Director of Education
MEG HEIMSTEAD (Director of Education) has been with American Stage for 8 years, serving as both the Director of Education and working in the community as a teaching artist, specializing in reaching at-risk/underserved populations. She has directed 5 American Stage School Tour productions and launched new educational programming for both children and adults, strengthening the Education Department and expanding its reach throughout the community. Ms. Heimstead is a member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education and serves on the Arts Magnet Advisory Board for Pinellas County Schools. She also serves as an adjudicator for the Florida State Thespian Festival at both the regional and state levels. Most recently, her department’s work was honored with the 2014 WEDU Be More Knowledgeable Award. Under Ms. Heimstead’s leadership, the Education department has also been honored by the St. Petersburg Mayor at the Top Apple Awards (now the St. Pete’s Promise Awards) for the past 5 years and the department was awarded the 2012 Community Service Award from the Pinellas Association of Retarded Citizens. As an actress, she has worked with the California Shakespeare Festival in Berkley, CA, Summer Repertory Theatre in Santa Rosa, CA, PlayMakers Repertory Theatre in Chapel Hill, NC, The Gorilla Theatre and Jobsite Theater in Tampa, freefall Theatre, and The Backlot Theater in Sarasota. At American Stage, Meg was last seen as Karen in August: Osage County. Ms. Heimstead is the founder and former Managing Director for A Simple Theatre, St. Petersburg’s newest professional theatre. She holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Evansville in Evansville, IN. She also attended the Professional Actor Training Program at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
Interim Education Associate/Teaching Artist
TIFFANY FORD (Interim Education Associate/Teaching Artist) is a director, producer, and teaching artist of collaborative, devised, and documentary theatre & film. She is the founder of Wobble Rocket Stage in Washington D.C, and recently moved back to her native state of Florida! Tiffany has worked with many organizations to empower intellectual, emotional, and artistic growth within individuals and communities, including: The Kennedy Center, Imagination Stage, Art Stream, Washington Improv Theatre, Source DC, Madcap Players, The National Cathedral School, and Asolo Repertory Theatre. She is excited to be working with American Stage!
SARAH PULLMAN-ATANACIO (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a BFA in Theatre Performance. While in undergrad, Sarah spent 3 summers working for the university’s Camp Imagination Program as an instructor and director. She also spent 7 years with the groundbreaking Flint Youth Theatre (FYT) under Executive Artistic Director, William P. Ward. Sarah served as an Apprentice Artist, performing in youth-centric shows and assisting in theatre classes for various age groups. FYT original production credits include Spire, Strands: The Legacy of 9/11, My Soul to Take, Visions of Sugarplums and All Hallows Eve. After graduation, Sarah moved to New York City, where she worked as an actress, performing in such productions as Whatever and Delicately, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Casina, Calamity Jane Battles the Horrible Hoop Snakes and Similarities. She always dreamed of returning to youth theatre instruction and began searching for opportunities after moving to Florida in July of 2013. Sarah feels very fortunate to be a part of American Stage Education and to be working with so many wonderful artists.
Lecturer for the Mainstage Lecture Series
DEDEE ALECCIA (Lecturer for the Mainstage Lecture Series) Professor Emerita Dedee Aleccia received her Bachelor’s degree in English from Rosary Hill College and her two Masters’ degrees (in English and Art History) from SUNY Binghamton. For her Master’s degree in Art History, Dedee conducted on-site research on the Thomas Becket window cycle at Canterbury Cathedral in England. Dedee has held professorships at Broome Community College and Montgomery College and has served as adjunct professor at SUNY Binghamton, the University of Baltimore, and Eckerd College. Among the many literature subjects she has taught are world literature, British literature, the Bible as Literature, 19th century literature, modern drama, and Shakespeare. In art history she has taught such subjects as world art, Greco-Roman art, medieval art, Renaissance art, and 19th century art. She has served as director of Montgomery College’s Honors Program and has taught several honors courses. Awarded the opportunity to serve as a Smithsonian Fellow, she researched images of labor in 19th century art.
