Teaching Artists

The Alliance Theatre Institute hires roughly 30 teaching artists to deliver residency programs and professional learning workshops. Teaching artists undergo rigorous initial training and regular professional development to enhance classroom management, curriculum design, awareness of school culture, and artistic skills. Teaching artists providing Georgia Wolf Trap programs must also complete an additional week-long national certification process.

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Ricardo Aponte

Ricardo Aponte is an Atlanta based Director/Choreographer and a three-time Suzi Award winner, whose work has been featured at the Alliance Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Actor’s Express, Atlanta Lyric, Aurora Theatre, among other regions around the country. Ricardo is also the founder of Theatre Platform Project, a nonprofit organization committed to providing affordable performing arts education to underserved communities.  

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Kim Bowers-Rheay Baran

Kim is a teaching artist with the Alliance Theatre Institute, Master Wolf Trap teaching artist, professional singer/actress, and a certified Montessori teacher. Kim specializes in early childhood education, curriculum development, and professional learning for teachers in arts integration. She has presented interactive workshops on arts integration at workshops and conferences around the country, encouraging educators to envision education infused with imagination and the joy of intrinsically motivated learning. Previously, Kim was a Montessori teacher and creative arts director in Fayetteville, GA and the assistant education director at The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. She has performed across Atlanta including the Alliance Theatre and in many national tours including Camelot with Robert Goulet and Hello Dolly with Madeline Kahn. Favorite roles include Kate in Kiss Me, Kate, Aldonza in Man of LaMancha, Tessie Tura in Gypsy, and Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar. Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of Oklahoma, Montessori certification from the National Center for Montessori Education, Master Wolf Trap certification from Wolf Trap Center for Early Learning through the Arts.  

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Chelsea Brown

Chelsea Brown is a teaching artist for the Alliance Theatre. She began her teaching artist career in 2012, working as a fine arts curriculum developer in a preschool, local elementary schools, an after-school drama program, and musical theater summer camps. Chelsea's journey with the Alliance started in 2016 working Family Fun days, summer camps, and weekend classes. Chelsea is currently working with the Alliance Theatre Institute through the Historical Figures Come to Life and Drama Partner residency programs. Outside of the classroom, she is an actor, singer, and voice over artist represented by East Coast Talent. Chelsea holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Brenau University. 

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Katie Causey

Katie Causey is an actor and education artist living in Atlanta, GA. She holds degrees in English and Theatre from the University of Georgia and graduated from the Aurora Theatre’s Apprenticeship Program. Katie has worked with The Alliance Theatre since 2013 teaching classes, summer camps and various workshops as well as teaching with the Alliance Institute. When she is not at the Alliance, Katie can be found on the set of The Walking Dead as the acting coach for young actors. Katie also teaches acting at the Aurora Theatre, Georgia Gwinnett College and The Company Acting Studio. She specializes in improvisation and loves to find new ways to bring improv into every subject she teaches. 

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Hannah Church

Since 2016, Hannah Church has been a teaching artist for Alliance Education for ages 3-18. From Playwriting to pre-school, from summer camp to in-school residencies: Hannah loves it all! Last spring, Hannah was in 21 classrooms spreading her love for the arts through Wolf Trap, smART stART, JumpStart, Dramaturgy by Students, and afternoon school drama! Beyond teaching, she is an actress/playwright around Atlanta. Hannah has worked around town at the Alliance Theatre (Knuffle Bunny, Born For This, A Christmas Carol, Little Raindrop Songs), Aurora Theatre (Mamma Mia, Bridges of Madison County), Synchronicity Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Arís Theatre, Hot(lanta) Theatre (The Last Five Years), and the Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival in her co-written musical The Yellow Wallpaper. International Tours: The Tower (Artspot Educational Theatre) where she performed in South America, the Middle East, and Asia. Favorite Regional credits: Spring Awakening and Romeo & Juliet (Roxy Regional). 2014/15 Playwright Apprentice at Horizon Theatre. 2019/20 Reiser Lab at the Alliance Theatre. 

