TIFFANY FORD (Director of Education & Outreach) is a director, producer, and teaching artist dedicated to inspiring intellectual, emotional, and artistic growth through theatre education. Tiffany came to American Stage after expanding youth and adult outreach programs as the Education & Outreach Specialist at Asolo Repertory Theatre. Prior to her work with Asolo Rep, Tiffany spent seven years in Washington D.C., where she worked with the American Alliance for Theatre & Education, and guided new and flagship programs and productions for Imagination Stage and Washington Improv Theatre as a director and teaching artist. She is also the Founder of Wobble Rocket Stage, Washington D.C.’s youth improv theatre. Her directing work additionally includes productions at The Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival, Art Stream, Source DC, Madcap Players, and The National Cathedral School.
MARISSA NICOLE KOCH (Education Coordinator) studied Theatre and Performance at the Theatre Academy London, and graduated from the School of Theatre at Florida State University. Growing up in the American Stage education programs, she has a passion for performing and teaching, and has been a Teaching Artist in the Education Department since 2011. She has appeared in several productions, including LES MISÉRABLES (Cosette), PIRATES OF PENZANCE (Edith), SWEET CHARITY (Charity), SHE LOVES ME, HENRY V, GUYS AND DOLLS, and THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE. She currently lives in Sarasota and, when not on stage or in the classroom, enjoys crafting of all kinds, as well as enjoying the beautiful Florida weather.
KATIE CASTONGUAY (Outreach Associate) 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.
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 accomplished musician, award winning actor and director, as well as professional ballroom and latin dancer. He studied at Berklee College of Music and has performed for presidents, and, with numerous celebrities on stages around the world. As half of the duo act, Zazu’s Revue, he frequently entertains at elder care and memory care facilities, bringing happy memories and smiles to the residents.
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.
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
SARAH DAVIS (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the American Stage Improv Education Program, where she studied with program founders Gavin Hawk and Ricky Wayne. She is deeply involved in the American Stage improv community as a member of the house team Separate Checks, a member of the Improv Advisory Board, and co-host of Double Dutch, a monthly womens improv drop-in. She also performs with the improv team Paidd in Kessh, and has appeared on The Chris Gethard Show. She sometimes writes funny things on the internet, and is a part of the social media team for Cracked.com.
LAUREN FIELD (Teaching Artist) studied English Literature with a focus on Shakespearean Studies at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where she was the founding President of the Shakespeare Society under the guidance of Dr. Lisa Starks-Estes and in partnership with the St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival. She has been performing in the local community for the past fifteen years and is dedicated to inspiring youth through theatre education programs. Lauren has appeared in several productions including AS YOU LIKE IT (Rosalind), SHREK (Fiona u/s), TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (Julia), THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, WEST SIDE STORY, and in several readings for the St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival’s Studio Shakespeare series. She is currently filming her senior thesis project, documenting her research on conflict in Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story. Lauren is a proud resident of the Burg and, when not on stage or in the classroom, enjoys watching Kenneth Brannagh movies with her cat, Mr. Binx.
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.
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.
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.
CHRIS JUUL (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the American Stage Improv Education program taught under the direction of fellow Teaching Artists Gavin Hawk and Ricky Wayne and has been performing improv regularly with his troupe ‘As Per Usual’, both around the country and as an American Stage Theater Improv House Team. Chris has also performed stand-up comedy and done character acting for many years, including appearances in several award-winning educational videos for the Tampa Museum of Art and the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. Additionally, Chris currently is a graphic designer and instructor at an applied trades high school and has earned several awards for his teaching, including a City of Seminole Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year, 2012 State of Florida Teacher of the Year nominee and was selected as the 2017 Outstanding Career and Technical Instructor of the Year. Additionally, Chris is an accomplished multi-media artist who has released several titles of his work featuring collaborations with artists / musicians Brian Eno and Mickey Hart among others. He studied film and graphic design at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and screenwriting and film production at Columbia College in Chicago, and also holds an AA in vocational education from USF.
BECCA MCCOY (Teaching Artist) is a proud 11-year member of Actors’ Equity Association who has performed on stages all across the country in Shakespeare to MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL, and everything in between. She spent several years living in Chicago, where credits included A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN at Illinois Theatre Center, SEUSSICAL (as the Sour Kangaroo) at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and PIRATES OF PENZANCE at Drury Lane Oakbrook. She is the proud recipient of the inaugural People’s Choice MUSE Award through the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, and winner of the Broadway World Tampa Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as Sleeping Beauty in DIENCHANTED! in the Jaeb Theatre at the Straz Center (where she was previously seen as Brooke, the working mom, in MOTHERHOOD THE MUSICAL). She has been awarded nationally in musical theatre through youngARTS and the National Society of Arts and Letters. Becca is a proud graduate of the theatre program at Eckerd College, and attended the British American Drama Academy at Oxford University. www.beccamccoy.com
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.
