Choose Your Fright Level at DreamFrights Haunted House


Who doesn’t love a spooky story on a cool autumn night, with leaves blowing, and pumpkins grinning? This year, DreamWrights Center for Community Arts will be telling a theatrically haunted house story: DreamFrights! Designed by Ray Olewiler, this 350 foot haunted house maze will employ many theatrical effects to appeal to the senses. DreamFrights design volunteer and York City Solicitor, Jason Sabol explains, “You don’t find many haunted houses produced by a theater, so our technical ability to use lights, sounds, sets, and actors to create a frightening and fun – or mostly fun for the younger kids – walkthrough is at a higher level than your everyday local haunted house production. Not only that, the location itself is perfect! DreamWrights is going to be transformed into a creepy old theater and it certainly doesn’t hurt that we already have a resident ghost – or two!”

Concerned about it being too scary? Don’t be! DreamFrights will be performing at different levels of fright, so this is an event that the whole family can enjoy. DreamFrights starts off with the scare level ramped up the eve of Friday, October 26 from 7:00 – 9:00pm. So, the suggested age for that evening is 13+. But on Saturday, October 27 from 2:00 – 4:00pm DreamFrights will have a walkthrough designed for young children under age 7 where it will be more entertaining and humorous than scary. From 4:30 – 6:30pm, DreamFrights will crank the scares up a bit for kids between the ages of 7 and 12 (suggested). Then DreamFrights will go all out with frights from 7:00 – 9:00pm for the teenage and adult crowd!

Sabol says, “We wanted kids of all ages to be able to enjoy one of the best Halloween traditions, but at the same time, we wanted to make sure that it was scary enough for older kids to enjoy it. That’s how we came up the three levels of terror for the different age groups. We can make the haunted house as scary or mild as we want. So for older kids, we can amp up the terror – and blood – while the little ones still get a fun maze walkthrough. It really is the best of both worlds.”

DreamFrights Haunted House Fundraiser will begin spooking people on Friday, October 28 from 7:00-9:00 pm at the menacing level. Younger kids may prefer the mild fright level on Saturday, October 29 from 2:00 – 4:00pm. Medium frightfulness can be found from 4:30 – 6:30pm followed by menacing 7:00 – 9:00pm. Cost is $10.00 per person. Tickets are good for any of the 4 open house times and are available online through October 27 at 4pm or at the door. Proceeds will benefit DreamWrights. Suggested fright guidelines: Mild – under age 7, Medium – 12 and under, Menacing – 13 and up.

Designing Young Men

Sewing costumes in the theatre is not where you might expect to find boys. But eleven year old Daniel Perkins and thirteen year old Gianmarco Febres love the skills and experiences they are gaining while working on costume crew. Both of these bright and capable boys are putting their talents to work creating costumes for The Adventures of Peter Rabbit.

Daniel Perkins (back) and Gianmarco Febres (front)

Gianmarco says he likes costumes equally to acting on stage. He was first on stage in 2013 for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow but he gave costuming a try earlier this year for Young King Arthur. He enjoyed it so much he’s doing it again now for The Adventures of Peter Rabbit. “I never thought about costumes that much until I actually got into costumes and then I realized it is really fun. Ironically I’m making a vest for my friend, and last time I made an apron thing for the same friend.”

This is Daniel’s first show in costumes but his second show at DreamWrights. He was previously on stage for The Secret Garden but now that he’s discovered how much fun costume crew is, he says he prefers it. “I would choose costumes over acting because actors have to memorize lines, blocking, and do quick costume changes. In costume crew you just have fun making the costumes.”

Daniel sewing a costume

Daniel discloses that another reason he loves costume crew is because he likes being in charge of what the actors look like. “Even though many people think the actors are the best, the backstage crew honestly is. If it weren’t for the crew, the actors wouldn’t have anything. So that’s why I wanted to do costumes.”

Gianmarco says that thanks to his work in costumes he has discovered that he really likes to iron. “I like the heat of the iron best. I though t it was more complicated than it looks.” When asked about his favorite part of costume crew, Daniel emphatically answers, “Sewing! That is honestly my favorite part!” He credits DreamWrights and The Adventures of Peter Rabbit for teaching him this valuable skill. He explains, “Because now that I know how to sew, doors have opened up to me with opportunity. In school we had to make a costume for a project but now that I know how to sew it made it a lot easier.”