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Theresa Davis

Theresa Davis is an educator, storyteller, poet, author, poetry slam champion, and the host of the award winning open mic Java Speaks. She has performed on stages across the nation as a poet and keynote speaker. She was a classroom teacher for over 25 years, specializing in cross curricular education. As a slam poet, Theresa has competed individually and on teams for over a decade and in 2011 won the Women of the World Poetry Slam. In May 2013, her first full collection of poems entitled “After This We Go Dark” was published by Sibling Rivalry Press. “After This We Go Dark” became an American Library Association Honoree, and the book can now be checked out in local and college libraries around the world. Her latest poetry collection, “Drowned: A Mermaid’s Manifesto,” released with Sibling Rivalry Press in fall of 2016, received the award, “Ten Books All Georgians Should Read.” In addition to being a teaching artist and outreach poetry coordinator for Georgia Tech for 6 years, Theresa hosts and participates in many of the lit events around Atlanta. Theresa’s one-woman show “Then They’ll Tell You it’s all in Your Head” made its debut as a part of 7 Stages Home Brew series in fall of 2017.  

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John Doyle

John Edward Doyle, Jr. is a storyteller, actor, and teaching artist. John began his professional teaching artist career in 2001 with Alliance Theatre Institute. John is a trained Wolf Trap certified teaching artist with Alliance Theatre. John has been a teaching artist with other organizations such as: Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Kaiser Permanente Educational Theater Programs, Utah State University, Georgia State University, Teaching Museum, Upward Bound, Young Audiences, Atlanta Street Theatre, Boys & Girls Club of America and Camp Broadway. John is a past presenter at the Woodruff Arts Center Educator Conference, presenting workshops on Digital Storytelling, Reader’s Theater, and engaging activities for the at-risk youth population. John is a professional storyteller and a member of Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia and storyteller at the High Museum of Art. John’s passion is in his social work. Since 2012, John has volunteered with TLC, a diversion program at the Fulton County Juvenile Court House. During his time with TLC, he has facilitated creative writing/theater workshops and co-directing a play written and performed by the TLC youth. John was awarded 2016 Fulton County Juvenile Courthouse volunteer of the year.

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Laurin Dunleavy

Laurin Dunleavy was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. After receiving a BFA in Dance Performance at Brenau University, she went on to perform for Walt Disney World and several different professional dance companies. She has guest performed with Cirque du Soleil, Weird Al Yankovic and North Point Community Church. Laurin has been a Teaching-Artist with the Alliance Theatre’s programming for eight years. She has a passion for working with students in K-12 classrooms and beyond. You can also find her at the Holly Theater in Dahlonega, Georgia performing, choreographing and in many schools and studios around the North Atlanta area. She has technical training in ballet, modern, jazz and tap.

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Suehyla El-Attar

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Daryl Funn (Mistafunn)

Who is this man? Mega myth or better than advertised. Daryl Funn (Mistafunn™) is an author, poet and teaching artist who has written and implemented various creative writing curriculums for elementary, middle, and high school student through the Alliance Theatre Institute. Mistafunn uses his gift as a teaching artist to engage, empower, and educate. Having taught in Atlanta, Fulton, Fayette, and DeKalb counties for more than 10 years, he has seen his digital storytelling and poetry lesson plans continually expand to more schools across Georgia and going as far as South Carolina.  Through his curriculum, he also assessed students’ progress throughout the residency and worked closely with other teachers to ensure work met required and often grade-specific literacy standards. While authoring three books, he spent the last five years as assistant facilitator and master poet with Leslie Quigless for the middle and high school Creative Writing Intensive at Agness Scott.  He also coaches performance poetry and works to educate students of all ages on publishing and copywriting. Mistafunn operates and teaches by the model of respecting your audience and being true to the one that put you here. 

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Robert Hindsman

Robert joined the Alliance Theatre Teaching Artist team in 2016. He has worked with almost every age, teaching musical theatre, performing arts, and acting for the camera! Robert also works on staff as the Camp and Class Administrative Manager.  Performance credits include Born For This (Alliance Theatre); Ella Enchanted, A Year with Frog and Toad, Sense and Sensibility (Synchronicity Theatre); Cinderella, Secret Garden (Birmingham Children's Theatre).

