Stagestruck Players

For more information, contact:

Debbie Skillman

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What Is Stagestruck Players?

Stagestruck Players is the youth division of Brunswick Little Theatre that was founded in 2002 when Debbie Skillman proposed the idea to the board of directors. The following questions and Skillman’s subsequent answers provide a history of, outline the purpose of, and state the future hopes for Stagestruck.  These excerpts are from an interview for an article in the Southport Magazine devoted to marking the 10 year anniversary of Stagestruck.

Why did you start Stagestruck?

I started Stagestruck because I believed there were young people in this area who were interested in theater outside of what was offered in the schools and because I thought there were parents who wished their children had the opportunity to participate in theater in this county, rather than traveling to Wilmington.

I was seeking to establish a company where young people would be able to perform full-blown roles that would require them to develop their acting skills, rather than being placed in the chorus of a musical, or appearing in a role that requires them to say two words. I also wanted the company to produce works that highlighted great children’s literature and the youth involved to feel accomplished and to appear in quality productions.

Dorothy Meets Alice, 2012

What do you hope to do with the company? What are your ambitions for the company?

I hope to continue to produce quality productions that feature youth aged 8 to 18. I would love for Stagestruck to mount more than one show per year, but BLT finances and volunteer resources do not permit this at this time. I want to increase the audience for Stagestruck shows. I would love a corporate sponsor or two for Brunswick Little Theatre. In the near future I hope to offer training workshops for county youth. When I take my final bow BLT will have a well-established children’s theatre group with a stellar reputation for good work.

Fabulous Fable Factory, 2011

What is the greatest thing you receive from being the director and founder of Stagestruck?

This is a difficult question, but I think the greatest thing I receive is the satisfaction of watching the kids grow and develop as actors and advocates of theater. I am privileged to work with some members over the span of several years and it is fulfilling to see them develop self-confidence and pride in creating outstanding performances, setting the bar high, and achieving goals. 

Personally, I enjoy the challenge of solving the problems of bringing a production to the stage and working cooperatively with accomplished people. I have learned and continue to learn, which keeps the old brain nimble.

The Mad Adventures of Mr. Toad, 2011

How do you feel the company has affected the community?

Stagestruck has offered theatre performance opportunities for the youth of this county. I also know that players in a performance receive quality coaching in acting, singing, and movement. Community members who have attended shows appreciate the artistic outlet for kids. In addition, those in attendance have been “wowed” by the quality of the productions.

Youth involved in the productions have come away from the experiences more confident about themselves, more self disciplined, and willing to be risk takers. They have developed interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.

Charlotte's Web, 2009

What do you think theater teaches youth and other age groups about life?


Theater teaches one

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, 2008
Trial of the Big Bad Wolf, 2007
Stagestruck Director Debbie Skillman
Debbie Skillman
Stagestruck Director

Debbie Skillman has been involved in the performing arts for practically her entire life. She sang and danced her way through elementary, junior and senior high school, and continued this refrain through college, obtaining both a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music degree. Upon graduation from college she and her husband Steve, also a musician, landed in Brunswick County where both were employed as music teachers. She taught public school music for 30 years and is a certified Orff teacher, as well as a nationally board certified teacher in the area of early and middle childhood music. During her teaching career she was selected as Teacher of the Year for her school on two occasions and served on the faculty for the NC A+ Schools program.


She has been involved in the cultural arts in Brunswick County for many years having served as an accompanist and director of the Sea Notes, member and president of the Gaillardia Arts Council, and of Brunswick Little Theatre.


Her work in the theater has included roles both on and off the stage. To date she has directed well over 50 children’s theatrical productions. Currently she teaches privately and is organist and choir master at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Southport.

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