Gianmarco working on the lining for his friend’s costume

Both boys agree that they enjoy theatre because it brings people together. Daniel says, “All these people you’ve never known before now you’re best friends.” Gianmarco adds, “What I like about it is that it connects the community. DreamWrights is a place that spawns more friendships than just in school and neighborhoods.”

Daniel recommends costume crew to anyone. “For someone who is hesitant about going into costumes, it might seem weird at first. But with all the skills you learn, later on you’ll appreciate that you learned them.”

Meet Our New Director of Artistic Programming


In a completely new position to DreamWrights Center for Community Arts, Hilary Adams joins the team as Director of Artistic Programming. In this visionary role, Adams will work with and oversee all areas of programming and show direction, even directing some shows herself.

Growing up on the east coast, Adams was introduced at a very young age to theatre, ballet, opera, and puppetry. Pretty quickly she was hooked. She remembers, “My first forays onto the stage were around the age of five, when I began acting in community and school productions. In my teens, I directed shows in my high school, assistant directed a summer musical theatre camp for young people at the local community center, and attended Yale University’s graduate acting program in summer session.”

At Evergreen State College, she worked with a children’s touring theatre based in Basingstoke, England. The experiences and challenges she faced setting up in places like barns and grange halls, offering up what, in many cases, was the community’s only theatre production for the year, made her realize how much of a difference access to the arts made to a community. Thus, her love for community theatre arts and education was born.

After college, Adams headed to New York City to intern at Playwrights Horizons. From there, she was offered a Society of Directors and Choreographers Foundation Observership in the position of 2nd Assistant Director on the Broadway show Titanic. She assistant directed three more Broadway shows (Aida in Chicago and NYC, Collected Stories, Reckless) and assisted the playwright David Henry Hwang on Flower Drum Song. In addition, she also served as personal assistant to Hwang. She received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Director of a Play for her direction of Works Productions’ Moby Dick, and was awarded 5 Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellowships.

Adams earned a master’s degree in Applied Theatre from the City University of New York (CUNY). She explains, “Applied Theatre is using theatre for education, social development, and community building, in addition to entertainment. This is exactly what I have been passionately practicing in various forms since I was a teenager.” She put these skills into practice when, as part of the master’s program, she worked with the Creative Arts Team Youth Theatre, trained in interactive storytelling for preschoolers, and worked with Carte Blanche, a youth theatre in Viborg, Denmark.

All in all, Adams has directed hundreds of plays and musicals from staged readings to full-fledged productions. She has held many theatre positions, from Assistant Directing on Broadway to participation in many festivals, handling both world premieres and previously produced material. She even served as the Artistic Director for a mid-west community theatre for two years.

As far as DreamWrights, Adams says, “When I learned about DreamWrights I knew I had found a perfect match for my values, and an artistic home where I can give back through my work.” She feels that her Applied Theatre background will be useful as she anticipates returning to the heart of what is most important to her, “the intersection of community and the arts, with a solid foundation of education inside of all theatre practice. I was seeking a theatrical home that was as passionate as I about the importance of arts for and with community. I’ve found that in DreamWrights.”

DreamWrights is excited and anxious to introduce Hilary Adams to the greater York community. Join DreamWrights for a “Meet and Greet” prior to the evening show of The Adventures of Peter Rabbit on October 8 from 5:00pm – 6:30pm.

Find the Hidden “Easter Eggs”

l to r: Noah Youcheff and Randy Riley rehearse a scene for 'The Adventures of Peter Rabbit'
l to r: Noah Youcheff and Randy Riley

The Adventures of Peter Rabbit opens at DreamWrights Center for Community Arts with some hidden surprises for the audience to discover. These “Easter eggs” help to knit the scenes together, adding another layer to the story. This is an aspect of the show that really excites Guest Director, Andrea Unger. “In our production meetings, we’ve discussed visuals and sounds that tie Beatrix Potter’s real life – reality – to her imagination – her stories. For instance, the jacket that Peter Rabbit wears is the same jacket that Noel Moore, the boy for whom Peter Rabbit was written, also wears. This particular production offered many opportunities for this extra layering. Not everyone in the audience will consciously notice these subtle details. Hopefully, those who do will find as much delight in discovering them as we did in making them.”

