TIFFANY FORD (Director of Education & Outreach, Director of Improv) is a director, producer, and teaching artist dedicated to empowering people and communities through seeing and creating powerful theatre together. As a Senior Leader, the Director of Education & Outreach, and the Director of Improv at American Stage, Tiffany has grown and elevated many decades-long programs, such as our School Tour, Summer Theater Programs, and our residencies in public schools. She has also developed new and successful American Stage initiatives that bring our community together and help sustain growth for the organization, such as the very popular American Stage Improv, and Corporate Training programs.
Prior to her tenure at American Stage, Tiffany worked with Asolo Repertory Theatre as the Education Specialist to craft and produce deeply relevant community engagement programs. While she is a native Floridian, she spent the first 8 years of her career in Washington DC where she worked with The American Alliance for Theatre & Education, Imagination Stage, and founded and led Wobble Rocket Stage. Her teaching and directing work in DC also includes The Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival, Washington Improv Theatre, Art Stream, Source DC, Madcap Players, The National Cathedral School, and more.
She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she founded Project Spotlight (the student-led production company still running for over 15 years), and received a degree in Theatre Studies and a minor in Philosophy. While at UCF, she was honored with a national nomination in Directing for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, as well as the Gene Columbus Award.
PATRICK A. JACKSON (Adult Education Associate) is an actor, teaching artist and creative from Richmond, VA. He is an alumnus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, where he received his B.A. in Drama and has studied with the British American Drama Academy. Patrick’s love for theater is rooted in improvisation, comedy, spoken word and story telling. Recent acting credits include: Miles/Shawn/Rashaad in GLORIA (Mad Cow Theatre), Joseph Asagai in RAISIN IN THE SUN (American Stage), and The White Rabbit in ALICE WITH A TWIST (Florida Studio Theatre). Outside of the theatre, Patrick is the Vice President of the Board of Directors for Today’s Church Tampa Bay and also a proud member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and the Actor’s Equity Association. www.patrickajackson.com
SADIE LOCKHART (Community Engagement Associate) is from Rhodesdale, Maryland. She received her BFA in Acting from Towson University in 2015, with minors in International Studies and Spanish. She has been a teaching artist in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and the U.S. Recently she toured with Missoula Children’s Theatre acting and directing a show with young artists across the mid-West. She was an acting and production apprentice at American Stage for the 2016-2017 season and has performed in A.S’s school tour. Sadie is a founding member of ‘The Oven,’ a theater for social change company in Baltimore, MD. Her recent credits include: THE LITTLE MERMAID (MCT); RIKKI TIKKI TAVI; HAIRSPRAY; IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE; AMERICA:A MOSAIC and GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE (American Stage); COMMODITIES and GONE (The Oven); TAMING OF THE SHREW and HENRY IV PART 1 (Baltimore Shakespeare Factory).
MATT ACQUARD (Teaching Artist) is an actor and teaching artist originally from Howard County, Maryland. Matt’s performance history includes: Ensemble in MAMMA MIA!, Jonah Haber in BAD JEWS, Claudio in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, Sketch/Ensemble in HAIRSPRAY, Laurence/Agent Sharp in TARTUFFE, Eeyore/Kanga in WINNIE THE POOH, Red in AMERICA: A MOSAIC (American Stage), Bill/ Lucentio in KISS ME, KATE (Annapolis Shakespeare), Swing/Ensemble in KISS ME KATE! (St. Pete Opera), Soldier in STROVINSKY’s SOLDIER’S TALE (St. Pete Opera), Jack handsome in SUNSHINE CITY: THE MUSICAL (St. Pete Arts), Oberon in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Finalist for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship- Region 2), Judge Turpin in SWEENEY TODD, and Sir Toby Belch in TWELFTH NIGHT. Matt has a deep love and dedication to Arts Education and has taught theatre to students ranging from Elementary to High School, performed in multiple children’s theatre shows, and actively continues to be an arts advocate and believer in the good arts education can do in one’s life. Training: BFA in Acting from Towson University and the American Stage Acting/Apprentice Program.
