Megan McCormick, of Mt. Airy, founded the Sine Timore Theatre Company, whose sixth production, “Matilda the Musical,” will be performed Feb. 7 to 9 at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts.

by Len Lear

Community theaters like Stagecrafters in Chestnut Hill, Allens Lane Theater in Mt. Airy and Old Academy Players in East Falls have been entertaining theatergoers for many decades, but there is a new theatrical kid in town, the Sine Timore Theatre Company, whose next production, “Matilda the Musical,” will be performed Friday, Feb. 7, through Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts, 439 Ashbourne Rd. in Cheltenham. (“Matilda the Musical” is based on the beloved book by Roald Dahl. It follows the story of Matilda Wormwood as she navigates her difficult family life, starting at a brand new school, and she realizes her imagination is stronger than she ever knew.)

This audacious two-year-old newcomer has been selling out most of their performances so far (about 100 seats) and receiving enthusiastic reviews from customers and giddy experiences from its mostly young thespians. “Sine Timore is amazing,” said Alyssa Levito, one of the actresses. “It is not only a thriving theatre company but also a loving community! I have so much fun every minute that we spend together. Sine Timore is my everything!”

And perhaps the most remarkable fact about the new theater company is that its founder and inspiration, Megan McCormick, a Mt. Airy resident and graduate of Temple University last year with a degree in Theater Arts, is just 22 years old!

“I was introduced to theater as a child,” said Megan, also an alumna of Bishop Shanahan High School, where her father teaches, “and have loved it ever since. I was lucky to be able to attend programs in the city taught by working professionals. It has been my goal to create a program inspired by those in the city at a more affordable rate in the suburbs.”

What was it that attracted Megan to the theater? “The inclusivity and support from the arts community is amazing. If you’re in the right program, you truly will feel like you have a second family. Theater can do so much more than people think. It builds confidence, teaches team-building and public speaking and can build people up when they’re at their lowest. We are trying to add light to people’s lives, and we are finding joy in the process.”

The name Sine Timore (pronounced “see-nay ti-more-ay”) means “without fear” in Latin. It’s the McCormick Family Coat of Arms since the theater company is a family-run business. Megan’s mother, Jennifer, is a producer, and Megan’s younger brother, Peter, is a production assistant. “Everyone in my family gets involved in some form or another, and we collaborate seamlessly,” said Megan, who chose the name “Sine Timore” because “I love the connection of being fearless on stage, fearless with your craft and fearless to grow into our best selves…

“I have always had a supportive family, and this is a dream that my mom and I have talked about ever since I got into theater. I initially went to a university in New Jersey but transferred to Temple my junior year. When I came back to Philadelphia, I remembered the plans for the company, and I was encouraged to start it then instead of waiting for a ‘perfect’ time.”

“Matilda the Musical” will be the troupe’s sixth performance. However, it is their first show with a mix of adult and child actors. The McCormick family formerly lived in the Glenside area for many years and got to know many families in that area with kids who love theater. They started networking and continue to grow through advertising and word of mouth.

Megan’s mom works closely with St. Luke’s Summer Stock in Glenside and has a passion for the creative arts. Her sister is a performer, and her brother loves the crew and tech side of the process. Her great-grandfather started the Carriage House Players on Long Island, which is still running today. “I guess it’s in our blood!” Megan declared.

The new theater group selected “Matilda the Musical” as their next performance because “the music is beautiful, the story is magical, combining comedy and tragedy, and I wanted to select a show that would bring in adult actors as well as include some of our younger performers.”

How does the former Glenside resident feel about living now in Mt. Airy? “I love being so close to Philadelphia and to Glenside. I love the co-op! I love the diversity and being surrounded by so many creative people. The downside? Well, street parking in the winter!”

Sine Timore also offers acting and singing lessons as well as targeted master classes for dance, audition lessons, etc.

For more information about “Matilda” or Sine Timore, visit www.sttheatre.com. Len Lear can be reached at lenlear@chestnuthilllocal.com

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