Sarah Byers, foreground, plays the writer Beatrix Potter, with a group of characters she created in the background, in production of 'The Adventures of Peter Rabbit'
Sarah Byers, foreground, plays the writer Beatrix Potter, with a group of characters she created in the background

Unger admits that at first she was unsure about directing this production because she thought the play was about Peter Rabbit. But then she read the script and realized she was mistaken. Unger explains, “I was captured by the depth of the story, which is actually more about Beatrix Potter, the author of the Peter Rabbit stories. The play portrays her life, and how some of her stories came to be, in an imaginative and playful narration.” Unger says the storyline moves quickly enough to keep the attention of younger children while being complex enough to keep the attention of adults, too. “You will learn something and you will laugh. And the mice are just so darned cute!”

DreamWrights is offering the chance to enjoy tea and confections with Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit on Saturday, October 22 from 1:00 – 2:00pm. The tea is open to all ages and attendees are encouraged to wear their garden party finery. The cost for the tea is $10 per person. Stay for the 2:30pm matinee and save $3. Tickets for the tea are available through Oct. 21 at 4:00pm.

l to r: Dana Cutti, Lilly Einsig and Jonah Unger rehearse a scene for 'The Adventures of Peter Rabbit'
l to r: Dana Cutti, Lilly Einsig and Jonah Unger

The Adventures of Peter Rabbit and its delightful surprises opens Friday, October 7 and runs October 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22 at 6:30pm and October 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 2:30pm. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 717-848-8623. Seats cost $10 for general, $14 for reserved.

Honoring Diane Crews


For nearly twenty years, DreamWrights founding member and Artistic Director, Diane Crews, has built a youth and family theatre based on a culture of growth, responsibility, and exploration in a safe and accepting environment. On Saturday, September 24, the DreamWrights family came together to honor Crews as she is set to retire at the end of the month.

J.T. Hand, President of DreamWrights’ Board of Directors, believes that although Crews is retiring, the foundation she has fostered and built will persevere well beyond the current generation. Hand explains, “We don’t see this as an end, but rather as part of DreamWrights maturing. We’re not done growing yet. This culture will persist and anyone who walks into this theatre will be able to feel it. It is and will continue to be palpable.”


Saturday’s heartfelt retirement party was emceed by long time DreamWrights members, Paul and Corinne Brown. Paul Brown reflects, “Diane has touched so many lives in so many ways, we wanted to represent a good cross section of presenters.” These presenters included Paige Hoke, Timothy Storey, Kevin Alvarnaz, Steve Brown, and Joan Bitzer. Brown noted that at least twenty additional audience members spoke on Diane’s behalf from the floor. Hand adds, “This was a very personal event. Many people wanted to speak and thank Diane for the positive impact she had on them.” There was no shortage of love and appreciation coming from the full house.


In addition to sentimental stories and speeches, the retirement party included an original song written and sung by the Browns and a skit arranged by Crews’ daughter, Shama Mir-Young. In an exciting moment, Board President Hand honored Crews with the announcement that DreamWrights’ black box theatre would now be officially known as “The Diane Crews Black Box Theatre.”


As Hand revealed the sign to be installed above the entrance to the black box theatre, he likened DreamWrights to a sports team. He said that although some, including him, have never been in a show directed by Crews, “we have all been impacted by her. And just as athletes touch something for inspiration and guidance as they take the field, I foresee the sign named for Crews to be the touchstone for the cast and crew – the DreamWrights team – as it takes the stage. Performers would touch it to remember why there are there and to get inspiration from Diane, even in her retirement.”


Throughout her nearly twenty years at DreamWrights, Diane Crews directed roughly 70 and wrote more than 30 shows.  Paul Brown reminisces, “She will be remembered for the tone of her shows. They introduced classic values to people and created a kinder community atmosphere. She made the theater a safe place to be and discover your gifts. Diane leaves behind a family of theatre people.”  Crews may be leaving DreamWrights but her legacy and memory will live on in “The Diane Crews Black Box Theatre” and in the hearts and minds of those whom she impacted.

Retirement Party Planned to Honor Founding Member, Diane Crews


On Saturday, September 24 from 6pm – 9pm, the DreamWrights family will honor founding member and Artistic Director, Diane Crews as she is set to retire at the end of the month. As Crews reflects back on her time at DreamWrights, she remembers, “What began out of a desire for a special place for people of all ages to come together to create live theatre and then share it with audiences of all ages, still is! What began as a dream of a few is now a reality for many!”

Long time DreamWrights members, Paul and Corinne Brown, will emcee the evening which will include a pot luck dinner, a “hit parade” of memories from the nearly 70 shows directed and more than 30 shows written by Crews, and a gift presentation.  Participants are encouraged to wear their favorite DreamWrights t-shirt and share brief stories and memories during the evening.