COURTNEY ANNE MCLAREN (Teaching Artist) is thrilled to return to American Stage. Courtney holds a BA from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with concentrations in theater, music, and arts management. While in college, she spent summers as an acting apprentice at three renowned New England theaters, Berkshire Theatre Group, Commonwealth Shakespeare, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Before joining American Stage, she acted as an Artist-in-Residence at Berkshire Theatre Group, teaching playwriting and acting skills to local students. In her time with American Stage, some of her favorite roles included an Usherette in The Producers, Piglet in Winnie the Pooh, and Lydia Wickham in Miss. Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. Courtney sends her thanks to family and friends for their love and support.
KRIS ATKINSON (Teaching Artist) is originally from Tulsa Oklahoma, is a filmmaker, writer, and comedic actor, that has been in St Pete since 2013. He has a Bachelors of Fine Art in Graphic Design and Mixed Media Art and a MFA in film making and screenwriting with a focus on the comedic response. Kris has written and directed eight short films and has experience as a 1st Assistant Director, Unit Production Manager, Line Producer, Art Director and in other art department rolls on various film projects. Kris is a graduate of the American Stage Improv program and plays with the indie house team OK GOOGLE.
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.
WILLIAM BRYANT (Teaching Artist) William Bryant is an award winning actor, director, music director, dancer, and singer. He began music directing at age 15 and attended Berklee College of Music. While working with a big band orchestra, William fell in love with ballroom dancing and traveled the world for years as a professional dancer. He has worked in every aspect of theatre for over 40 years. His most rewarding projects include developing a wheelchair ballroom dance program and performing for area elderly memory care homes.
ALISON BURNS (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and she has been working as a professional performer and teacher for over 14 years. Alison has starred in numerous shows including Off Broadway’s hit musical DISENCHANTED!, the national tour of the Broadway Musical Rent! (Maureen), American Stage’s own Hairspray (Velma), Spelling Bee(Olive), Rocky Horror Show (Janet), and many more regional shows all over the country! Her choreography has been seen in Jobsite Theatre’s Three Penny Opera, Lizzie andSilence! TBPAC’s Rocky Horror, Godspell, Respect and Blake High School’s Urinetown! Her directing credits include: Grease, Willy Wonka, Godspell and everything original she has ever created. She owns Find Your Light Coaching in Seminole, FL where she can be found coaching students of all ages in private voice, film and audition prep.
LAUREN BONE (Teaching Artist) has been practicing and performing improv for the past eight years. She currently lives in St. Pete and performs on a variety of local indie teams such as CARL, Coven, and The Wet Bandits. She has performed in shows across the U.S. at the Del Close Marathon in New York, Detroit Improv Festival, Atlanta Improv Festival, Sarasota Improv Festival, Asheville Improv Festival, and Countdown Improv Festival in Tampa. Her performance and teaching style emphasize listening, playfulness, and emotional honesty.
COLLEEN CHERRY (Teaching Artist) is a St. Pete based singer and theatre artist. She is a graduate of Pinellas County Center for the Arts and holds a BA in Performing Arts from The University of Tampa. Recent theatrical credits include starring in the the Straz/Jobsite Theater co-production of LIZZIE and IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE at American Stage. She started teaching theatre at Galaxy Center for the Arts (where she began performing at 4 years old!) throughout high school & college. She has taught theatre based classes, camps and workshops to youth and teens all over Tampa Bay and beyond and spent several season touring Florida in interactive, educational shows with Stages Productions Family Theater. She is a member of the 20 piece band The Florida Bjorkestra previously featured as the lead vocalist for Life on Venus: The Florida Bjorkestra Plays Bowie and as everyone’s favorite vampire slayer in Buffyfest at The Palladium. By day Colleen works in administration at American Stage.
