“We have groups that travel all the way from New Jersey, Delaware and out beyond West Chester in Pennsylvania. Also, we get a great deal of groups from Philadelphia.”
– Kari Haffelfinger, Group Sales Manager , Upper Darby Summer Stage
There are dozens of groups – hundreds of children from summer day camps and day schools – that come to see the Children’s Theater shows at Upper Darby Summer Stage.
On any given day one can see several lines of young people walking in single file, dressed in coordinated camp T-shirts, makin their way to the “Group Entrance” door.
For Heather Park who works at Little Paradise Day School in Upper Darby and who escorts her group of young students to the Summer Stage shows, she finds the performances a wonderful activity. “The kids really look forward to the outings to see the shows! They get very excited. We usually come on Fridays, so it’s an ideal way to wrap up the week.”
Besides overseeing the other young students in the day school, Heather’s two sons, Hayden and Liam, participate in Little Paradise and get really excited seeing the shows. “We decided to come a bit early today and were very surprised to see the fun activities taking place for the kids outside the theater before the show,” says Heather. “Next time we’ll come again early. The kids are having so much fun!”
This year there has been a substantial increase in the number of groups that are booking tickets at Upper Darby Summer Stage. Group sales manager Kari Haffelfinger says the groups come from all over the Delaware Valley to see the shows. “We have groups that travel all the way from New Jersey, Delaware and out beyond West Chester in Pennsylvania. Also, we get a great deal of groups from Philadelphia,” adds Kari.
When it comes to dealing with the various groups, the trick of the trade is efficiency. It can be a challenge to get a group of sixty or more young people from the parking lot and safely situated in their seats before the show begins. Besides booking the groups, Kari oversees the logistics of getting them to their seats, along with the help of the “gushers.” “Gushers,” Kari explains, “are the Summer Stage participants who usher the group participants to their seats. I am very proud of their work. They make my job easier. We couldn’t handle the volume of groups without them!”
Located just outside of Philadelphia, PA, the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center has been delighting audiences with affordable live theater for nearly 40 years. Each summer, UDPAC invites local students and young theater professionals to participate in Summer Stage, performing seven professional-quality shows in six weeks.