Staff and Volunteers

YPPC Staff

Jessica Horstman Sabatini

Artistic Director

Jessica's journey in the world of theater began at YPPC, where she dedicated 12 years of her life, from age 6 and continuing until she turned 18. Her academic journey led her to achieve a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a minor in Business Administration from ECU. Over the course of more than 20 years, she has accumulated experience as an actor, director, and producer, with performances on both local stages and the bustling theater scene of New York City, spanning theater, film, and television.

In addition to her remarkable work in the performing arts, Jessica's leadership and teaching abilities shine through. She has dedicated five years to teaching children's theater, inspiring the next generation of artists. Moreover, for over a decade, she has excelled as a life coach and a sought-after public speaker. 

What truly sets Jessica apart is her unwavering belief in the transformative power of theater, as she passionately strives to evoke catharsis, triggering emotional transformations within audiences through the act of witnessing powerful performances.

Jeffryn Stephens

Co-Founder and Artistic Director

Jeffryn has been the visionary and the engine of YPPC since she and her husband Ty founded the company in 1982. She acts as artistic director, teacher, manager and sometimes writer for the company.  She has directed well over 500 shows with YPPC over the past 26 years. She teaches in all the YPPC classes, camps and workshops as well as managing the schedules and administration of the company.  In addition to YPPC, Jeffryn has directed or taught for:

She holds a Bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame in Dramatic Arts with an emphasis on directing and acting and a Minor in Music with an emphasis on voice. 

During her career Jeffryn has introduced thousands of young artists to the drama and comedy of the theater and she continues to inspire new students daily with her work at YPPC. 

Rick Kless

Technical & Lighting Director

Rich began performing at age 10 and started building sets and hanging lights shortly after that. Rich has been on the road with such headliners as Perry Como and Garth Brooks. He is currently the Theater Operations Supervisor at Duke University where he oversees the technical details of all of the major campus venues.

Rich has performed in over 100 shows and favorite roles include John Adams in "1776", Tommy in "Brigadoon", and Bill Sykes in "Oliver". Together, Susie and Rich toured Europe in 1996 with the European Tour of Leonard Bernstein's "On the Town" he as stage manager and she as a dancer. 

They have also collaborated to create 2 Peas in a Pod Productions in Wilmington NC which was a company of adults performing classic fairy tales as well as contemporary works for kids. 

Their greatest collaboration to date is their twin sons Tyler and Colin.