ALEXANDRIA CRAWFORD (Teaching Artist) is an actress and teaching artist from St. Petersburg, Florida. Her training includes a B.A. in English and Theatre Arts from Rollins College (class of 2016) and the American Stage Acting/Production Apprenticeship Program (2016-2017 season). Some of Alexandria’s past credits include: Hero in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival) Rebel in COLUMBINUS (Innovocative Theatre), Martha Loomis Pentecost in JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE, Pink in AMERICA: A MOSAIC (American Stage), THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, REEFER MADNESS, LARAMIE PROJECT: TEN YEARS LATER, and ANNA IN THE TROPICS (Rollins College). Recently, Alexandria accepted a full ride to Northwestern University’s MFA Acting Program, in which she will be a member of its inaugural class led by Tony Award Winning Director, Anna D. Shapiro. She will begin the Master’s program in the fall of 2019. Alexandria is an Equity Membership Candidate. More at: www.facebook.com/missalexdiva18
JEREMY DOUGLASS (ASI Music Director and Teaching Artist) is a pianist, deep sea welder and leader of acclaimed megasuperband The Florida Bjorkestra. He is the Improv Music Director and instructor at American Stage Improv, and a performer with the house team Definitely Not Murderers. Recently he’s been Jobsite Theater’s resident music director in productions of LIZZIE: A Killer Rock Musical, The Threepenny Opera, and Jobsite’s #1 selling show Hedwig And The Angry Inch. He’s composed original music for Jobsite’s productions of The Tempest, Edgar And Emily and Othello. Currently he’s resident pianist at Straz Center for the Performing Arts and can be found during Broadway series opening nights on the piano in the lobby of Morsani Hall. If you’re looking. He makes records, too, but jeez this bio is getting long already and we can talk about that later.
PAUL E. FINOCCHIARO (Teaching Artist) has directed and choreographed close to 50 productions. He is a proud and active member of the Actor’s Equity Association since 1992.
A native of the Boston area, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre with a minor in Dance and Voice from The Boston Conservatory and a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts from The University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Currently He is a professor of Theatre and Dance at The University of Tampa where he is the only professor who teaches in the areas of Theatre, Dance and Music. Previous to his tenure in Tampa, Paul was a professor of Musical Theatre at Minnesota State University, Mankato for 9 years.
Before getting his M.F.A., Paul was a singer/dancer/actor all over the world. He has performed in the National tours of West Side Story, Ziegfeld and Gypsy. He was the lead dancer of the European tour of the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. He has performed in regional theatres all across the country. He was a Production singer for Carnival Cruise lines and performed as a singer & dancer in Las Vegas for eleven years. Paul Was in the original Las Vegas company of Starlight Express where he played 10 roles in 3 years…On roller skates! He has performed with such stars as Michael Crawford, David Cassidy, Sheena Easton, Chita Rivera, Jay Leno, Florence Henderson and Vanessa Williams. He has also acted in many Television shows, Movies and commercials.
KARA GOLDBERG (Teaching Artist), a St. Petersburg native, graduated from Flagler College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts in 2010. Since then, she has been working as a professional theatre artist, including 5 years of Teaching Artist experience, for companies throughout the Tampa Bay area. Kara recently started her own company, Kara Gold, LLC. which specializes in digital marketing consultation for the theatre, with a focus on publicity photography and videography. Kara can also often be seen on stage as well as behind the scenes in various roles. For more info, visit Kara-Gold.com.
GAVIN HAWK (Teaching Artist) grew up in the Los Angeles area. He studied Long-Form Improvisation and Sketch Comedy in Chicago at Second City and The Annoyance Theatre, and he earned his undergraduate degree in Theatre from The Juilliard School, and his masters degree in Theatre from California State University, Long Beach. In addition to improvising, he regularly acts and directs for theatre companies in the Tampa Bay area. Recent acting credits include The Pitmen Painters, Art, Barefoot in the Park,The Foreigner (American Stage), and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (freeFall Theatre). Recent directing credits include Cloud 9, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Closetland (Jobsite Theater), One Slight Hitch (American Stage), Death and the Maiden, Congratulations, Joe!, Good Egg, and Miracle on South Division Street (A Simple Theatre). He received a Theatre Tampa Bay award along with his fellow cast members in The Pitmen Painters in the category of Outstanding Ensemble in a Play, and was nominated by Theatre Tampa Bay in the category of Outstanding Director of a Play for his direction of Good Egg. In addition to co-creating and being a Teaching Artist for the Long-Form Improvisation program at American Stage, Gavin is also a Professor of Theatre at Eckerd College, a member of the National Alliance of Acting Teachers, and a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
MOLLY HEALY (Teaching Artist) is Saint Petersburg based writer, actor, and director. She has been a teaching artist for eight years and loved every moment of it. Molly believes that theater is a way to truly learn empathy in a way no other art or science can. She has worked as an actor locally for Ghost Light, Stageworks, American Stage, Saint Petersburg Shakespeare Festival, and many indie productions in the Bay Area.
