Once Upon A Playhouse
Real Plays for Real Kids
Playwright, producer and director
Martha Horstman-Evans began her career as an actor, playwright and teacher. After receiving her Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Theatre from Webster University, she got her first job at The Great Lakes Theatre Festival, performing Emilia in Othello, and other roles. After GLTF, Martha toured with John Houseman's Acting Company in Twelfth Night, The Country Wife, and Tartuffe among other plays. As an actress, she worked in regional theatres all over the country, as well as various television shows and projects.
In the 1980's, Martha began writing and producing plays and teaching drama in New York City and Brooklyn Schools. During this time, she penned a variety of works for children's theatre. After moving to Denver, she continued teaching and writing for children's theatre at Stage Eleven, as well as started drama programs in Denver Public Schools. While working at Slavens Elementary in Denver, she taught drama to kids from kindergarten to 8th grade and created the "Character Education through the Dramatics Arts" program. This program explored character development, literally and figuratively, through the creation and performance of original scenes and plays. The school, with Mr. Charles Elbot as principal, won the President's Award for Character Education.
As the Children's Program Director of a an inter-generational non-profit organization in Denver, Martha ran an award winning preschool and after school program. She was a successful grant writer for senior, children and general operating funds for the Washington Street Community Center (2001-2013). Martha continued to focus on training and education in elementary grades and early childhood education. Safety and education standards were a top priority as well collaboration with area schools and teachers.
In 2014, the original company "The Neighborhood Playhouse of Washington Park" became "Once Upon a Playhouse, Inc." and is committed to "moving the needle" forward in children's media entertainment and education.
Ms. Horstman-Evans is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.
Paul E. Cronley
Director of photography, media producer and owner of Merlin Productions LLC
Paul's background in theater, art and music gave him a strong foundation and discerning eyes and ears. In the late 70’s, he worked in Los Angeles in a live theater, shooting video, designing and recording audio programs (including composing original music underscores). During this time, he continued to develop his camera, lighting and audio skills. In the early 80’s he founded Merlin Productions and began producing short videos for local hospitals, schools and corporations in Springfield, Ohio.
Over the years, Paul discovered that his true calling was telling stories through his lens. He also values his experiences as a media producer because it has made him a better videographer. Since 1990 and beyond, he’s been shooting video for a host of television broadcast companies as well as Fortune 500 and local corporate entities.
Several years ago, Paul began editing web videos for local and national clients. He developed many talents which could be drawn on as each situation dictates. Surrounding himself with other media professionals of equal or greater talent gives him and Merlin Productions the ability to deliver a solid, crisp, clearly visible and audible product that the many uses of today's media demands.
Paul’s many years of production experience in concept development, acquiring footage and material and editing gives him a distinctive edge in all aspects of media and theater production.