As Crews makes her exit from the place she called home for the past twenty years, she asks something simple of the family she leaves behind. “As you go forth, may each of you share your many gifts with as many others as you possibly can. What you will get back is priceless.”

All are invited to attend the retirement party. Visit for more information.

Local Celebrities Pass Hats and Pour Sips for DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign

On Thursday, September 22 from 5pm – 7pm, local celebrities Mayor Kim Bracey and DreamWrights Executive Director, Ann Davis will be serving up drinks and fun at the Holy Hound Taproom. Proceeds will benefit the DreamWrights Capital Campaign.

Ann Davis, Executive Director sports a hat
Ann Davis, Executive Director sports a hat

As its six month capital campaign wraps up, DreamWrights hopes to raise some more cash and community awareness. Mayor Bracey whole-heartedly supports the effort.  “DreamWrights has been an important member of the York community for twenty years. They have done a wonderful job of educating kids through theater, and I’m excited that the Capital Campaign will allow them to expand their reach not only to more children and families, but also to more diverse groups that are underserved by the Arts in York currently, like millennials and retirees, and the African-American and Hispanic communities.”

Ann Davis and the DreamWrights community are anxious for the Center for Community Arts to take its next step. Davis explains, “The work made possible by this campaign will complement, not replace the capital improvements made more than ten years ago. This campaign will allow DreamWrights to make the investments necessary to increase the reach and range of our programming, and to revitalize our historic building.”


Mayor Bracey says that DreamWrights, as well as many other businesses in the city, is in the midst of a renaissance. “Empty storefronts have been replaced by thriving boutique shops and restaurants, and chain link fences around construction sites have become the norm, rather than the exception. The city is rebuilding and retooling. But we need more than just the downtown to thrive. And DreamWrights has the potential to be the sort of anchor for the Avenues and West End neighborhoods that the Strand Capital is for the downtown. DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign allows it to truly become a center for community arts, and a sense of ‘community’ leads to cleaner and safer streets, a better education for our children, and economic development.”

To make the celebrity happy hour more fun, costume hats will be available for donors to try-on and model.  Photos are encouraged to be posted to social media and tagged with #DWHats to raise awareness and show community support. The DreamWrights Hats at the Hound event will be held on Thursday, September 22 from 5pm – 7pm at the Holy Hound Taproom in downtown, York, PA.

About DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign

On July 1, DreamWrights kicked off the public phase of its $2.5 million Capital Campaign. This campaign will allow DreamWrights to make the investments necessary to increase the reach of its special programs and provide accessibility to all. The capital project will achieve two strategic goals: to grow programs and audience and to revitalize our landmark, historic building. Community support is essential in helping DreamWrights reach its $2.5 million goal.

The Art of the Theatrical Haunted House


This fall at DreamWrights, hands-on classes will teach a variety of spooky theatre elements and techniques, including scene design, costume design, and special effects. Students will create the actual components for the first ever “DreamFrights” Haunted House held October 28 and 29. Classes are also offered for haunted makeup and freaky food fare.

In the scene design workshop, participants will create scary scenes through faux painting, set decorating, props creation, and special wall treatments. Costume design workshop participants will craft textile-based scene decorations as well as creepy costumes like hooded capes, goblins, ghosts and other clever creatures. For those interested in special effects, participants will construct sound and lighting cues for each scene and pathway and will utilize spooky background noises like a stormy night, haunted woods, bats, spiders and snakes.  In the Haunted Makeup class, learn to turn great looking people into creepy ghosts, ghouls, skeletons and zombies. The Freaky Food Fare workshop will explore ideas and creativity for making autumn and Halloween inspired food.

For the younger crowd, the Mini Musical: How to be a Pirate will bring out your inner scallywag through story and song. This workshop will culminate with a musical performance at the DreamFrights Haunted House on Saturday, October 29 at 2:30 pm.

