Churchill Theater is owned and operated by 16-year-old Sam Wurdemann.
If you were looking for a reason to follow your dreams, let this young man inspire you. Meet Sam Wurdemann, the teenage playwright.
Sam tried out for his first play in middle school, “and became entrapped in it all pretty quickly,” he says. As a proud member of the theater family, Sam recalls being inspired by Saturday Night Live and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, writing scripts in that format; he finished his first play in the seventh grade.
Through his experience, Sam explains how he’s learned to overcome writer’s block. His best ideas come from the right inspiration. “Sometimes I’ll be sitting and thinking until that one thing I’m looking for pops into my head,” he says. “Once I have it, I tend to go nuts. It’s building on one idea with a bunch of other ones until it transforms into something we can perform.”
After producing his own plays for years, Sam started Churchill Theater. It started off small, with an adaptation of The Wizard of Oz put together by his neighbors. Next, Sam wrote a mini adaptation of Alice in Wonderland—his first time directing and showcasing his scripts. Ever since, he’s watched the theater family get bigger—larger casts, bigger products and greater payoffs.
Spies is Sam’s most recent (and favorite) show. “Spies was our first original musical. It was the most ambitious show by far,” he says. “We had to rent out performance space. We had two performances and filled the seats for both shows.”
This year, Sam and Churchill Theater are performing three shows. A staged reading of Spies and a one-act took place earlier this year. At the end of summer, he’s planning for a feature production.
“None of this would be possible without a team of people that each contribute in their own way to make our shows the best they can be,” Sam says.
“From the families in the neighborhood providing costumes, props, sets to my friends that take on artistic and promotional roles that I can’t handle.”
Following high school, Sam hopes to study theater in Chicago or New York. He says, “Theater is a medium unlike any other … Theater is magic.”