What is Penguin Productions?

Penguin Productions unites youth leadership and adult mentorship to co-create theater and cultivate a healthy, equitable, thriving future through:

-Empowering confident, thoughtful youth leaders
-Making invigorating, inspiring, joyful theater
-Creating diverse, inclusive spaces where everyone belongs
-Nurturing artistic discovery and growth
-Providing cost-free programming

Meet the Penguins

Kyle Gerstel

Kyle is a passionate writer, director, performer, and producer. He is a junior at Mercer Island High School, where he performs with the drama program and serves as Head of Content of the school newspaper, The Islander. He firmly believes in the importance of innovative, equitable storytelling. In the past, he served on the Penguin Advisory Council, co-founded Penguin’s Youth Playwright Cohort, wrote for Finding Trails, assistant directed Metamorphoses, co-directed The Sasquatch Society, and directed Hand to God and Everybody. As Penguin’s Producing Artistic Director, he strives to increase access to arts education and create more opportunities for teens to develop as artistic leaders.

Valentine Wulf

Valentine is an illustrator, designer, and writer whose interdisciplinary work combines macabre surrealism with Technicolor whimsy. Valentine has been working with Penguin Productions since 2021, having written Welcome to the Landfill, designed costumes for The Sasquatch Society and Twelfth Night, and designed puppets for Hand to God. She made her directorial debut with Macbeth! in 2023. Valentine collects vintage Barbies and is a fan of borscht, Sweeney Todd, and ugly little dogs.

Shana Bestock

Shana is a writer, educator, theater artist, and non-profit leader based in Seattle, WA. She has directed over 200 productions with youth ensembles and overseen over 120 professional productions. Shana works with both classic and contemporary texts, and has commissioned, produced, and directed many world premieres. Shana is currently ACT Theatre’s Artistic Associate, Education. She is also a Fulbright Specialist, working internationally at the intersections of theater, social justice, and community building. She was a member of the ArtEquity cohort of 2016-17 and of the Leadership Tomorrow Class of ’21, engaging with cross-sector leaders around regional issues through an equity lens. From 2001-2016, Shana served as Seattle Public Theater’s Artistic and Education Director. Through her creative and community work, she strives to increase our capacity to connect, reflect, and create in order to make a more curious, compassionate and creative world. 

To learn more about Shana, visit www.shanabestock.com

Production History

Penguins Who Took Flight

Anna Klein, Sarah Albertson, Kyna Shilling, Kayla Brooks, Bella Zhou, Noelle McCabe, Linda Yan

Sara Albertson

Kayla Brooks

Anna Klein

Eileen MacDonald

Noelle McCabe

Kyna Shilling

Linda Yan

Bella Zhou

The magic happens in the community, that it’s about the people, not the theater or the program… it comes from YOU and your commitment to 'wasting time learning things' and your belief that kids can accomplish more than they think they can, which every production bears out.
Thank YOU for the show. I have to say it was the most thoroughly entertaining political satire we’ve seen in a long time. You did a great job with those kids, integrating the whole spectrum of talent into a delightful show that hopped.
...a community based on a strong vision of supporting kids and emerging adults through meaningful theater events.

Penguin Leaders
and Mentors

Meet the Penguin
Advisory Council

Our Partners:

Northwest Folklife, Office of Arts and Culture, 4Culture, The Creative Advantage, TeenTix, UHeights, Shunpike, The Seagull Project, Seattle Rep. Special thanks to Seattle Peace Theatre.

Penguin Productions programs are free to all in need. Fuel the future of healthy, equitable community theater with your support today!

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