• Recent News

    Recent News

Press Contact

Seal of Excellence.jpg

The Freeman Stage accredited by the Standards for Excellence Institute®

The Joshua M. Freeman Foundation is pleased to announce it is a recipient of the Standards for Excellence Institute’s Seal of Excellence for successfully completing the rigorous accreditation program.

The fundraising arts nonprofit voluntarily opened itself up to analysis by a jury of its peers. The peer review team examined the organization for compliance with the Standards for Excellence®: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector, in areas including: mission, strategy and evaluation; leadership: board, staff, and volunteers; legal compliance and ethics; finance and operations; resource development; and public awareness, engagement, and advocacy.

The Standards for Excellence Institute evaluates fundamental values such as honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, responsibility, and accountability, all of which are inherently important in the nonprofit world.

The Foundation’s programs — which include The Freeman Stage as well as its arts in education and community access programs — and services, management, fundraising and financial...


The Freeman Stage looking to expand

By Maria Counts

In just 11 years in the community, the Freeman Stage at Bayside is looking to expand yet again.

Patti Grimes, executive director of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation told the Sussex County Council on Tuesday, Nov. 13, that its current stage — the second iteration of an arts hub in West Fenwick — will continue to grow.

“Our mission remains the heart of our programming,” she said. “Our mission is partnering to present memorable performances and inspired arts education for all.”

Grimes said Delaware residents and guests alike are welcome at the stage, where they also continue to grow in the diversity of programs offered.

“Over 11 years, we have served over a half a million people in this county — 406,000 at the Freeman Stage and 101,000 children in Sussex County schools,” she said, noting, “Sussex County was an arts desert” prior to the stage, but the venue is now “busting at the seams.”

“We have put Sussex County on the map as a place where everyone can come and enjoy the arts,” Grimes said. “We are now the third-largest arts...


School of fish: SMS making waves in art class

By Laura Walter

Selbyville Middle School students recently spilled color into their world with the newest Arts in Education program by the The Freeman Stage.

The Moving Pastels Project let students, teachers and parents create their own self-portraits as a fish, which they paired with a character trait that best describes them.

Known for colorful and whimsical artworks, lead artist John Donato has also previously overseen schoolwide murals in a number of schools.

“A self-portrait … is like the toughest thing in the world to do,” said Donato. “They’re really reflecting on themselves.”

For the full story, please visit the Coastal Point.


The Mayhem Poets inspire Cape High students

By Ellen Driscoll

For Cape High students who say poetry is boring, a Sept. 19 performance by The Mayhem Poets may have been a game-changer.

“Poetry out loud brings everyone together,” said poet Mikumari Caiyhe. “Black, white, brown, green, everyone.”

To the tune of the “Rocky” theme song “Gonna Fly Now,” the poets performed a one-word poem as if sung by cats, meowing the entire song.

“We love doing it, because you can be fun and silly with poetry and performance,” said poet Scott Raven.

For the full story visit the Cape Gazette.


Freeman Stage staff and volunteers take it all in hand

By Christina Weaver/Special to the Coastal Point

From waiting for an artist’s first bus to arrive around 6 a.m., to precisely placing the very first chair for the evening’s show, to security-wanding each patron as they arrive, to serving thousands of beverages, to removing hundreds of bags of trash and recyclables, to watching the last of the artist’s busses leave after 1 a.m., the Freeman Stage blue- and yellow-shirted workers make each event appear to go like clockwork.

“They don’t have the most glamorous of jobs, but they have an enormous sense of accomplishment,” said Michelle Freeman, chairman and president of the Freeman Stage. “Their dedication to our mission” — partnering to present memorable performances and provide inspired arts education for all — “humbles me. I tell them, they may not get to like their work every day, but they get to love it every day.”

Dave Kittell is the facilities and asset manager. For four years, he worked as a seasonal team member at the Stage while teaching English as a second language at Delaware Technical Community College...


2018 season concludes with final events of the summer

As September nears, The Freeman Stage is excited to celebrate its final events of the 2018 season.

