About Mainstage


Mainstage Center for the Arts provides a creative, vibrant, and nurturing environment for youth and adults. Using the performing arts as a catalyst for individual expression and growth, Mainstage enriches the quality of life for its South Jersey community.


Mainstage Center for the Arts envisions a future…

  • where creative expression is perceived as a valuable component of youth and adult education;
  • where the performing arts are embraced as a source of pride for the community;
  • where opportunities are provided for those who enjoy the arts experience as either audience or participant, as well as for those who choose to pursue arts careers;
  • and where Mainstage is a valued regional center for artistic programs and services.


We are dedicated to providing South Jersey youth with arts experiences that lead to: positive interactions with others, a greater sense of self-worth and self-esteem, community involvement, exposure to professional arts & entertainment not readily accessible, recognition of personal strengths & talents and career opportunities in the arts, and a deep and abiding appreciation for the performing arts. Here at Mainstage, we Celebrate the Arts!

Mainstage Center for the Arts, began in 1989 when Founder, Edward P. Fiscella, Jr., a teacher at the Glen Landing Middle School in Gloucester Township, answered the plea of his students to create a theater program that would encompass their long summer vacation. With the help of co-founder, Joseph Bretschneider, also an educator, the Gloucester Township Board of Education, and the Department of Recreation gave Fiscella the go-ahead to create a Summer Stage program in Gloucester Township, based on the tremendously successful Summer Stage program in Upper Darby, Pa, where Mr. Fiscella worked the previous 10 years as a  show director and Children’s Theatre Producer.

Summer Stage became so successful that it spawned demands for year-round arts programming for youth and families. Mainstage Center for the Arts was incorporated in 1994 as the Gloucester Township Center for the Arts, a 501 (c) (3) private non-profit. In 1997, we began to recognize that our organization had a large regional impact and that our audiences and participants were coming to us from all over the South Jersey area – not just Gloucester Township – and so we renamed ourselves “Mainstage Center for the Arts”. We then rented a Studio at 100 South Black Horse Pike in Blackwood, NJ and began to offer dance, voice, and acting classes. We have never owned a theater, and have hence formed mutually beneficial partnerships with the Gloucester Township School System, Camden County College, the Washington Township School System, and others, in order to have access to performance venues.

Mainstage’s programs now reach an annual audience of over 50,000 and serve over 1,200 children directly through classes and workshops. An ever larger base of young people is reached through in-school assemblies and educational outreach, sometimes averaging 2,000 children a program.

Mainstage is very proud to be recognized by our community as “one of the best performing arts centers in South Jersey”, we have won that honor five years in a row from the readers of the Courier Post Newspaper. We were also a finalist in 1998 in the Philadelphia Arts & Business Partnership Awards for our partnership with the firm of McGettigan Partners – we were the only South Jersey organization to be nominated.

Mainstage is funded through public and private grants, corporate sponsorship, private memberships and individual contributions. We receive financial support for many of our programs through funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

We’re very busy at Mainstage enriching our community and celebrating the arts…Come and join us!