Meet the Teachers
We are extremely proud of all the people at kidsActing! We have professional actors, dancers, directors, music directors, musicians, costumers, set designers, prop masters, lighting and sound designers... all from some of the top theatres and universities from all over the United States! All our staff has had thorough background checks to ensure the safety and well-being of your children.
Dede established kidsActing in 1980, when she discovered her passion was working with children. Dede received her BSE in theatre education from the University of Kansas, ran a newspaper in Tahiti, worked in theatre in NYC, and got her master's degree in film from UT.
She's worked with the Coen brothers on movie, television and commercial projects, and was awarded a gubernatorial appointment to the Texas Film Commission board. Dede has written, directed, and produced eight original musicals: The Velveteen Rabbit, Cyberella, Waking Sleeping Beauty, Monsters!, The Emperor’s New Shows, Goldie, Alyce in Wonderland, TX and Bugs, each with original songs created for the productions by many great Texas songwriters, including Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Marcia Ball, Ray Benson, Robert "Beto" Skiles, and all of The Flatlanders: Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, and Joe Ely.
She has produced and directed over 100 productions, receiving numerous nominations and awards for her work. She was voted Best Stage Director by the Austin Chronicle.
A native Austinite, Tiffany graduated from Anderson High School and went on to study Interior Design and Architecture. She has worked as kidsActing's office manager since 2005 and managed our moves from our long-time location on Burnet, through a couple of temporary homes, until we found Center Stage Theatre.
Tiffany is known as kidsActing's central nervous system, because she calmly keeps the administration running smoothly, corralling various artistic departments and personalities. She is the ultimate "cat herder." She has a gift of organization and attention to detail, and keeps candies on her desk!
Production Manager/Enrollment Director
Jazmine found her love of theatre at the age of 4 while participating in acting classes and productions in Los Angeles. When she moved to Austin she
became a kidsActing student, participating in seven shows including two of our original productions, Bugs and Goldie, a Fish Story.
Jazmine began working in kidsActing in 2003 as Enrollment Director and added the role of Production Manager to her responsibilities in 2012. She is also an established stage manager with various companies in Austin including Dirigo Group, Glass Half Full, and is a Company Stage Manager for the Rude Mechs. Children's theatre is her first love and she is excited to bring her experience and knowledge to kidsActing and teach students about the technical aspects of theatre.
Audrey Barrett is a director, music director, and teaching artist. She graduated from Southwestern University with a degree in theatre. She has worked at kidsActing for the past 7 years and we are excited to have her return this summer to direct Frankenstein! Audrey currently spends her school years teaching and directing the theatre program at Hutto Middle School. She co-owns the theatre company Cold Frame Collective. When she's not directing, teaching, or performing, she can be found playing instruments, doing yoga, cooking, or doing crossword puzzles.
Education Director/Director/Teaching Artist
Courtney Jacobs has been with kidsActing since 2012. Before moving to Austin, Courtney owned her own musical theatre company for young children in Scottsdale, Arizona, in addition to being a Montessori preschool teacher for 4 years.
A vocal performance major with a dance/choreography minor at Arizona State University, she has worked with kids in the theatre community for over 10 years. Some of her credits include working at Disney World as a dancer/character performer, as well as playing major roles in musicals throughout the southwest. She is so excited for you to join us at kidsActing!
Resident Video Designer/Playwright
Lowell Bartholomee is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts where he studied film. He has been a video designer for theater since 2002 and has provided designs for the Rude Mechs, the Dirigo group, Red Then Productions, Salvage Vanguard Theatre, Breaking String, Austin Playhouse, and several other companies.
His designs have been awarded the Austin Theater Critics Table and B. Iden Payne Award. In 2008, he co-wrote and produced the feature film Holy Hell, which premiered at the Austin Film Festival and is the first feature to be distributed via iPad. He is also an award-winning actor, director, and producer.
Teaching Artist/Accompanist/Vocal Coach
David has played with the national touring companies of The Who's Tommy, Once on This Island, and many others. He began his professional career as music director in summer stock at the age of 16. Since then he has been involved with hundreds of musicals. Among his favorites are Most Happy Fella, Guys & Dolls, and Victor/Victoria.