The annual Labor Day celebration with Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and fireworks will take place Sunday, Sept. 2. This performance begins at 7 p.m. and is free for all patrons, though seating and admittance are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Patrons can guarantee a seat for this high attendance event by reserving a ticket on freeemanstage.org for $10; reserved seats will be held until 7:15 p.m.

The MSO, under the direction of Maestro Julien Benichou, will perform an evening of great jazz and light classics. The fireworks display will immediately follow the performance.

“The season finale with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is such a magical evening and a celebrated tradition,” said Patti Grimes, the executive director of The Freeman Stage. “The fireworks cap off the evening as a thank you to the community for their continued support of the arts.”

The Arts & Jazz Festival, will be held Saturday, Sept. 15, and is an all-day event. This event...


Poetry Out Loud participants take the Stage

The Freeman Stage is excited to announce three Delaware students who participated in the Poetry Out Loud program recited their poems prior to the Delaware All-State Theatre performance of “Evita,” on Tuesday, June 26.

Poetry Out Loud is a national program — sponsored locally by the Delaware Division of the Arts (DDOA) — that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. The program uses a pyramid structure that starts at the classroom level where winners advance to a school-wide competition, then a regional and/or state competition before advancing to nationals. Each fall, the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation partners with Sussex County high schools and the DDOA to present poetry residency programs for high school students and to support the Poetry Out Loud program.

The three students who recited their poetry at The Freeman Stage included state semi-finalist Tanaye Purnell from Sussex Central High School, state semi-finalist Tania Laurent from Seaford High School, and state...

35210239834_540d93542f_k (1).jpg

Freeman Stage announces Vol. 2 of season lineup

The Freeman Stage announced Vol. 2 of the 2018 season Monday, April 9, at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach. The second announcement pulled back the curtain on over 40 performances, including the Stage’s Young Audience series, cultural performances and free events.

The 2018 season will be the arts nonprofit’s biggest season to date — with 67 events. Headlining acts announced Monday, include Alison Krauss on June 9; The Four Tops & The Temptations on July 2; country artist Lee Brice on July 5; Boys II Men on July 12; Pat Benatar, Neil Giraldo and Rick Springfield on July 23; southern rock jam band Gov’t Mule on July 25; Matisyahu on July 26; Mary Chapin Carpenter on July 28; Gin Blossoms on Aug. 2; Postmodern Jukebox on Aug. 17; SOJA on Aug. 19; Michael Bolton on Aug. 31; Phillip Phillips and Gavin DeGraw on Sept. 1 and the Gipsy Kings on Sept. 16. Tickets go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Monday, April 16.

This season’s growth was a way to fulfill the needs of everyone in the community, said Patti Grimes, executive director of The...

Freeman Stage.jpg

The Freeman Stage announces Vol. 1 of two-part reveal

With more than 60 performances in its 2018 season, The Freeman Stage recently announced Vol. 1 of its two-part season reveal. Vol. 1 of this season’s lineup includes dance, theatre, children’s performances and live music. Tickets will go on sale for these events at 10 a.m. Monday, March 26.

Headlining performances include Smokey Robinson on June 1; The Wailers on June 15; Chris Janson on June 22; Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers with special guest The Wood Brothers on June 30; comedian Jeff Foxworthy on July 7; Tony Award winner Leslie Odom Jr., on July 8; Straight No Chaser on July 24; The Beach Boys on Aug. 3; O.A.R. with special guest Matt Nathanson on Aug. 9; Cheap Trick on Aug. 10; Vince Gill on Aug. 11 and Voodoo Threauxdown featuring Trombone Shorty & News Orleans Avenue, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, New Breed Brass Band and Galactic on Aug. 16.

Crowd favorites, who will once again grace the stage, include the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, the First State Ballet, Clear Space Theatre Company and Brown Box Theatre Project. “Locals Under the Lights,”...


2017 Stage breakdown

October 19, 2017

Folding up the Freeman Stage after a successful 2017 season.


