Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective was founded in 2010. Our mission is “Making Theatre, Building Community, Facilitating Awareness, and Changing the World (One Play at a Time)“. We believe audiences look to the arts to see beyond themselves and their own boundaries. We believe the arts can be a valuable educational medium capable of bridging cultural gaps. We believe the arts can be a catalyst for social change and personal transformation.  

Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective Inc. is a 501(c) 3 certified non-profit organization. Our vision is to increase and sustain opportunities for more diversity within the Western North Carolina performing arts community, by producing, and working with other performance artists or groups to present works which confront issues of social diversity in a provocative way; and by providing opportunities for audiences to explore visions of our diverse world.

“Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective — year after year — challenges audiences to acknowledge our deepest social conflicts, to sort out options for resolving same, and then to act for social change”– Jim Cavener, Asheville Citizen Times.

A Note From Our Founder and Managing Artistic Director, Stephanie Hickling Beckman

StephanieHicklingBeckmanWelcome to another season of making theatre that makes a difference! American Theatre Magazine said recently, in an article highlighting our company’s history: “If the purpose of the arts is, as theorist Viktor Shlovsky once wrote, to “make the stone stony,” to “make objects unfamiliar” that over time have become invisible, Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective has made this the centerpiece of their work as it intersects with race, gender, and sexuality. Their work bends spectators’ perceptions just enough that they are able to see the unexamined assumptions that underlie daily life”. We could not have been more honored to have our work recognized on a national level, by such a well respected publication. We are more committed than ever to continue producing theatre which reflects the realities of the world around us, and asks our audience to walk around in someone else’s shoes for a while. Theatre which clearly reflects our values, beliefs and hopes for another world. We believe that audiences look to the arts to see beyond themselves and their own boundaries.We believe the arts are a valuable educational tool, capable of bridging social and cultural gaps. We believe the arts are a catalyst for social change and transformation. Our primary goal has always been to increase and sustain opportunities for more cultural representation on the stage, and within our audiences, however, it is equally important to us to give back to our community. We consistently donate a portion of ticket sales, from each production, to other local non-profits whose mission matches the culturally/socially relevant theme highlighted in that production. To keep our productions more accessible to a larger segment of the population, we accept ticket donations and offer student and senior discounts.

Each and every donation we receive from our patrons is a critical part of our creative capacity and community giving. With ticket sales covering only 35% of our annual expenses, we rely on generous donor support to provide exceptional theatre experiences, while continuing to be a Theatre Company which supports the community. Please consider making your tax deductible donation today. Your gift makes what we do on stage and in the community possible!

Thank you for believing in the Different Strokes Performing Arts Collective and what it represents in our community. I look forward to seeing you at the theatre soon!


Signature New White

Steph Hickling Beckman, Managing Artistic Director

Different Strokes PAC
(828) 484-2014

Steph Hickling Beckman, has been active in Asheville’s theatre scene since 1999. She has worked with several local theatre companies as an actor, stage manager and director, and toured nationally as an actor. As the Managing Artistic Director for Different Strokes!, Steph is committed to directing and producing theatre that expresses the diversity we encounter in our every day lives and finding ways to recognize and honor our differences in a safe and positive environment. Steph currently serves on the board of directors for Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre, and has previously sat on the boards of YouthOutright The Center for Diversity and Education at UNCA, Western North Carolina AIDS Project, The Magnetic Theatre,  and the Black Mountain Arts Center, and served on the committee for Stand Against Racism. She currently serves on the board of the Montford Park Players and Word on The Streets.

Read about our Board of Directors