Different Strokes for Different Folks

Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective Inc. is a 501(c) 3 certified non-profit organization which purposes 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.

Steph Hickling Beckman, our co-founder, 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, the Montford Park Players and the Black Mountain Arts Center, and served on the committee for Stand Against Racism.


StephanieHicklingBeckmanDifferent Strokes! Performing Arts Collective was founded in 2010, with the overriding mission to make theater that makes a difference.

We are not typical community theatre, but theatre for the community. We are extremely pleased and very proud to have been able to donate over $6,000 to thirteen (17) different charitable non profit organizations, and partner with several local organizations in finding ways to continue exploring diverse perspectives, and community building through the performing arts.

Our success can be measured in terms of steady growth, the respect we’ve earned, the relationships we’ve built within the community, and the professionalism to which we are committed. We have a functioning and invaluable board of directors, which, by design, further reflects our commitment to diversity and equality. We have produced 21 plays, both inside and outside of the Company, (increasing our season from two to five or six shows per year), cultivated a pool of five Directors, 67 actors, and taken on a Production Manager and a Producing Director.

Much of our success can be largely attributed to the support of our Sponsors, local media; and our community, at large. Reviewers have consistently referred to our plays as “professional”, “well directed” and “exceptionally acted”. Of our company, David Starkey, Asheville Lyric Opera Executive Director,said “They, completely, are the definition of grass roots. As far as evaluating people that are on the ground, working in a grass roots initiative of theatre and what it means to the socio-economic aspect of our community, that is an organization that you have to go out and support and really get to know…”.

We are committed, consistent, and driven to engage diverse, and multicultural audiences, artists, and our community in experiences that explore other perspectives, and create meaning. But we can’t do it without your help. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective as we continue to promote diversity and multiculturalism, pursue collaborations, and provide access to the arts.

“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.


Signature New White
Steph Hickling Beckman, Managing Artistic Director
Different Strokes PAC
(828) 275-2093

Read about our Board of Directors