All workshops run four Saturday mornings: October 1, 8, 15 and 22 from 9:00am-12:00pm and one Wednesday evening, October 26 6:00pm-8:00pm (with the exception of the Mini Musical). All workshops culminate with the DreamFrights Haunted House on October 28 and 29 where students will receive free admittance to the DreamFrights haunted house. More information can be found at

About DreamFrights Haunted House

On October 28th and 29th DreamWrights opens the doors of DreamFrights – its first ever Haunted House fundraiser. A team of creative minds are stewing up a theatrically frightful event that has modified fright factor levels from mild to menacing. Tickets are $10 per person and are available online at through October 27th at 4pm or at the door. Drop in any time Friday, Oct. 28th 7:00-9:00 pm (Menacing) or Saturday, Oct. 29 2:00-4:00 pm (Mild), 4:30-6:30 pm (Medium), 7:00-9:00 pm (Menacing). Suggested fear level guidelines: Mild – under age 7, Medium – 12 and under, Menacing – 13 and up.

Summer at DreamWrights

Meredith Singleton is embarking on her senior year at York Suburban High School. She is the President of the Trojan Theatre Club, plays violin with the York Youth Symphony Orchestra, sings with the York County Honors Choir, and represented her school last year at Regional Chorus. Her busy school and activity schedule doesn’t permit her to get involved at DreamWrights during the school year but for the past three summers, Meredith has participated with DreamWrights’ Shakespeare program, Theatre Under the Trees.

20170727 Meredith Singleton (10)

Also this summer, she added something additional to her resume: Teen Camp Counselor.

As a rising senior, Meredith knows that she needs to soon decide what she will do after high school. With her interest in theatre, she decided to volunteer as a teen counselor at four DreamWrights summer camps. She explains, “I’ve been looking at colleges but I had no idea what I wanted to go into. Now I have a better idea.” Never having worked in a classroom before, Meredith confirmed her interest in teaching and theatre and recently has narrowed her college search to schools offering theatre arts and either early education, music education, and/or museum studies.


Meredith remembers, “I liked working with the kids. It was a lot of fun. I had a good experience doing stuff with them.” DreamWrights’ Summer Camp Coordinator, Hannah Kohler recognizes that she has a knack for working with younger kids in a theater environment, “I was very impressed with her work ethic. She is very proactive and I could always count on her to ask about the next thing. At times I have to tell her to go home.”

Calm and effective, Meredith was exposed to a variety of age ranges of campers. She loved that she could really see a difference in the campers from the time they arrived on the first day to when they performed on the last. “When I was working with the really little kids, there was this one girl who was so shy she didn’t want to talk to anyone. She was crying the first day when her mother dropped her off. But then on the last day she actually got up on stage to do her thing. I was so proud of her. “

DreamWrights is lucky Meredith decided to spend so much of her summer at the theatre. The only regret she has now is having more time during the school year to participate at DreamWrights. “That’s the one thing I regret about my busy schedule. If I had the opportunity to, I definitely would do more.”

The Billets Leave their Legacy to Help Ensure DreamWrights’ Future

Tommy Billet says it all began with his theatrical wife, Carmen. More than ten years ago, she discovered DreamWrights as an outlet for their grandson, Jacob. Tommy remembers, “Jake has been in 16 or 17 productions since he was 8 or 9.” He will soon be 16 and has been involved with every aspect of the productions: onstage, props, stage management, even sound and lights. “Jake grew up here. When he walks in the doors of DreamWrights, he’s home.”

Leave a Legacy

It was important for Tommy and Carmen to make sure that Jacob has that second home to turn to not only for himself, but for other kids like Jacob as well. That’s why the Billets chose to leave their legacy with DreamWrights’ Lasting Dreams Legacy Society, a member of Leave a Legacy York County. Tommy explains, “We decided we wanted this perpetuated. We have a strong commitment to DreamWrights and feel it is a worthwhile program. So after we’re passed there is that legacy.”

In his will, Tommy has arranged for a portion of his estate to be left to DreamWrights, a portion to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the rest to his grandchildren. Tommy laughs, “I’ve been eating oysters out of that bay for well over 60 years. I figure it is time to give back to them too.” But Tommy says that DreamWrights is a part of that whole picture “simply because it was good for our grandson and it was pretty good for us too. I enjoy coming here and seeing the children grow physically and mentally and just blossom. It’s a program worth supporting.”

Tommy Billet Lasting Dreams Legacy Society pin turned into ring

Sadly, Carmen Billet passed away last April. Tommy remembers, “We were honored with a DreamWrights’ Lasting Dreams Legacy pin in January when we came to see The Secret Garden. That was the last time my wife was out. And it made her day.” Tommy has since had the pin made into a ring that he wears proudly. It is a comfort to him to know that his affairs are in order and places like DreamWrights and the oysters in the Chesapeake Bay will live on for others to enjoy for years to come.