KATELYN MCKELLEY (Teaching Artist) An Idaho native, Katelyn graduated from Idaho State University in the spring of 2012, receiving Honors Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre, her emphasis being acting. Having completed two years as an acting apprentice at Florida Studio Theatre, she had the privilege of being a part of the fall children’s show Rap-Punzel, the Playmakers Tour, and two years of Under Six and Seven Up productions. Some of her favorite shows throughout her career thus far include Wait Until Dark (Suzie), Merry Wives of Windsor (Mistress Ford), and the staged readings of Ugly Lies the Bone (Kacie) and Sans Merci (Tracy) in FST’s New Play Festival. Katelyn has had the great fortune of being a part of FST Improv for the past year and a half and the sketch comedy group Millennial Fresh. Katelyn was introduced to American Stage this past fall in the children’s tour of Charlotte’s Web, where she had an absolute blast puppeteering several characters. Since then, she has been working as a teaching artist for children, teens, and adults, in acting, improv, sketch, and playwriting.
LOGAN MECKLENBURG (Teaching Artist) holds a BFA in Theatre from University of the Arts. She has since performed on stage and television, directed theatrical events, and worked in casting. Upon her return to Florida she discovered her passion: using theatre as a tool to empower at-risk youth. Logan has also taught for Youth Arts Corps, Creative Clay, and Act Up! where she also serves as Creative Director.
SHREY NEIL (Teaching Artist) is an actor and comedian in Film, Television, Theatre & Improv. Shrey’s improv training began alongside the formation of the Improv Program at American Stage where he spent years training under Hawk & Wayne, learning their unique style and approach to improv comedy. He performs regularly on the house team ‘As Per Usual’ at American Stage. Shrey currently studies Improv with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City and studied sketch writing with The Second City – Chicago. Shrey is a proud member of SAG – AFTRA and a member of The Performers Studio Workshop. Trained in Acting at Yale University, American Conservatory Theatre, and the Shakespeare Theatre Company.
DAVID O’HARA (Teaching Artist) has been considered a vanguard for theatre in the Tampa Bay area as a director, actor, writer, and theatre administrator. He received a BA in Theatre Arts and a BFA in Stage Direction from the University of South Florida. The son of two educators, David has devoted most of his professional life in the area of theatre education. As the Artistic Director of both The Playmakers and The Loft theatre companies, he was responsible for their educational programs. He had been the acting teacher for both teen and adult programs at The Patel Conservatory for five years. David was the Director of Acting at Blake Magnet School for the Arts and is currently the Drama teacher at J.W. Mitchell High School. His work at both schools generated plays that have been showcased at The Florida State Thespian Festival, the largest festival for high school theatre in the world (Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind for Blake HS and The Awesome 80s Prom for Mitchell HS).
BETTY-JANE PARKS (Teaching Artist) is thrilled to be working for American Stage once again after her two year hiatus to the hills of West Virginia. An Eckerd College graduate, she is a local actress and playwright. Favorite productions include A Peculiar Crossroads: A Celebration of Flannery O’Connor (Silver Meteor Gallery) (TTB Award Nomination), And Then There Were None (Hat Trick), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (American Stage) (Norton Award Nomination), Much Ado About Nothing (Jobsite), Home Fires Burning (Studio @620), and Gruesome Playground Injuries (Stageworks). She has written many plays for adults and children alike and loves to share her love of creating art with students. A Florida native, Betty-Jane is very glad to be back where the air is grossly hot, and the land is flat and surrounded by water. This is where she belongs. In her free time she enjoys painting, drawing, seeing and writing plays, reading, board games, being with friends, and chillin with her cat.
SARAH PULLMAN-ATANACIO(Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a BFA in Theatre Performance. As an undergraduate, Sarah spent three summers working for UM’s Camp Imagination Program as an instructor and director. 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. With American Stage Education, she teaches ages 5 through 12 in acting, improvisation, Shakespeare, and playwriting. Recent Tampa Bay acting credits include WHAT’S YOUR STATUS? (Jobsite Theatre), HOTBED HOTEL US (Early Bird Dinner Theatre), and AS YOU LIKE IT, TWELFTH NIGHT, CYMBELINE, and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival).
SOOLAF RASHEID (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts. She also holds an Education Certification in Florida. Soolaf has been teaching with American Stage since the summer of 2007, and has worked as a teaching artist for other companies including the Youth Arts Corps, ACT UP, and the Patel Conservatory. Soolaf currently teaches at Montessori Academy in Tampa and continues to work as an actor, stage manager, and touring artist. Most recently, Soolaf was seen in Ghostlight Theatre’s DURANG ONE ACTS WITH A TWIST, A NIGHT OF INAPPROPRIATELY FUNNY MOMENTS, and ALL IN A DAY’S WORK. Some of her favorite roles include Stranger (THE DOORS), The Dark Lady (ELIZABETH AND EDWARD), Lina/Edith (A DREAM PLAY), Peggy (THE HUNDRED DRESSES), Lenora (THE LONG CHRISTMAS DINNER), Zerbinette (SCAPIN), and Angel (WHEN YOU COMIN’ BACK RED RYDER).