KAYLIE HOROWITZ (Teaching Artist) is an actor, voice actor, and costumer originally from Lakeland, FL. She is a recent graduate of Auburn University’s BFA Performance program, and even more recently finished her acting and production apprenticeship at American stage. Some of her recent credits include Esme in THE GAP AND THE GLUE, Ensemble in MAMMA MIA (American Stage), Antigone in Anouilh’s ANTIGONE, Nell Gwyn in PLAYHOUSE CREATURES (Auburn University Theater), and Veranda Murphy in CROSSING THE BAY. Kaylie has felt fortunate to have worked as a teaching artist and counselor in multiple summer camps and theater programs, from Alabama and Florida all the way up the coast to Maine. As an artist and teacher, Kaylie hopes that the work be taken seriously, but never the self.
JOHN HULS (Teaching Artist) John Huls is a veteran actor, producer, director, and educator, who has performed in just about every bay area theater. An alumnus of U.S.F. (BFA) and Tampa’s School of Night improv group, John taught theater at Patel Conservatory and Berkeley Preparatory School for over 20 years. He also served as Educational Director at American Stage.
BENJAMIN ISMAIL (Teaching Artist) is very excited to be returning home this summer as a Teaching Artist for American Stage. Originally from Memphis by way of California, he has always been involved in theatre since childhood, working in almost every aspect of theatre production from acting to producing to directing and teaching. Benjamin is also a skilled designer with credits in lighting, sound, and projection designs as well as graphic & video design. American Stage directing credits include BETWEEN RIVERSIDE & CRAZY, INFORMED CONSENT, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, & 4000 MILES. He has worked as an actor for American Stage, Berkeley Rep, The Guthrie, Capital Stage and others from California to Florida. He is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.
SARAH PULLMAN-ATANACIO (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a BFA in Theatre Performance. She also spent seven 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. Since moving to Tampa Bay in 2013, she has been working as a teaching artist at American Stage and around the Tampa Bay area. Recent acting credits include WHAT’S YOUR STATUS? (Jobsite Theatre), THE ICEMAN COMETH (Tampa Rep), LEND ME A TENOR (Hat Trick Theatre Prod.), THE COMPLETE STAR WARS SAGA (ABRIDGED) (Cloudy With A Chance Prod.), A PIECE OF MY HEART (Powerstories Theatre) and CYMBELINE (St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival).
DAVINA REID traveled the country as a military spouse and physical therapist prior to getting back to her roots in entertainment. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Davina was raised in the entertainment world with her father who was a SAG-AFTRA/AEA actor and drama teacher. Enjoying the fun, collaborative, in the moment storytelling of improv, she trained and graduated from the American Stage Improv Training Program. She performs with the ASI House Team, As Per Usual, every second Sunday of the month. Davina is also an actor and member of SAG-AFTRA, most recently appearing in Lifetime’s “Christmas in Mississippi”.
DYLAN RENFROW (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of Auburn University with a BFA in Theatre Performance and Dance Minor. Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, Dylan moved to St. Petersburg to complete a year-long apprenticeship with American Stage where he developed a love for teaching theatre. He made his professional debut as the titular character in American Stage’s 2018 school tour production of WINNIE THE POOH, followed by the Nurse in BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY, and a member of the ensemble of MAMMA MIA. After a wonderful experience with the American Stage summer camp program he jumped at the opportunity to work as a teacher again.
GAVIN STARK is a graduate of the American Stage Improv Training Program. After watching his girlfriend’s progress with improv classes at American Stage, he joined the program as a counterpoint to his logical, structured world a software engineer and as a way to improve his public speaking for a new job as a teacher. Away from American Stage, Gavin is both Chief Technology Officer and an instructor at the Academy at Suncoast Developers Guild where he teaches web development to adults who are transitioning careers. He has even found ways to combine his worlds, developing a custom application to run the “tech” for last season’s Hawk and Wayne show, Karaoke Prov. He currently performs with the ASI house Team, As Per Usual, which can be seen the third Saturday of each month.
TAYLOR SWEAT (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University with a BA in Theatre and a minor in Creative Writing. Originally from Kentucky, Taylor developed a love for the performing arts at a young age, taking classes at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and writing in all of her school play bios that she was going to be an actress one day. Things shifted slightly in college, as she found a love for educating young artists as well as a love for stage management. During undergrad, she spent a summer teaching Drama to kids aged kindergarten to middle school, worked spot op and crew at TheatreZone in Naples, FL, and was involved with lighting and stage management at FGCU. After serving as the Production Management Intern at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Taylor accepted an apprenticeship with American Stage, serving as the ASM for all six MainStage shows in the 2017/2018 season. Today, Taylor is thrilled to be back with American Stage as a Teaching Artist and Production Assistant! In her free time, she enjoys writing and singing along to show tunes. She is a freelance stage manager in the St. Pete area and a proud SMA member.
