The 2017 SPAE Staff!

Presenting our 2017 Directors Team!



Abby’s infatuation with the performing arts began when she was in the first grade. Being the tallest person in her class (of 5 kids) landed her the role of Christmas tree in the school holiday pageant. When faced with the dilemma of would her ‘character’ really bend down to let an elf put a star upon her head she knew she was hooked! Arriving in 1996 at Leland and Gray she realized her incredible luck as she appeared in Annie Landenberger’s debut show of Stage Door. She was involved with 18 productions as a student; her favorite was playing the title character in ‘Alice’. She went on to work at Disney World and studied film acting act Art Sake Studio in Orlando Fl. She appeared in the Orlando Fringe Festival numerous times. After 4 student films, a music video, a featured role in an independent film, and 2 car commercials she decided that the call from her green mountain state was too loud and she moved home. Since returning to the valley Abby has appeared in a dozen shows with Vermont Theater Company and Actor’s Theater Playhouse. In 2007 she teamed up with Annie Landenberger and became the Leland and Gray players assistant. Right now she is in school full time at Mount Holyoke College working on her bachelors in Elementary Education. Luckily she gets to see many SPAE participants throughout the year as a substitute teacher. She had so much fun recently costuming the L&G Players presentation of Dracula. In the summer time (when she isn’t work on SPAE) you can find her tinkering- making jewelry and upcycled clothing at the farmers market in Townshend. She also loves spending time outside with the ones she loves. Overall, since joining the SPAE team 6 summers ago, she has been a healthier and happier person and can’t wait to continue the fun this summer!



Emily is very excited to be back for another year of SPAE!! She graduated from Leland and Gray in 2008,and went onto the University of Vermont, not knowing what she wanted to study, but decided to become an elementary school teacher! She also got to take some acting classes along the way, which were tons of fun. For two years, she was an AmeriCorps volunteer in Washington State working with some awesome kids at a teeny tiny school. She just finished up her second year as a second grade teacher in Bridgeport, Washington, and moved back to Vermont (YAY!!) to teach 3rd grade in the fall! Some of her favorite SPAE memories include the truffula seed chase scene in The Lorax, a Gorgon riding in a tiny car in The Phantom Tollbooth, carrying Abbie on my back during I’m Flying last year, playing instruments with the kiddos, learning some rad hip-hop moves with campers, and being amazed by the final product that the campers always put together. She can’t wait for another two weeks of music, dance, creativity, togetherness, and SO MUCH MORE!



Karlie Kauffeld is one of the co-founders of SPAE. Having graduated from Leland and Gray in 2009 and from the University of Vermont’s Music Education program in 2013 she loves nothing more than returning to Southern Vermont each summer to spend two weeks with amazing 10-14 year olds! As a Kindergarten-8th grade music teacher in South Hero she finds that she learns so much during SPAE to bring into her teaching, and can bring what she learns in the classroom to SPAE! This year Karlie was named the Vermont Outstanding New Music Teacher for 2017. She enjoys playing flute, trombone, the Brazilian Surdu drum, singing, and being a part of The South Hero Players! She has spent many nights of the past year playing with her long-form improv team Slinky Says Relax at the Vermont Comedy club. She also LOVES adapting stories for the stage. She finds that in creating those scripts she is able to stretch and open her mind, take risks, and experiment with a story in ways that make her feel just, giddy. Some of Karlie’s favorite SPAE moments are: playing a flute trio with Fairen and Emily, watching Izzy start a one-person scene by playing rock-paper-scissors against herself, The MIND-BLOWING Rhino designed by Cate Kelley in 2013, the spur-of-the-moment dance parties, working with the gentlemen on singing “Men In Tights” in 2011, watching the race to set up tree lights in Cassidy Anderson’s lighting workshop, and the Counselor Orientations. Karlie is wagging-tail, quaking-in-boots excited for SPAE this summer! WAHOOO!

Assistant Director SUSIE FRANCY!


Susie Francy has been involved with SPAE for two years and is super
excited for her third!! She has been involved with many Players
productions both on the stage and in the pit, and she has found that
music is where she truly shines. She graduated from Leland and Gray in
2016 and has spent the past year studying at Lawrence University
(located in Appleton, WI). In high school, Susie participated in four
All-State music festivals and composed works for both the Players and
professional ensembles, and in college, she sang with Cantala, a
select women’s choir. After a long year at college, Susie is ready to
come back to SPAE and work with some incredible young folks! Some of
her favorite SPAE memories are playing improv games with the campers,
building set pieces, teaching a few of the campers Ruth B’s “Lost Boy”
for Peter Pan, and watching each person blossom in all sorts of
amazing ways — and she can’t wait to see what this summer will have
in store!!

Assistant Director NATHANIEL VAN OSDOL!


Nathaniel is so so so so so so so excited to be part of SPAE again this year! Nathaniel started acting at the tender age of seven, in elementary school ( he can’t remember which show it was, but he CAN remember that he got to wear an armadillo costume, and that was enough of a reason for him to love it all the same ). Since then, he has become completely infatuated with the performing arts – from acting in SPAEs first show Peter Pan, to acting, singing, dancing, designing, costuming, and musical instrument-ing through 16 Leland and Gray Players shows, and even watching Broadway performances! Nathaniel truly loves and admires the way theater creates such a vibrant and caring community, so much so in fact, that that is one of his favorite aspects about SPAE! Another favorite is making loud and thunderous music as a group, because it’s always fun to make a lot of noise. He is ready to help make the tenth year of SPAE the most fun, loud, crazy, and exciting one yet! 


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