Meet Linnea and Melissa!

We are Philadelphia-based homeschool parents, children’s theater creators, teachers, and budget travelers. We like big projects that involve young people. We can be silly and serious. We explore big questions. We are adventurous.

Melissa (she/her)

Melissa has a Masters in Education, PA teaching certifications, and over 20 years teaching experience in both school and homeschool settings. She’s been creating original youth theater for 20 years (with a real soft spot for musicals). For the last six years, she has worldschooled with her three kids through 4 continents. All of her trips have been financially possible by sticking to a tight budget, and by booking flights using frequent flier miles accrued through credit card startup bonuses.

Melissa is happiest when she’s adventuring, in the world, in teaching, and in the arts, with a gaggle of kids at her side.

Melissa’s travel blog about her year in SE Asia:

Linnea (they/them)

Linnea speaks Spanish thanks to time spent living in Spain and Argentina. Linnea also has a Masters in Education and has spent summers traveling internationally while teaching in Philadelphia during 5 school years. Linnea‘s teaching experience extends to creating cooking curriculum for young adults exiting the foster care system and working for the National Park Service. Linnea began directing youth theater while still in college and continues to make theater in a variety of settings, often using Theatre of the Oppressed and devised theater exercises as the framework for creation and liberation work. One year, Linnea baked over 52 gluten-free cakes (we all have hidden talents!)

In 2016, Linnea and Melissa met through the Philadelphia homeschooling community and quickly learned that they shared visions and goals and made each other laugh. In 2017, they facilitated together at Talking Stick Learning Center, where they created workshops, theater and regional trips for Philadelphia homeschoolers. Their future goals include travel to Cuba, returning to SE Asia, long-distance cycling travel, and making more devised theater both in Philadelphia and abroad.

Staging Journeys is two years-young, and there has been plenty of action already.

Fall 2018: For their first leap into tour-leading, they excitedly took a group of Philadelphia Worldshooling families to Mexico City! Following that tour, Melissa and Linnea’s families moved on to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where they wrote and directed an original musical theater production, “HERE.” with youth at the Family Adventure Summit. During their final week in Mexico, they were honored to visit the beautiful rural town of Rancho Viejo where they made environmental theater with Daniel Farmer and local youth.

Spring 2019: Melissa and Linnea brought their families on an 18-day tour-scouting trip through the Sacred Valley, Peru. Together with 6 kids and 1 partner, they learned the ins and outs of the region and met local guides to prepare for future tours. They launched the first Staging Journeys musical theater production in Northwest Philadelphia where they both live. “We the Dreamers” was produced with 30 fabulous children at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts.

Fall 2019: This season they embarked on a Central Mexico tour with 6 families which included a cultural immersion week in Guanajuato and a vibrant Mexico City tour. Their fall semester musical theater extravaganza for Philadelphia families explored the passage of time, entitled “We The Moments”.

Spring 2020: A trip to Peru with four families was sadly postponed due to the pandemic. Their spring semester devised-theater project exploring home and belonging started off with community members sharing stories of what home means to them. “We Are Home” became SJ’s first virtual show after Covid-19 required flexibility. It was released on June 26, 2020 and can be viewed here.

Summer 2020: Staging Journeys offered free Zoom theater meet-ups over the summer to stay connected in these isolated times and to keep on playing!

Fall 2020: This fall SJ is excited to continue online youth performing arts with AND to add other creative/instructional workshops, as well. Current online workshop details here!

We don’t know exactly what 2021 and beyond will bring for Staging Journeys, but there is sure to be adventure, learning, and growth. If you have ideas that you would like to see us bring into action, please share. We are open to collaboration and inspiring ideas!

One can never be too sure what these two will come up with next. But rest assured there will be plenty of laughter, heart, creativity, learning, and adventures both big and small.

It takes a long time to take photos when you’re having this much fun.

Inclusivity Statement (since established in 2018)

We acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of our groups and our communities. We recognize our differences in race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, and family structure as well as religious beliefs. We are committed to honoring this rich tapestry by creating a positive and inclusive environment within our groups.  We strive to offer travel, learning, and theater opportunities that amplify and highlight the voices and experiences of groups who have traditionally been marginalized.

Solidarity with Black Lives Matter (added June 2020):

We believe there is nothing more important for all of our children, than dismantling oppressive systems and white supremacy. We approach social justice work through performing arts, education, activism, and service.  We aim to do so with humility, intentionality, love, and urgency.

Staging Journeys