2017: Looking back on Season 10

September 25, 2017

A look back on our 10th season at The Freeman Stage


10 Years of Memories

August 1, 2017

As we made our way through Season 10, Michelle Freeman looks back on what has helped to make The Freeman Stage the success that it is today.


Hunter Hayes 7/28 performance cancelled

The decision has been made by The Freeman Stage at Bayside to cancel tonight’s performance by Hunter Hayes in anticipation of severe weather expected in our area. Unfortunately, this performance will not be rescheduled. We are just as disappointed as you may be, however we feel as though this is the right decision for everyone’s safety. Refunds will automatically be processed within 12-14 business days to all original ticket buyers. Please reach out to our Box Office at 302-436-3015 if you have any questions. You may also contact Eventbrite directly at www.eventbrite.com/support/contact-us. You will receive additional communication from Eventbrite with updates regarding your refund. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this process.


Kristie Maravalli joins JMFF as new Director of Development

July 27, 2017

The Joshua M. Freeman Foundation is pleased to announce Kristie Maravalli will join our team as our new Director of Development beginning Aug. 22. Kristie has served as the Executive Director of the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce since 2014, where she started as the Director of Membership in 2013. Her experience and partnerships in the area are essential strengths in this position, as the Director of Development is responsible for all aspects of fundraising within the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation. We are excited to welcome Kristie on board!


July 1 performance of The O'Jays has been cancelled

June 29, 2017

A Message from The Freeman Stage at Bayside:

Due to an illness within The O'Jays, their upcoming performance on Saturday, July 1, is cancelled and will not be rescheduled during our 2017 season. We are hopeful for a speedy recovery and that we will be able to bring The O'Jays back in a future season.

Refunds will automatically be processed within 12-14 business days to all original ticket buyers. Please reach out to our Box Office at 302-436-3015 if you have any questions. You may also contact Eventbrite directly at www.eventbrite.com/support/contact-us. You will receive additional communication from Eventbrite with updates regarding your refund.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this process.


Memories from longtime Freeman Stage patron Janet Powell

April 5, 2017

We love our patrons! Recently a longtime patron, Janet Powell of Ocean View, sat down with us to talk about what she enjoys about her experiences here at The Freeman Stage!

Ben Harper

Just added: Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals to perform Aug. 22!

March 21, 2017

The Joshua M. Freeman Foundation is proud to announce the addition of a three-time Grammy winner to this season’s lineup at The Freeman Stage at Bayside.

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals will perform at The Freeman Stage on Tuesday, Aug. 22. Harper has released 14 studio albums and three live albums since 1994. In 2013, his collaboration with Charlie Musselwhite, “Get Up!” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Blues chart and spent 24 weeks in the Top 10. It won a Best Blues Album Grammy for Harper and harmonica master Musselwhite. Harper’s albums, combined with an unceasing commitment to international touring, have helped him grow a fan base that spans several continents.

Tickets will range from $35 to $65 for all ages, including infants and toddlers.

2017-Launch-homepage_FINAL_600 (1).jpg

2017 Freeman Stage season announcement

March 15, 2017

The Joshua M. Freeman Foundation recently announced its 2017 summer season at The Freeman Stage at Bayside, which will feature a diverse offering of dance, theatre, children’s performances and live music in celebration of its 10th season.

The national acts include Tedeschi Trucks Band on June 17; Baltimore Raven’s kicker Justin Tucker on June 18; The Stray Cat Lee Rocker on June 24; comedian Jay Leno on June 30; The O’Jays on July 1; Dustin Lynch & Granger Smith on July 6; Blues Travelers on July 11; The Wallflowers and Better than Ezra on July 12; Gary Clark Jr. on July 17; Hunter Hayes on July 28; Michael Franti & Spearhead on July 29; Sutton Foster on July 30; Chicago on Aug. 1; Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue on Aug. 3; Mary Chapin Carpenter on Aug. 8 and Joey Alexander Trio on Aug. 12.