Director/Teaching Artist/Associate Sales Manager/Tech Support
Hi, my name is Ben. I grew up in Corpus Christi, TX where I spent my free time swimming, playing in the marching band, and competing in mock trial/debate. Later I graduated from Trinity University with a BA in Philosophy and Spanish. I have moved across the country and now live in Pittsburgh with my amazing wife Hannah and two dogs Leo and Mickey. I have taken on a number of new opportunities, the most exciting of these being working at kidActing where I assisted musical productions and have had the opportunity to work with kids of all ages, teaching various Dungeons and Dragons classes. I love to encourage their creativity and let their imaginations soar as they work together to overcome obstacles and meet challenges. (I also get a kick out of hearing their laughter!). I look forward to working with you!
Mike Brown hails originally from Houston. He has accompanied church choirs, solo instrumentalists and vocalists for many years, and played piano and bass in classical, jazz, rock, bluegrass, and theater groups, or any genre of ensemble that would let him in. He holds a Master's in Collaborative piano
from the University of Miami, and has been providing music with kidsActing classes and shows since 2015.
A former kidsActing student, Noah is ecstatic to return this summer as a team teacher! Noah is a recent graduate of Texas State University, holding a BFA in Theatre: Performance and Production with a minor in Music. Noah's performance credits include Newsies, Mary Poppins, Rock of Ages (Georgetown Palace) and The World Goes 'Round (Austin Theatre Project). When not performing or teaching theatre, Noah loves hanging out and making music with his friends.
Steve received his B.A. in music, with a focus on jazz and classical piano, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2011. After graduating, he worked as an accompanist for the Central Coast Youth Chorus, San Luis Obispo United Methodist Church, and several high schools. In 2014, Steve moved to Austin to pursue additional opportunities in music. In addition to teaching at kidsActing studio, he works as a musician for The Honor Choir in Bastrop, the Austin and Bastrop school districts, and teaches elementary music at Good Shepherd Lutheran School in Bastrop. When not musically involved, Steve pursues his passions for cooking, bbq'ing, skiing, and painting.
Jenna is an Austin native, and graduate of Duke University, with degrees in Political Science, English, and Theater! Her love of the stage took root in high school and blossomed during her time at Duke, where she dabbled in everything from acting to executive producing. Jenna's spent a few summers
teaching with kidsActing, and she absolutely loves watching students learn to channel their creative energy into putting on a great show, and she's excited to see more of that this year!
Susannah Crowell is an actress, singer, dancer, comedian, and voiceover artist based in New York City! She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dance from the University of Texas at Austin. Performance credits include the virtual world premiere of Human Resources the Musical, Annie (TexArts), Jungle Book (ZACH Theatre), Amazon Prime’s Good Omens activation (SXSW), Hulu’s A Handmaid’s Tale activations (SXSW, NYC), Cosplay Cabaret (GeekLifeRules), The Drowsy Chaperone (Texas Performing Arts), Build Your Own Bollywood (Agni Arts), The Who’s Tommy (City Theatre Austin), Oedipus the Tyrant (Fox Den Theatre), and the Under the Shroud podcast.
I’m Bianca Darosa, I go to Pearson ranch middle school and I’m graduating 8th grade this year! I sing and I also know how to play the drums. I have been in one of the advanced shows (highschool musical) and I played troy bolton during it.
Rena DeJuana currently attends the Ann Richards School and has been at KidsActing since she was 8. Rena loves singing, acting, hanging out with her friends, and going on runs in her neighborhood. She can’t wait to work with KidsActing this summer!
Chris Ehresman has worked as a director, choreographer, and musician for kidsActing for 7 years, most recently choreographing and drumming for the Elite Ensemble's Fiddler on the Roof and directing the virtual productions of Clue! He directs and choreographs the CSTEE Show Choir.
Emi Fifer (they/them) has been with KidsActing for 5 years now, with 12 shows under their belt. Their hobbies include singing/musical theatre, conducting archaeological research, and hanging out with friends.