Jean E. Calandra
JEAN E. CALANDRA (Teaching Artist) started her professional career on stage as an Equity actor and singer with the St. Louis Municipal Opera Company. She received her BFA in Theatre and Music, and her MA in Theatre and Speech from the University of Nebraska. Her teaching experience includes assignments at the University of Regensburg in Germany; Middlesex University in London, where she taught the Drama Diploma Course offered jointly by Middlesex and the Royal Academy of Music and Drama; adjunct instructor at USF in the Communications Department and the School of Theatre and Dance; and drama/speech instruction in private and public schools in the Tampa Bay area. In addition to a long and diverse career as an Equity actor Jean has participated in professional workshops led by Robert Cole (Michael Chekov Technique), Augusto Boal (Forum Theatre), Peggy Loft (Voice for the Professional Actor), and Marge Barstow (Alexander Technique), which has enhanced her scope and practice as a performance teacher for students of all ages.
DANIELLE CALDERONE (Teaching Artist) has been with American Stage for 8 years, serving as both the Director of Education and working in the community as a teaching artist, specializing in reaching at-risk/underserved populations. She has directed 5 American Stage School Tour productions and launched new educational programming for both children and adults, strengthening the Education Department and expanding its reach throughout the community. Ms. Heimstead is a member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education and serves on the Arts Magnet Advisory Board for Pinellas County Schools. She also serves as an adjudicator for the Florida State Thespian Festival at both the regional and state levels. Most recently, her department’s work was honored with the 2014 WEDU Be More Knowledgeable Award. Under Ms. Heimstead’s leadership, the Education department has also been honored by the St. Petersburg Mayor at the Top Apple Awards (now the St. Pete’s Promise Awards) for the past 5 years and the department was awarded the 2012 Community Service Award from the Pinellas Association of Retarded Citizens. As an actress, she has worked with the California Shakespeare Festival in Berkley, CA, Summer Repertory Theatre in Santa Rosa, CA, PlayMakers Repertory Theatre in Chapel Hill, NC, The Gorilla Theatre and Jobsite Theater in Tampa, freefall Theatre, and The Backlot Theater in Sarasota. At American Stage, Meg was last seen as Karen in August: Osage County. Ms. Heimstead is the founder and former Managing Director for A Simple Theatre, St. Petersburg’s newest professional theatre. She holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Evansville in Evansville, IN. She also attended the Professional Actor Training Program at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
KATIE CASTONGUAY (Teaching Artist) is an Eckerd College graduate with a B.A. in Theatre Arts. She has been a teaching artist at American Stage since 2007 and has performed in three of American Stage’s School Tour productions; Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Charlotte’s Web, and The Wind in the Willows. Recent acting credits include Fahrenheit 451, Hay Fever, Crimes of the Heart, and All New People, and The Last Night of Ballyhoo at Jobsite Theatre, Biloxi Blues at Stageworks and Musings of a Postmodern Romantic with Tampa Repertory Theatre.
SCOTT COOPER (Teaching Artist) is an Associate Professor and the Head of the Theater Department at Saint Petersburg College where he has directed Xanadu, Fools, Godspell, All in the Timing and The Laramie Project. He has also directed for Eckerd College. You may also know him as a guy who designs some scenery here and there (American Stage, Jobsite, Gorilla, Jaeb, Stageworks in the Tampa area). He is thrilled to be directing for the American Stage Teen Summer Institute and the Education department. www.scottcooperdesigns.com
GILES DAVIES (Teaching Artist) completed his M.F.A. at The Ohio State University. He has taught workshops, residencies and classes for all ages and experience levels. He was an Ohio Arts Council resident teaching artist for 7 years and adjunct professor at The University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music and Drama for 6 years. He specializes in teaching Shakespeare, movement, and acting. He has had the privilege of studying with Marcel Marceau, The SITI Co., Richard Schechner, The Wooster Group, Kevin Kling, and Danny Hoch, among others. He initiated a High School age actor training program at The Cincinnati Shakespeare Co., where he worked full time as an ensemble member for 9 years (performing in over 45 productions on their stage). In the Tampa area he has taught with The Patel Conservatory, The American Stage summer programs, Hillsborough Community College, workshops at The Gorilla Theatre and independent sessions with various local artists and students. As an actor, Giles has worked throughout the country. Most recent Tampa Bay credits include A Mid Summer Night’s Dream (freeFall Theatre), Death and the Maiden (A Simple Theatre) and November (American Stage.)