This year’s performers include three Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, a Caldecott book honoree as well as a two-time Tony winner and, combined, have 15 Grammy Awards and over 30 Grammy nominations; two Country Music Association Awards; 3 Emmy Awards and 17...


Pam Green's favorite Freeman Stage memory

March 14, 2017

We've been interviewing some our patrons, sponsors, and partners this week and many of them have shared their favorite memories at The Freeman Stage. Here's a great one from Pamela Green of The Dispatch, who will be returning as a sponsor in 2017.


Carpool Karaoke with Michelle & Doug

February 9, 2017

This upcoming Sunday is an exciting day! We are very excited to see who the Grammy winners are that night, but it’s also a big day for our own Michelle DiFebo Freeman who will be celebrating a BIG birthday. Recently, Michelle joined Doug (our Creative & Digital Media Manager) for a little Carpool Karaoke … a fun tribute to the music we love and James Corden, host of the Grammy Awards and The Late Late Show with James Corden. Enjoy their fun trip through Sussex County!


'Our mission is really true to everything we do’: 10 years after his death, Josh Freeman’s legacy continues to enrich lives

December 14, 2016

Josh Freeman was a man who believed in more than building homes and shopping centers — for him, it was about building quality of life. And in the 10 years since his untimely death his companies and the organizations in his honor, have continued to carry on the legacy of creating places that enrich lives.

Freeman, who died in a helicopter crash on Dec. 14, 2006, was the President and CEO of the Carl M. Freeman Companies, which develops and manages commercial and residential properties. He also served as the chairman of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, a private family foundation that provides grants to nonprofits in the mid-Atlantic region.

For those who knew Josh Freeman several words are continually used to describe him — kind, fun-loving, philanthropic, inclusive and witty. He joined the Carl M. Freeman Companies, a company founded in 1947 by his father, Carl, in 1986 as a leasing agent and was named President in 1992. He was a community builder whose leadership and personal commitment was focused on making the places he lived and raised his family a better place for...


Gone too soon: Remembering Josh Freeman 10 years later

December 14, 2016

Today, Dec. 14, marks the 10th anniversary of Josh Freeman’s sudden passing. On this important day, Michelle Freeman wanted to share some thoughts about her late husband:

“The Freeman family is so grateful for the incredible support and encouragement since the passing of Josh in 2006. Josh believed each person is unique with their own special qualities. I’d like to think that what we have accomplished in his name continues to build upon his legacy. A beautiful characteristic of my husband was his personal commitment to ‘pay it forward.’ If anyone would like to do anything in his remembrance today, ‘pay it forward’ in any way that you see fit. He would have loved that.”

Michelle thought that it may be fitting to also share Josh’s favorite poem, “If” by Rudyard Kipling, which he would often recite:

  • If you can keep your head when all about you
  • Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
  • If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
  • But make allowance for their doubting too;
  • If you can wait and not be tired by...

The next stage in this Stage’s life

September 10, 2016

A different stage will be coming to The Freeman Stage in 2017!


Jane’s Volunteer Perspective

September 10, 2016


Date Night

September 10, 2016


Labor Day Weekend performances with Gavin DeGraw & Andy Grammer and Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra have been canceled

September 3, 2016

In agreement with artist management the decision has been made to cancel the Gavin DeGraw and Andy Grammer performance on Sept. 3 based upon the predicted severe weather. This performance will not be rescheduled. We are just as disappointed by this news as you may be, but we feel it’s the right decision. Refunds will be available to all original ticket buyers, who should call our offices at 302-436-3015 to start the refund process. Ticket purchasers also will have an option to donate the value of the tickets towards the mission of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation.

Additionally, the Season Fireworks Finale with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra & U.S. Army Blues Band on Sept. 4 has also been canceled due to the predicted forecast. The fireworks show has been rescheduled to take place after the Bruce in the USA performance on Sept. 9. Tickets for that show are available for purchase online at www.freemanstage.org.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this process.