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Ashe Kazanjian

Originally from Alpharetta, GA, Ashe studied acting at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she attended the Stella Adler Studio and studied abroad at the Gate Theatre of Dublin. In 2008, she moved to Prague, where she worked as the Arts Program Director at an international preschool. There she taught English through song, movement, and biannual play productions, which she wrote and directed. She was also a traveling member of The Bear Educational Theatre, bringing English language shows to public school children in Czechia, Slovakia, Austria, Poland, Germany, and France. Ashe was a member of the Prague Shakespeare Company, appearing in productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Mary Stuart. In 2014, Ashe returned to Georgia and has since studied improvisation and comedy at Dad’s Garage Theatre and is an active performer with Laughing Matters improv and murder mystery troupe. Since June 2016, she has been a Teaching Artist with the Alliance Theatre, where she has taught kids ages 3-18 topics from musical theater to improvisation. In January 2018, Ashe was very excited to join the Alliance Theatre Institute, working in local schools to bring performance arts techniques into daily classroom learning. 

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Hannah Lake

Hannah Lake is entering her fourth year as an Alliance Theatre Teaching Artist! She is an Atlanta actor, teaching artist, and photographer with a B.F.A. in Acting and a minor in Dance from Western Carolina University (’13). She has taught summer and spring break camps, workshops, and after school classes with the Education department, as well as several programs in schools within the Alliance Theatre Institute. Hannah has also taught musical theatre and ballet with Once Upon a Ballet Atlanta, after-school drama with Atlanta Children's Theatre, and after-school musical theatre with Georgia Ensemble Theatre. Hannah's regional acting credits include Lina Lamont in Singin' In the Rain, Annie A.K.A. "Six" in Chicago (Springer Opera House), Ensemble in Holiday Inn (Circa '21 Playhouse), Cheryl in Evil Dead the Musical (Out of Box Theatre), and Veronica Sawyer in Heathers the Musical (OnStage Atlanta).  

 

Chris Lane

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Maya Lawrence

Maya Lawrence is a NYC born- Atlanta based multidisciplinary artist, specializing in theater, performance, and poetry. As an actor, teaching artist, and facilitator with an audience range from newborns to as long as one can be alive, she uses her superpowers of creativity, curiosity, and compassion to facilitate theatre-based experiences rooted in Anti-Bias work for youth, families, individuals, corporations, and organizations in pursuit of becoming the most authentic, empathetic versions of themselves. As a proud Spelman College alumna, and the Inaugural Spelman Leadership Fellow in residence at the Tony Award winning Alliance Theatre, Maya is on a mission to liberate the world through art using Love to light the path.

 

Kathleen Link

Kathleen has been a Wolf Trap teaching artist with the Alliance Institute since 2017. She began her career in Atlanta as an actor in 2004, and eventually moved into early childhood education. Wolf Trap's combination of theater and teaching young children is a perfect fit for Kathleen, and she could not be happier to be a part of it!  

 

Amy Lucas

 

Christian Magby

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Barry Stewart Mann

Barry is a professional actor, storyteller and arts educator. A Harvard University graduate with an M.F.A. in Theatre from the University of San Diego, Barry has acted on stages across the country, including San Diego’s Old Globe, Florida Shakespeare Festival, Arkansas Rep, and D.C.'s Studio Theatre, and locally at Theatrical Outfit, Theatre Emory, Horizon Theatre, and the Shakespeare Tavern. Favorite roles include Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Louis in Angels in America, and Victor Green in The Green Book (Suzi Award nominee). As a storyteller, Barry has told in countless schools, festivals, libraries, camps, and beyond; was named the 1999 National Storyteller of the Year; and tours to schools internationally through DreamOn Productions in Buenos Aires. He has been on the faculty of Lesley University’s M.Ed. Program in Integrated Teaching through the Arts since 2008, leading courses in Drama and Storytelling Integration. Barry works as a teaching artist and performer through the Georgia Council for the Arts, Fulton County's Teaching Museum, and ArtsNow Learning, but considers his artistic home to be the Alliance Theatre, where he has been on the Acting Faculty and Teaching Artist roster for over two decades. 

