Ellen Stoehr Design
freelance creative director \\ designer

Wildwood Theatre

Branding a nonprofit


brand + marketing strategy \\ print + digital design \\ web design \\ marketing campaign \\ apparel \\ social media


Tales from the Wood/Patreon video: Acowsay Cinema
Launch video: David Albino

Wildwood Theatre Brand.png

Our story begins…

Wildwood Theatre is a nonprofit aimed at unraveling the stigma of mental health through storytelling.

The problem with mental health:
The world today has lost sight of empathy, making mental health a topic that's poorly received and rather difficult to talk about for some.

In March 2017, David Albino came to me with an idea: Why not use the tools of theatre to express how mental health is affecting each person? He went on to explain why theatre is the art of empathy, having the ability to teach acceptance and understanding through role-playing and character development.

Immediately, I was drawn to create this brand.


Brand DNA Discovery

Step 1: Who are you and why should anyone care?

After completing the Brand DNA exercise, the creative direction and messaging for Wildwood Theatre became clear.

The mission

Unraveling the stigma of mental health through storytelling.

The vision

To reignite empathy in all of us.

The values

We believe curiosity represents the first true touch of understanding. It implies an inherent drive to question, and when explored with earnest love, can even reveal that in our darkest places, we are not alone. It is through curiosity that a fair, peaceful, and sound bridge is built between experiences.

We believe that following the path to acceptance, not assimilation, is the way to embark on a deeper journey of understanding. Acceptance in The Wildwood is built on an understanding that all human experiences are valid. When extending a safe and accepting space to those who seek it, one must also extend and foster a culture of empathy.

The most effective way of relating the inner world of personal perspective to the collective world is through expression — in whatever form that may take! The Wildwood calls us to our talents — compelling us to use them in any way which resonates with the call. The marriage of those aspects create an inspiration for expression, but it is up to us to be bold enough to act upon it.


Step 2: brand nuances

The imagery:
No photography of people, just nature. Lush. saturated forests, landscapes, dark rainy greens and smoke-filled grays.

The emotional feeling:
Evoke wonderment and empowerment, mystery and hospitality. Stillness and peace.

(If there is use of people in photography it is to promote a play or upcoming event and strive to meet the emotional feeling requirement.)

Brand Guide Walkthrough for Wildwood Theatre.gif

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Step 3: tone of voice

The messaging:
Picture the sound of Cate Blanchett’s voice as Lady Galadriel in Lord of Rings combined with sage-like qualities of Gandalf the Wizard; accepting and kind, non judgemental and eager to listen. The embodiment of wisdom, patience and kindness.

  • Wise like your grandmother and energetic like one of Peter Pan's lost boys.

  • Remind people of the biases they carry with them, unknowingly.

  • Remind people that we all harbor shame or fear and must find a way to release it be our best selves.

  • Protectors of those who don’t have the courage to speak up… yet.


Video Direction

Awareness & Product Videos

Who We Are : We are Storytellers.

Storyboard written by Ellen Stoehr.

Video by David Albino.

Patreon Launch Video

Voice over script written by Ellen Stoehr, with collaboration from Sarah Catcher and Martha McDermott. Video by Acowsay Cinema.

Visit patreon.com/Wildwoodtheatre for more info.

Tales From the Wood

We started a project at Wildwood Theatre called “Tales from the Wood” — a place where people who are ready to come forward shamelessly can tell their mental health story.

WHY? Because harbored shame causes fear and holds us back. Because SECRETS keep us SICK. 

Video by Acowsay Cinema.



Event Planning + Design


One \\ What’s Your Story? \\ May + June 2018

Why? Because We Are Narrative Creatures.

As we experience life, we give meaning to the moments that shape us. These moments become stories that define us. We give these “stories of the past” power to shape our present and future. Sometimes these stories are helpful, sometimes harmful.

ABOUT THIS EVENT: Intertwine Northeast and the Wildwood Theatre are collaborating to present “What’s Your Story?” a 2-part series, exploring the helpful and harmful stories we tell ourselves and extending an invitation to imagine new stories we want to live.


Two \\ What’s Your Self Care \\ Mental Health Awareness Month, May 2018

Relentlessly advocating to breakdown generalizations and false reputations of mental health, Wildwood Theatre held a 'raising awareness’ event.

We had some help from our friend Gavin Martin Fitness who leveraged his Self Care in the form of fitness by doing as many burpees as possible in 5 mins to help raise money and awareness for the Wildwood Theater.

Fact: Gavin averages 16 burpees in a minute. So, if Gavin does 80 burpees in 5 minutes, and you pledge 50¢ per burpee, you’d donate $40.

Burpees were live-streamed on Facebook so participants could donate remotely.

The outcome: Successfully raised $360



3 \\ The Autumn Opal Festival, A Celebration of Imperfection \\ October 2018


The opal stone, known for its iridescent beauty, is a kaleidoscope of shifting color ranging from dark to light. For centuries, many feared the stone, labeling it as a bearer of misfortune and harm.

Still, throughout history, the opal has been revealed as a powerful emblem of extraordinary hope. At our inaugural community celebration, The Autumn Opal Festival, we selected the stone as a metaphor for the depth and power that is contained within each of us.

Like the opal, light and darkness make up our existence. Our true worth lies in both. This October, we leave prejudices, assumptions, and harmful expectations to the autumn winds. The Autumn Opal Festival celebrates all of us as we are.

The Autumn Opal Festival serves to showcase what Wildwood has been working on, work to come, and how you can help get us there.

Click here to view the  program  from the event.

Click here to view the program from the event.



Apparel Design

Wildwood Finery

The goal of this apparel: Promote courage and encouragement, “Couragewear.”

Wildwood Finery is designed to remind ourselves and others around us to promote empathy by being curious, by having difficult conversations, and by summoning the courage to be imperfect. By wearing these messages, you’ll encourage others to do the same.

Wildwood Finery


Web Design

Why Wildwood?

The Wildwood is a place for quiet reflection and exploration, created out of deep need, creativity, and hope. Upon entering the Wildwood, each wanderer finds space for acceptance, community, and growth. It is a place for the community to approach the hidden and human parts of ourselves no matter how dark the path. Through theatrical performances and community events, we challenge each other to build a culture of empathy and to make authentic connections.