JAMES RAYFIELD (Teaching Artist) has been a theatre educator for over thirty years. Most recently he taught at Blake High School for the Arts and at the Straz Center’s Patel Conservatory. He holds an MFA in theatre from the University of Texas in Austin and studied acting in Los Angeles with Viola Spolin. He was selected as Theatre Teacher of the Year by the Florida Association of Theatre Educators in 1992 and Best Local Playwright by Creative Loafing in 1994. He has directed for Gorilla Theatre, Stageworks, Revolve Theatre, The Loft, Playmakers, School of Night, and Blue Scarf Collective. He also directed I Am a Cuban Sandwich which has been frequently seen at The American Stage. As an actor, he most recently appeared in Oliver Parker at the Silver Meteor Gallery and is in Time Keeper, a web series now it is second season.
JESSICA K. SCRUGGS (Teaching Artist) is currently the Director of Musical Theatre at Blake School of the Arts in Tampa. Additional teaching experience includes the Patel Conservatory, Broadway Dance Center of New York City, Gateway Playhouse Acting School, 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 worked as a director and choreographer for new plays, full-scale musicals, Shakespeare productions, short films and music videos. 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 and THE LUNAR ACADEMY, and several 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 BA 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.
BRIAN SHEA (Teaching Artist) is an award winning actor and filmmaker, Brian has performed professionally throughout the Tampa Bay area. His resume includes, THE SANTALAND DIARIES, ART, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (American Stage); HARVEY, THE BUFFALO KINGS (freeFall Theatre), A SKULL IN CONNEMARA, VANYA AND SONYA AND MASHA AND SPIKE (Jobsite Theater); WAITING FOR GODOT (Stageworks); DEATHTRAP, LEND ME A TENOR (Hat Trick Theater). He is a multiple recipient of Creative Loafing’s “Best of the Bay” Best Actor award. He co-produced and is the lead actor of the independent feature film, WAITING ON MARY, which received the Audience Award for “Best Florida Production” at the 2016 Gasparilla International Film Festival. Brian received his B.A. in Theater Performance from the University of South Florida.
AMY SWANSON (Teaching Artist) is a graduate of the University of Miami with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and Theatre Arts. While at the University of Miami, Amy was a member of the University Women’s Chorale, an all-female choral group with a vast repertoire including Renaissance, folk and popular music. Amy is currently a substitute teacher with Pinellas County Schools and is a member of Chorus Angelorum, a St. Petersburg based a capella group focusing on Renaissance and popular music. She has been a Teaching Artist for American Stage since 2008.
ALLY THOMAS (Teaching Artist) is a theatre artist from Tampa, Florida. Ally was the Education & Outreach Apprentice at American Stage during the 2016-2017 season. She also was the School Tour Manager for GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE in 2016, performing to thousands of students across the Bay Area. She’s worked as and actor, stage manager, designer and is now exploring the world of theatre education, having worked as a teaching artist with both American Stage and Florida Repertory Theatre. After graduating with a BA in theatre from Samford University, she was a season-long intern at the Jewish Ensemble Theatre. Highlights from that internship include performing in anti-bullying outreach shows at schools throughout the Detroit area. Now she’s back in her home state, glad to be working for local professional companies! Favorite credits include THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE (Miss Flannery) with Spanish Lyric Theatre, THE CHILDREN’S HOUR (Agatha) with Tampa Rep and LES MISÉRABLES (Madame Thénardier) at The Ritz.
RICKY WAYNE (Teaching Artist) was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has trained and taught at Children’s Theatre Workshop and American Conservatory Theatre in theatre and acting, and 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 and as Tartuffe in TARTUFFE in 2016. Currently he is in his 8th year in residence here at American Stage performing the first Sunday of the month as one half of Hawk and Wayne, a long form improv comedy duo with local actor and director Gavin Hawk (THE DUMB SHOW, 321, THE MEMORY, NEWS OF THE WEIRD: LIVE!, IT’S A LIVING!, THIS IS A COMEDY SHOW, THE MOCKUMENTARY and ANYWHERE, USA) and is a founding member of American Stage Improv. 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 in television and film most recently in Recurring roles on RECTIFY on the Sundance Channel and OUTSIDERS on WGN. He is a member of SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association. www.rickywayne.com
KIMBERLY WEBB (Teaching Artist) thinks of American Stage as home and is excited to be working with the theatre again. The USF graduate was recently seen as “Charlotte” and “Fern” as a part of the theatre’s production of Charlotte’s Web for their school tour. Some of her other stage credits include “Gloria” and “Mother Teresa” in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (The Space at 2106 Theatre,) “Alberta” in The Sty of the Blind Pig (Banyan Theatre Company,) “Annelle” in Steel Magnolias (American Stage,) “LeBeau” and “Hymen” in As You Like It (St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival,) and Lois in Saul’s Juke Joint (Atlanta Black Theatre Festival) She has also performed in shows for the D.C. and the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival. Her TV credits include a lead role on “Dr. G Medical Examiner.” Kimberly first received training at Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia. In addition she placed 1st place statewide (Florida) in drama, as a part of the NAACP’s ACT-SO competition. She has appeared in several commercials and been a part of many film projects. In addition to acting Kimberly has a passion for fitness and motivational writing.