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Marielle Martinez

Mari Martinez is a teaching artist who works with children in Preschool through 3rd grade. She coaches teachers across metro Atlanta in using arts integration strategies in their classrooms. Mari began her work in Educational Theatre with The Omaha Children's Company where she taught and performed in Theatre for Young Audiences shows. Upon moving to New York City, she spent time in the classroom as an Assistant Kindergarten Teacher and out of the classroom as a Teaching Artist with EnAct! Upon graduating from City College of New York with her Master of Science in Educational Theatre in 2015, she moved to Atlanta. Since then, she has worked as a Wolf Trap teaching artist with The Alliance Theatre, where she develops theatre infused curriculum and lessons for classrooms, summer camp and after school programs. She recently began a Memory Theatre program for senior citizens and performing with Atlanta's Theater To Go. She is excited to be back in Atlanta after 10 years where she is able to live her passion of bringing theatre, creativity and new opportunities to children and teachers. 

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Karin Mervis

Karin Mervis is originally from South Africa and has lived in Atlanta since 1990. She studied Fine Art before switching to a career in Advertising and Marketing. Karin has painted professionally since living in the United States. Karin has completed more than 1,000 Community Canvases in Georgia, New York, and Australia. Karin has been associated with Alliance Theatre Institute since 1996, with literacy/art-based programs as the main focus in recent years. Karin has trained in the past years to incorporate updated teaching techniques and best practices into all programs. Whether teaching literacy through the visual art process or STEAM-based programs, 21st century teaching skills are infused into her programs. Students are encouraged to collaborate while brainstorming and honing their listening and negotiating skills, with an emphasis on empathy. In addition, the students may explore divergent and convergent thinking, and artful thinking routines. Karin's ultimate goal is to engage students and help them discover their capacity to create art, to challenge themselves, and to walk away inspired. 

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Courtney Moors

Courtney Moors is a Canadian born actor and teaching artist for the Alliance Theatre Institute since 2018, where she has worked with students from 2nd through 12th grade. Passionate about Shakespeare from an early age, she founded Barefoot Shakespeare Company in New York City in 2012 and serves as Barefoot's Managing Director. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and has worked regionally as an actor at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Orlando Fringe Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Triad Stage, Portland Stage Company, NY Fringe, Shakespeare Kennesaw, Synchronicity Theatre, and the Atlanta Theatre Club. Courtney graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting. She studied as an acting apprentice at the TONY-award winning Actors Theatre of Louisville and then spent nearly eight years working and living in New York City, where she studied at the Barrow Group and the Acting Studio. Courtney is endlessly inspired by the collaborations she engages in with teachers and students and is always seeking new and energizing ways to integrate theatre arts into the classroom. Learn more about Courtney at www.courtneymoors.com.

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Jenna Morris

Jenna Jackson Morris is a proud Virginia native and attended Oklahoma City University, receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree in American Dance Pedagogy. She is the resident choreographer at the World of Coca-Cola and has taught musical theatre in the Atlanta metro area at the Georgia Dance Conservatory, Dance 101, and The Performer’s Warehouse. Jenna performed overseas as a dancer and magic assistant in Dream at the Sandcastle Theater. She appeared on an episode of Extreme Makeover Home Edition and danced alongside Kristin Chenoweth during a Broadway themed episode. Recent Atlanta productions include Holiday Inn, Mary Poppins, 42nd Street (City Springs Theatre), Guys and Dolls (Jennie T. Anderson Theatre), Mamma Mia! (Aurora Theatre), Singin’ in the Rain, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Catch Me If You Can, Damn Yankees, West Side Story, Young Frankenstein (Atlanta Lyric Theatre), Evita (Serenbe Playhouse). Jenna brings a positive energy that encourages a place of acceptance and allows space for exploring new ideas and concepts! She enjoys meeting students where they are and letting imaginations and creativity shine as participants work toward a common goal. 

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Tafee Patterson

Tafee Patterson is an actress, singer, dancer and musician based out of Atlanta, Georgia. She has been involved in arts education for over 20 years. As a teaching artist for the Alliance Theatre Institute, she has facilitated smART stART, Reader’s Theatre, Process Drama, and Historical Figures residency programs. She also has done numerous professional learning workshops for both the Alliance Theatre and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. She is passionate about being a teaching artist and loves to constantly find new ways to integrate the arts into classrooms.  