KATHLEEN TAYLOR (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the American Stage Improv Training Program. She currently performs with the ASI house team THE MARVELOUS MARVIN SHOW, as well as several indie improv teams including PREVIOUSLY ON and EX SNACKINA. Previously, she performed on the 2017-2018 ASI House team, POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS. Kathleen is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with her own healthcare consulting practice focused on helping clinicians develop communication skills, emotional intelligence, and empathy. Her specialty is in end-of-life care, a field in which she has worked for almost 25 years. She was originally drawn to improv as a way of better understanding communication between patients and health practitioners, and she is interested in the science of applied improvisation. You can see her in action every 3rd Saturday this season at ASI Improv Night!
ALLY THOMAS (Teaching Artist) is a theatre artist from Tampa, Florida. She has worked professionally as an actor, teaching artist, and stage manager with theaters in Florida and across the country. Favorite performance credits include THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE (Spanish Lyric Theatre), THE CHILDREN’S HOUR (Tampa Rep), LES MISÉRABLES (The Ritz), SISTER ACT, and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (Eight O’ Clock Theatre). At American Stage, Ally was the Education & Outreach Apprentice during the 2016/2017 season, and has worked for several years on the annual school tour: Actor/Tour Manager for GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE and RIKKI TIKKI TAVI, and Costume Designer for WINNIE THE POOH. BA in Theatre from Samford, Certificate in New Play Performance from Hollins, MFA in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence (2021).allythomas.info
KAYLA TOMAS (Teaching Artist) is a storyteller, collaborator and educator living in New York City. A product of theatrical education programming as a child, Kayla credits her resilience and success to the educators that paved the way. As a teaching artist, she values the importance of creativity and exploration as a means to develop, engage and discover potential: “When one teaches, two learn.” She is a graduate of The Florida State University and a proud member of Actors Equity Association. www.kaylatomas.com.
MATT WALKER Matt is a multi-faceted improviser with a wide array of experiences from LA, Chicago, and St. Pete. He has learned improv technique from Amy Goerlich (KROMPF), Michael McCusker (Cook County Social Club), Ryan Marsico (Red Door) and many others. He has performed with Terry Withers, Ricky Wayne, Gavin Hawk, Josh Spence, Will Luera and many more, in festivals, in LA (at the Pack Theater, iO West, UCB Sunset, Second City, Impro and more) He currently hosts and produces three local comedy/improv shows; one with his duo/trio The Bitter And (w/ Scott Shoaf), another, in unison with American Stage, highlighting improvisers willing to try something new: The Nest; and lastly, The Estate Show, a variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, and music all in one show. Aside from his 9+ years experiences performing improv, he has an album on Spotify (MW Walker, “Half Awake”), performs stand-up comedy, and is also a prolific painter and artist. Follow all of his endeavors at @mattwindwalker
RICKY WAYNE (Teaching Artist) is the co-founder of American Stage Improv. Currently he is in his 11th year in residence at American Stage performing as one half of Hawk and Wayne, a long form improv comedy duo with local actor/director Gavin Hawk. Their current show is THE HAWK & WAYNE SHOW (past shows: THE DUMB SHOW, 321, THE MEMORY, NEWS OF THE WEIRD: LIVE!, IT’S A LIVING!, THIS IS A COMEDY SHOW, THE MOCKUMENTARY, ANYWHERE, USA, KARAOKE-PROV). He studied at The Groundlings in Los Angeles in improvisation and sketch comedy writing. American Stage audiences might remember him as Carl from OPUS in 2010, Marc in ART in 2013, as Tartuffe in TARTUFFE in 2016 and Lt. Dave Caro in BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY in 2018. Other local theatre credits include A Simple Theatre’s CONGRATULATIONS, JOE! and The Heather’s SPEED-THE-PLOW, ON TIDY ENDINGS and GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS. He currently works as an actor in television and film and runs an audition taping service in Oldsmar. He is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association. www.rickywayne.com