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The Secret Garden, a theatrical reading

based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett | Adapted by Jerry R. Montoya

Produced by Creative Spirit and the Salem Athenaeum

About the Artists:

Nicholas Aggelikas (Dickon) is a junior at Danvers High School and is excited to work with Peyton in this current production. He enjoys singing and theater in school and community groups, and his school performances in DHS ACTS include Annie, Law & Order Nursery Rhyme Unit, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Seussical; Nicholas loves to participate in various groups and activities: Vocal Alliance Member; DHS Chorus Member; Select Ensemble Chamber Singer; Leadership and Community Member; DHS PRISM Member; DHS Art Club; Dungeons and Dragons Member; and St. George Greek Orthodox Church Choir Member.

Peter Bottéas (Ben Weatherstaff) is a transplanted Canuck residing in Marblehead and Paris. He spent his tender youth singing in choirs and coffee houses, traipsing through the corridors of the Royal Conservatory in
Toronto, and generally making mischief. He is a psychotherapist, literary translator, occasional poet, and
infrequent voice-over artist. He recently published Bathed in Moonlight, a translation of Greek poetry by
Vassiliki Rapti. He delighted in being part of Peyton’s cast for the 2021 reading of Dickens’ A Christmas

Shari Caplan (Martha/the robin) adores working with Peyton! Past projects together include theatrical readings of A Christmas Carol, Sleepy Hollow, and She Stoops to Conquer and full productions of Stoops!, Father of the Bride, and And Then There Were None. Shari is an event producer, actor, poet, collagist, and owner of Luminous Yes. Learn more at and sign up for Luminous News, a love letter to creative endeavor. Thanks to my loves for all the Daddy-June evenings during this process.

Kai Chao (Neville Craven):  During the pandemic Kai was able to “find a bit of earth” and pick up a some gardening. It has been amazing to watch the garden grow and bloom.  He continues to be inspired by nature’s resiliency, and how we have all persevered through one of the most challenging periods in our lifetime.  Regionally: The Lyric Stage of Boston - Pacific Overtures; The Umbrella Stage Company – The Joy Luck Club, La Cage aux Folles, Side Show;  Reagle Players – Thoroughly Modern Millie, Beauty & the Beast, Mame.  Locally: Mary Poppins, A Chorus Line, Bye Bye Birdie, Cabaret.  He has also performed with Disney Entertainment, and is ever thankful for the love and support from his husband, Al.

Maureen Festa (Costume Designer) is thrilled to work on The Secret Garden in such a wonderful setting. Favorite work includes: The Umbrella Stage – Middleton Heights (premier); Hedwig and the Angry Inch; View from The Bridge; To Kill A Mockingbird; Dear Elizabeth; La Cage aux Folles. Theatre on Fire – The Aliens; Party Time. The Footlight Club – The Rocky Horror Show; Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party; And Then There Were None; An Ideal Husband. Seven time DASH Best Costumes nominee and one time winner. Maureen is a new resident of the North Shore with her husband and their three cats.

Maggie Hamel (Mary Lennox) is delighted to be part of The Secret Garden! Favorite past roles include Pippa Hailsham-Brown (Spider’s Web) and Rebecca Gibbs (Our Town) at the Barnstormers Theatre; Little Red (Into the Woods), Logainne (25th… Spelling Bee) and Little Sally (Urinetown) at Concord Academy; and Allison Summers (Billy Elliot) at Seacoast Rep. Maggie loves to tap dance and works for a doll maker.

Elissa Jordan (Stage Manager) served as Artistic Associate for Divine Stageworks from 2008 to 2013 and has stage managed and performed in local theatre productions since 1999. Favorite productions include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, (Footlight Club), And Then There Were None (Footlight Club), La Cage Aux Folles (Umbrella Stage Company), and A Christmas Carol (Creative Spirit/Marblehead Museum). Elissa is Senior Manager of Curriculum at Boston Children’s Museum and front woman for the Boston-based rock cover band, Box of Records.

Linda Mullen (Set Designer) is a local artist, designer and founder of “Grace & Diggs.”  Linda creates backdrops, wearable art and immersive experiences out of recycled materials.  Past work includes the immersive photo op events, “Miss Havisham’s Parlour,” and “Order & Ostentation” at Old Town Hall.  Public art projects include “Mimi’s Garden,” currently at the Northshore Children’s Museum, as well as several community art projects for the Salem Arts Festival  in 2021, 2022 and mentoring for the 2023 project. Linda lives in Salem with her husband, Rod.

Mary O’Donnell (Mrs. Medlock): Metro Stage Company - A Little Night Music, A New Brain, Cabaret, Chicago, Closer Than Ever, Ruthless, Songs for a New World; Bad Habit Productions – A Man of No Importance; The Footlight Club - Sweeney Todd, Gypsy, Pippin, Steel Magnolias, Lettice and Lovage, Dearly Departed, An Ideal Husband, Pride and Prejudice; Hovey Players – The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Kimberly Akimbo, The Porch; The Concord Players – Into the Woods, Company. Welcome to our beautiful garden!

Peyton Pugmire (Director/Prop Designer) Peyton holds a BA degree in theatre from the College of Charleston and an MA degree in Theatre Education from Emerson College.  Favorite directing credits:  La Cage aux Folles, And Then There Were None, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Father of the Bride.  Favorite acting credits: Gloria (Casa Valentina), Prior Walter (Angels in America 1 & 11), Frankie (Forever Plaid), Brick (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), and Cliff (Cabaret).  Peyton is the founder and owner of Creative Spirit.

Valerie Thompson (Cellist) is a Boston-based cellist/composer/songwriter/improviser who has performed nationally and internationally in bands, chamber folk ensembles, and as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department. Valerie currently tours with Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards, the MIDI-Marimba/cello duo, Goli, and Know Orchestra. Education: B.M. Performance-Berklee College of Music, M.M in Contemporary Improvisation-New England Conservatory.  Film/play composer credits: A. Jacks (Trusette Entertainment & 3 Legged Bird Productions-2022), Bent (Umbrella Stage Company-2020), and Bony Lil’s Creation (Extravagant Bedhead Productions-2007.)


About the Producing Organizations:


Creative Spirit is a small business located in Marblehead, MA that offers expressive arts workshops, non-juried art exhibits, and holistic healing services, including energy healing and past life regression hypnotherapy.


The Salem Athenaeum:  Incorporated in 1810, the Salem Athenaeum is an independent membership library and cultural center hosting lectures, concerts, plays, discussion groups, author and poetry readings, storytelling, workshops for readers and writers, and literary social events.  Library holdings include a contemporary circulating collection of fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature as well as historical research collections in literature for adults and children, natural sciences, political and social sciences, theology and travel.  

Beginning in 2017, the Salem Athenaeum became the presenter of the Salem Literary Festival.

Our Mission: To preserve and excite the literary and cultural passions of the North Shore


Thank you to the following: 

Marblehead School of Music, the Salem Athenaeum staff and board, Marblehead Cycle, Marblehead Museum

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