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Sam Provenzano

Sam started as a teaching artist and enrichment teacher in Denver, Colorado. There, she taught suicide prevention, theater, and social impact issues for K-12th grade. She received her MFA in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities from the University of Texas at Austin, where she taught undergraduate acting and improv. In Atlanta, she has partnered with teachers in Atlanta Public Schools to facilitate the Alliance Theatre’s Dramaturgy by Students and Strategic Storytelling residencies. 

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Avery Sharpe

 

Destiny Stancil

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LeeAnna Lambert Sweatt

LeeAnna has been a Teaching Artist for the Alliance Theatre since 2002. She has worked with all ages of students, using creativity and drama to make stories come alive for her students. She also uses acting to help students learn to resolve conflict. LeeAnna directs middle and high school students at Masters Academy. Still a working actress, you can see her on stage in any number of theaters around town.  

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Jasmine Thomas

Jasmine Thomas is a local actor, teaching artist and metro Atlanta native. She graduated with a BA in Theatre and a minor in French from the University of Georgia. She has been seen in a couple of shows in the Theatre for the Very Young seasons here at the Alliance Theatre and has performed with several other theatres in Atlanta. When she's not developing curriculum for the youth programs, she specializes in teaching performing arts and musical theatre for K-5th grades and is very excited to introduce arts integration to students across Georgia. 

 

Ebony Tucker

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Andrea Washington

Andrea is an actor and arts educator who delights in collaborating with teachers and engaging students. Over the years, she has worked in over 30 schools in and around the metro Atlanta area. She integrates theatre arts into many programs including Georgia Wolf Trap, Grow Up Great and Bright from the Start. In addition to working with the Alliance Theatre, she enjoys partnering with Out of Hand Theatre, Synchronicity Performance Group’s Playmaking for Girls and Fulton County’s Teaching Museum. From curriculum planning, to developing workshops and writing scripts, Andrea thrives at finding ways to use the arts to discover, connect, and share. As a teaching artist, she uses arts integration to combine storytelling, role-playing and puppetry with subjects like reading, science and math. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Theatre and German from the University of West Georgia. Andrea has performed on dozens of stages across the country including three National Tours of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical and Me Jane: The Dreams and Adventures of Young Jane Goodall (Kennedy Center TYA); Jelly’s Last Jam; Go, Dog, Go! and Theatre for the Very Young productions of Waiting for Balloon; From Head to Toe; Gimme Please! (Alliance Theatre). 

 

Davia Weatherill

In each of her professional ventures there is a common core - a story to tell. Whether writing, creating photographic images, or literally using story-sharing strategies in a classroom, Davia embraces the role of storyteller. While working as a teaching artist, Davia gains great joy from integrating her art form with a classroom's curriculum. She seeks to instill teachers with new tools for a sustained impact and inspire students to have a lifelong love for the arts. Davia is a Marietta native and has worked nationally and internationally in theater for more than fifteen years. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Valdosta State University and studied at London’s Roehampton Institute, School of Drama, Media, and Communications (now the University of Surrey.) 

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Vallea Woodbury

"Vuh LAY uh" is a professional actor, singer, teaching artist, and trainer/educator from the Bronx, New York. A graduate of Northwestern University (BS) and the University of Georgia in Athens (MFA), Vallea believes strongly in leveraging the power of the arts to turn STEM into STEAM and has taught arts-integrated curriculum to grades Pre-K-12 since 2008. She also teaches theater and acting to students of all grades, including the university and professional levels, and has done so across the United States and abroad. When she's not in the classroom, Vallea uses an arts-inspired approach to coach professionals to practice effective, inclusive communication and improve presentation skills. As a performer, Vallea's regional credits include work with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Second City Chicago, Universal Studios, Drury Lane Oakbrook, and the New York International Fringe Festival. She has been seen locally at Alliance Theatre, as well as Theatrical Outfit, Actor's Express, and the Aurora Theatre, among others.

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Melissa Word

Melissa Word is a teaching artist with the Alliance Theatre Institute and High Museum of Art, with a specialized focus on movement and dance. She is a dancer, choreographer, visual artist, writer, and embodiment activist building a creative, abundant life in Atlanta for the past four years. 
In her role as an educator, she co-creates permissive, imaginative environments in which participants can explore new, expressive possibilities and ease of movement in their bodies. 

 

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