Players of the Stage

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The Mission

Players of the Stage exists to celebrate God’s glory by developing the unique character, voice and talents of actors through staging entertaining and thought-provoking productions and to support, through its proceeds, humanitarian organizations in the Lehigh Valley.


It is our desire that each actor within our community grow as Fairiesan individual and, through acting, learn important life skills such as public speaking, teamwork, confidence and community service.  We carefully guide our actors to recognize the skills and talents they possess as a gift from God to be used for His glory to give back to their communities. Players of the Stage will impact the Lehigh Valley by supporting local charitable organizations and providing affordable art that transforms our community. We desire to acquire a downtown space where we can reach out with a broad range of arts-based programs, thereby creating a place for people to be exposed to the arts.

Project Summary

Players of the StagBob Cratchit at Worke promotes the development of individuals through theatre and advances art and the work of social justice in the Lehigh Valley by providing two youth showcase productions that focus on the development of younger actors and one community show a year. By performing all POTS shows as benefit shows we not only work towards promoting social justice in the Valley but we train our actors to use their talents for the advancement of others. We hope to expand our program by obtaining our own building, hiring more staff, and starting more opportunities for the community: theatre classes, more productions, an art gallery, and a cafe where the community can gather to talk and connect.


              2000                    16 youth actors get together to perform a recital for a local Senior Citizens’ group-POTS is born!
               2005                    Players of the Stage performed Christmas Carol as their first charity benefit show.
              2015                     Players of the Stage, now 15 years old, has raised over $140,000 for charity and incorporates as a PA nonprofit.
              2016                    Signs fiscal sponsorship agreement with Humanitarian Social Innovations.

Founders and Leaders

Anna Barshinger Lauffer, Co-founder

Elisabeth Barshinger, Co-founder and Executive Director

POTS-SharonSharon Barshinger Gerdes, Artistic Director


What Inspired You to Start This Project?

Players of the Stage-Young Girl     Sharon:  I grew up with theatre.  At 12 years old I experienced the transformation that theatre can bring about in people’s
lives.  Playing the part of Carlotta the 4th broke through my shy shell and thrust me into a confidence that I had hitherto thought impossible to possess.  My family started Players of the Stage in 2000 to give 16 children a fun time acting, but as we continued to have shows I realized that we had the beginnings of something more.
      I was given a vision of establishing a youth and community theatre that would serve the Lehigh Valley by using theatre to help youth find confidence like I did and by putting on plays that entertained and challenged them. In 2005 my mother had the idea of using Players of the Stage to bless our community by raising funds for charities in the area. Since then we have raised over $140,000.  We have worked with hundreds of actors and performed many shows and recitals all for the purpose of glorifying our God and blessing the Lehigh Valley.

A Word to Our Supporters

Youth Theatre POTSThank you very much for joining us in promoting the development of individuals through theatre, the advancement of art, and the work of social justice in the Lehigh Valley. We have a big vision and dream for how to further our impact in our community and we could not do it with out your support. Thank you.

 Thanks! With your help, we can make a difference!

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 Humanitarian Social Innovations & POTS

Our Partnership

       Social entrepreneur Elisabeth Barshinger and her daughter, Sharon Gerdes, entered HSI’s Incubation:  Start Something! program in June of 2015.  During the incubation period they honed their vision for Players of the Stage and its path forward as a nonprofit organization.  While not missing a step in their production schedule, they positioned POTS to be well-qualified for fiscal sponsorship in HSI’s Certified Grantee:  GO for Impact! program, which POTS entered in February of 2016.

      Humanitarian Social Innovations treats funds received for the purpose of this project as restricted under the charitable trust doctrine.  All funds, minus administrative fees, are dedicated to the purpose of this project and will not be used to pay the expenses of another.