JULIANA DAVIS (Teaching Artist) received her BA in Musical Theatre from Lees-McRae College in NC and has been working professionally as an actor, choreographer and director for over ten years. She has performed locally in Motherhood the Musical (Straz Center) and Shear Madness (Florida Studio Theatre). Other Credits include: The Taffetas (The Denver Center), The House of Blue Leaves, Pippin, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Arvada Center) and Doubt (Lake Dillon Theatre Co). Early in her career, she began teaching dance and theatre at the high school level and since has choreographed and/or directed numerous productions across the US. In 2010, Juliana received an Ovation Award for her choreography for Lake Dillon Theatre Company’s production of Hair. After years of bouncing around, Juliana is happy to have landed in St Petersburg. She is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.
ELIZABETH FENDRICK (Teaching Artist) has worked as a professional actress for more than 30 years. She is a member of SAG-AFTRA and earned an MA in Performance Studies. Elizabeth has taught around the Tampa Bay area for many years, including at USF, The Patel Conservatory, and Carrollwood Day School (HS). She has also appeared locally on stage at Jobsite Theater, Stageworks, Tampa Players and many others. Elizabeth serves on the Board of Directors for Jobsite Theater and the Gasparilla International Film Festival. Check her out at www.elizabethfendrick.com.
SELENA FREY (Teaching Artist) has studied the art of Ballet and other forms of dance for over 12 years. Her choreography credits include The Wedding Singer (Asst., Ruth Eckerd Hall, “Next Stop Broadway”) and Xanadu (Saint Petersburg College). She has studied dance at the Orlando City Ballet and the Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia. Selena is currently studying Theatre Performance at the University of South Florida and with the SITI Company in New York this summer. Acting credits include Godspell, Fool for Love (May), and several devised and original works including Ravens (USF Brit Program, directed by Helen Tennison). She is thrilled to be given the opportunity to work with American Stage Education and the Teen Summer Institute.
Thomas D. Guthrie
THOMAS D. GUTHRIE (Teaching Artist) holds a B.M. in Music Education from Miami University – Oxford, OH and a M.Ed. in Secondary Education/Behavior Psychology from Xavier University – Cincinnati, OH. Thomas retired to St. Petersburg from Cincinnati, Ohio after a lengthy career teaching music (choral, piano, guitar, band), directing/performing theater as well as serving as a full time church organist. He has been recognized by “Who’s Who” Among America’s Music Teachers and prior to moving to St. Petersburg, Thomas taught ‘Music Theatre Voice’ and ‘Songs & Scenes’ at the Preparatory Department of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Early in his career, he spent several years as a freelance Music Director while residing in New York City. He has directed, produced, and musically directed well over 100 productions at theater-schools as well as at community, regional, & professional theatres. Beyond his formal education, Thomas was mentored by the late Ross Allen, Asst. Conductor of Broadway’s Les Miz, studied voice with Barbara Eubanks of the NYC Met and sang under the baton of James Levine, Robert Shaw, & John Rutter. Since moving to St. Petersburg, Thomas has directed, produced, accompanied, and/or overseen 19 productions in the past 4 years, accompanied for The Broadway Theatre Project, Three Broadway Tenors, Five Broadway Divas, and several local schools as well as served as an adjudicator for the Florida State Thespian Festival. He also coaches and teaches private voice from his home studio. This is the third summer for Thomas at the Teen Summer Institute.
