’s a program that allows people to express themselves in ways they might not have had the opportunity to.” That goes for all people, not just those with disabilities. Staigerwald believes theatre is about communication. She loves being able to communicate with people from all walks of life. The diversified communication enhances everyone’s experience in the theatre. People see people with disabilities on stage and it changes their life. For a person with an intellectual or physical disability it’s about representation, for others it’s highlighting the talent, capability and unique perspective actors with disabilities bring to a show.
“As an actress who happens to be Deaf, growing up in a hearing family, in a hearing world, I fell in love with the theatre world… [My parents] brought me to see a play at The Sky’s the Limit, and after the play I told them I wanted to audition be on stage, which they brought me to audition for The Song of Hiawatha. It was the beginning…,” Michelle Mary Schaefer said. Schaefer is now a working actress who has performed in Baltimore, Richmond, Rochester, Jackson Hole, Tampa, Seattle, Chicago and is currently performing with Tacoma Arts Live in Tacoma, Washington. “[The Sky is the Limit] gave me the courage to be on stage, develop friendships, and to do what I love… I didn’t allow my Deafness stop me then Ms. Debbie saw my determination and passions. I credit Ms. Debbie for opening her arms and truly introducing me to the theatre world…”
Sky’s the Limit puts on two Broadway style shows a year with summer programs and Saturday morning classes for kids with all types of abilities. Adults can participate in show choir or experimental theatre learning to perform a play within a month. The theatre also has programming just for disabled people.
It takes a group of dedicated staff and volunteers to run The Sky is the Limit. The theatre would not be possible without the hard work, dedication and talent of everyone there—particularly those in leadership positions. Staigerwald is grateful for the amazing support from:
Music Director Gennifer Morgereth who teaches all the music, arranges the music and organizes the volunteer orchestra by working her connections with local musicians. She also runs the Show Choir program and The Experimental Theatre Project.
Assistant Director for Community Theatre Gail Gerlach who helps backstage. “She picks the right scenery, right props and makes sure people are where they are supposed to be during the show. The shows would not run as smoothly without her,” Staigerwald said.
Ashley Stump is the Company Manager and also does many other things to support the theatre as well.
Volunteer Chair Person Buddy Staigerwald who guides the theatre’s mission and enforces the rules set by Recreation and Parks. “If we didn’t have him, we wouldn’t have the program. He talks for us and leads us,” Staigerwald said.
Tammy Kaskell, who teaches Saturday morning children’s classes.
Staigerwald could not imagine the theatre without all their dedicated volunteers who do so much for the theatre.
The Sky is the Limit’s spring musical is Lil’ Abner. Tickets are $10 for adults or $8 for seniors and children under 12.
Thursday, April 30 at 10 am (Group reservations only)
Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2 at 7pm
Sunday, May 3 at 3pm