VIRGINIA HARDT (Teaching Artist) became a teaching artist with American Stage in September, 2013, teaching Improvisation for the Young Actor. She has also taught numerous improvisation workshops in Pinellas and Lee Counties. Virginia began her career in the entertainment industry working in the Story Department at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in Los Angeles. She has worked as a Casting Assistant on such films as Face/off and Austin Powers International Man of Mystery. She studied at the Groundings School and graduated from the Second City Conservatory Program. Virginia has worked under Dick Schaal, David Razowsky, Gary Austin, Karen Maruyama, Holly Wortell and Mike Ross. She is a former member of the Second City LA long form group, Gonzalez Arrives. Virginia holds a degree in Sociology from Florida State University as well as Exceptional Student Education from St. Petersburg College.
GAVIN HAWK (Teaching Artist) may be known to American Stage audiences as one half of Hawk and Wayne, who have performed their long-form improv shows It’s a Living, The Dumb Show and 321 as part of First Sunday Improv in the cabaret space for the past several years. Other acting credits include Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (freeFall Theatre), Hate Mail (The Studio@620),Circumference of a Squirrel (The Studio@620), Love, Bukowski(California Repertory Company), Cider House Rules: Parts I & II (California Repertory Company), Gross Indecency (Huntington Theatre), Over the Tavern II: King O’ The Moon (Studio Arena/Pittsburgh Public), and Refuge (Soho Repertory). Recently he formed his own non-profit theatre company called A Simple Theatre, and directed their past three productions; Death and the Maiden, Congratulations Joe, and Good Egg. In addition to acting and directing, he is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Eckerd College. He holds a Diploma in Acting from The Juilliard School Drama Division, and an M.F.A. in Acting/Directing from California State University, Long Beach. He is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association.
MOLLY HEALY (Teaching Artist) is a University of South Florida alumnus with degrees in Theater Performance and History. This is Molly’s second year teaching with American Stage where she has run classes in improvisation for children, acting at PARC and assisted in one of the high school playwriting classes. Previously, she worked with Tampa Creative Camps as a teacher, stage manager, and director. As an actress, Molly has appeared in several productions in the Tampa area including Othello, R.U.R and The Waiting Room. She also toured many local elementary schools in American Stage’s School Tour production of Rembrandt Takes a Walk.
STEVE GARLAND (Teaching Artist) is a professional actor with a Bachelor’s in English from UC Davis, now in his sixth year as a teaching artist for the American Stage Education Department in the Pinellas County school system as well as the summer sessions. Regional appearances include work with Asolo Rep (Twelve Angry Men, The Life of Galileo), freeFall Theatre (Spring Awakening, A Midsummer Night’s Dream) American Stage (Opus, The Seafarer), and Jobsite Theater (Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay for his work in The Pillowman). Other credits include The Rover for Circle X in Los Angeles, as well as Waiting for Lefty, Trifles, and Key West, all in San Francisco. His television credits include “Burn Notice” and AMC’s upcoming “Halt and Catch Fire.”
JAIME GIANGRANDE-HOLCOM (Teaching Artist) is a Brooklyn native and a graduate of USF’s School of Theater and Dance. She is a full time high school theatre teacher in Tampa, Fl. where she helps students become life-long learners and reach their full performing potential both on and off the stage. When she is not teaching, you can find her working as a director, actor or stage-manager with local Tampa Bay theatre companies including Jobsite Theater, Hat Trick Theatre, Gorilla Theatre, Patel Conservatory and American Stage. She has also worked in theaters throughout New York and Orlando, including Disney, Sea World, Busch Gardens, Universal Studios, and Gatorland of Orlando. Jaime is also an active member with the sketch comedy troupe Some Sort of Show. She believes that there is an artist in everyone; it just depends on how far you’re willing to go to find it.
KARA GOLDBERG (Teaching Artist) is in her first year as a Teaching Artist for American Stage. In the spring of 2014, she assisted in multiple American Stage classes, teaching drama, improv, playwriting, and creative storytelling. Kara was also seen in American Stage’s School Tour production of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. In addition to American Stage, Kara is on Staff at the Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, and also works as an actress, stage manager, and director. Kara graduated from Flagler College of St. Augustine, Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts.
Jessica K. Scruggs
JESSICA K. SCRUGGS (Teaching Artist) is honored to say that American Stage was her first teaching job when she moved to Tampa in 2012. With over ten years of teaching experience, Jessica is currently the Director of Musical Theatre at Blake School of the Arts in Tampa, where in addition to running/teaching the musical theatre program, directing shows and planning close to twenty events a year, Jessica also co-sponsors a Thespian troupe of close to 100 students and has helped lead them to showcase pieces at the Florida State Thespian Festival. Additional teaching experience includes the Patel Conservatory, Broadway Dance Center of New York City, Gateway Playhouse, New York Film Academy, Front and Center for Performing Arts and Steps School of Dance. She also served as a resident director/choreographer for the Nickelodeon live shows on Norwegian Cruise Lines. Throughout New York, Jessica has directed and choreographed numerous shows including countless productions at Gateway Playhouse, the Fringe, and TAI. As an actress, Jessica appeared last year in Of Mice and Men at Stageworks in Tampa and has various Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway credits including Room Service, The Lunar Academy and many original works. She has also had principal roles on “One Life to Live”, “30 Rock”, “3 Lbs.” and AMC’s “Rubicon”. Jessica graduated from the Professional Performing Arts School in New York City and holds her B.A. in Theatre from SUNY New Paltz. She has spent time training at CAP21 and The Actor’s Institute where she began her studies with master teacher, Allen Schoer.
Marissa Nicole Koch
MARISSA NICOLE KOCH (Teaching Artist) is a Florida State University graduate with a B.A. in Theatre and History. This is her fourth year as a Teaching Artist with American Stage in the Summer Programs. Performance credits include Guys and Dolls, Sweet Charity, Once On This Island, Henry V, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Wizard of Oz, Camelot and Kiss Me, Kate. She looks forward to another fantastic summer at American Stage.
TIA JEMISON (Teaching Artist) is thrilled to celebrate her second year as a teaching artist with American Stage. She graduated from USF with degrees in Psychology and Theatre Performance. Credits include the Straz Centers ‘S Wonderful and USF’s; 100 Saints You Should Know and Hair, The Amen Corner (HCC Ybor). She directed the 2010 USF Honors production of Animals and Plant, which was also remounted at the Silver Meteor Gallery. She has appeared in The Young Dramatists Project (Gorilla Theatre); Colored Museum, As Bees in Honey Drown, and A Lesson Before Dying (all at Stageworks). Jobsite audiences have seen her in Race, Einstein’s Dreams, and Taming of the Shrew. American Stage credits include Steel Magnolias, The Wiz, Seven Guitars, August: Osage County and A Very Merry Children’s Scientology Pageant. Tia is also a part of Talitha Anyabwele’s Black Girl Speaks. Outside of working as an actress in the Tampa Bay area, Tia is a professional vocalist, having toured with Ted Shumate and many other world class musicians.
PATRICK MCINNIS (Teaching Artist) has been a performer for over 25 years. He has performed locally in plays, musicals and, most recently, in his own one-man show, The Comedy Hypnosis Experience. In addition, Patrick performs with The Third Thought in the area’s longest running weekly improv show. He has completed intensive studies with Piero Proccacini, a Second City and Improv Olympic graduate, and Kevin Mullaney, former instructor at ImprovOlympic and UCB, along with several workshops. Patrick has been teaching long form improvisation since 2011.
LOGAN MECKLENBURG (Teaching Artist) has over two decades of experience in the arts. In 2002, she earned her BFA from University of the Arts. She has since performed on stage and television, directed theatrical events, and completed an internship with the prestigious Mike Lemon Casting company.