KYLIE GUTIERREZ is a recent graduate from Texas State University. She is a proud director and playwright. She recently directed Fefu and her Friends by Maria Irene Fornes as a part of her honors thesis. She also wrote Keep Pedaling which was awarded as a Regional Finalist for the John Cauble One Act Play Award. Kylie served as managing producer and one of the founders of Jeremy Torres Lab Theatre and as the very first Arts Leadership Apprentice for Penfold Theatre.
Ayla has been performing in her school's drama club the last 6 years, and she's excited to be joining kidsActing for the first time this summer. She has music directed for 3 years and just closed a production of High School Musical, for which she served as director. Ayla loves teaching and will be studying music at UNT this fall.
Mallory Keeler is currently studying a BFA in theatre with a dance minor at Texas State University. She is currently working as a dance teacher and worship leader in San Marcos. She is a singer, actress, and dancer but loves teaching and directing in any capacity. She has worked all over Texas in film and Stage Theatre. In her free time, she loves writing music and hiking.
Fiona Kirsch will be in the 8th grade next year. She has been performing at KidsActing for 6 years moving up from young children to elite ensemble. She is looking forward to future shows and helping out this summer!
Kenzie first stepped on stage at the age of 12, and hasn't left since. She completed her BA in theater at Keene State College. While acting was her specialization, she also studied comedy improv, technical theater, costume design, and set design. After graduating, she moved to Sydney, Australia where she continued to study theater and film at the National Institute of Dramatic Art. While in Sydney, she was also trained in the Meisner Technique. Afterward, she moved to New York City where she acted both on stage and screen. She continued her studies with several local New York acting coaches. In March of 2021, she relocated to Austin to continue acting. When not acting or teaching, she loves hiking, kayaking, and playing with her dog, Bondi.
Asher has been with kidsActing since 2015 and he has been in several shows throughout the years. He likes history, movies, and making people laugh, and he's looking forward to working with kidsActing.
Helena has been doing shows at Kids Acting since she was three. She’s been in a grand total of 13 shows, two of them being in the elite ensemble. Currently enrolled at McCallum High School, she loves choir, math, and all things theatre. She’s very excited to bring her experience preforming to backstage.
I have been actively involved in theater since the age of seven after discovering that sports were for children who enjoyed physical activity and (specifically) running. I’m more of a “light jogger.” I am very excited to be working for Kid Acting!
Kathleen is a director, teaching artist, actor, and writer based in Austin, Texas. She has worked with companies including ZACH Theatre, TexARTS, HITS Theatre, A.D. Players Theatre, Houston Grand Opera, and KVPAC. Youth directing credits include The Wizard of Oz (TexARTS); She Love Me (Assistant director, HITS Theatre); Rock of Ages, Peter and the Starcatcher, and The Addams Family (KVPAC). She is excited to join the KidsActing Team!
Director/Teaching Artist/Wig and Make Up Designer
Mary has been a theatre kid ever since she saw CATS at 5 years old. She started taking theatre classes when she was 11, and continued throughout high school, where she was the president of her ITS chapter. She majored in Theatre at Tarleton State University and did everything from designing, acting, and stage managing to master electrician, props master, and crew. She is an alum of the honorary theatre fraternity, Alpha Psi Omega. Some of her favorite roles have been Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web, Katherine in Radium Girls, and Charlotte Hay in Moon Over Buffalo.
When Mary is not at kidsActing, she likes to bake, binge Bob’s Burgers, cuddle with her three cats, and learn new things! She is currently studying Art Therapy and practicing cosmetology. She could not be happier that her journey has led her to get to play with wigs and makeup for some of the coolest kids in Austin.
Anthony has been with kidsActing for 8 years and has been teaching since 2018. He has spent most of his kidsActing career in Elite Ensemble productions including Beauty and the Beast and Into the Woods. He is passionate about teaching and sharing his love for theatre with others.
My name is Ginger, and I am in 8th grade. I have always loved the theatre and singing and dancing and I also love working with little kids. I like cats and roller coasters and reading. I have a brother who plays video games with me and a mom and a dad who are very supportive of me.
My name is Ava Lee Ponton, and I am going to be a Hill Country Middle School graduate in May. I am 14 turning 15 November 7th. I come from a family of performers and would love to carry the tradition on. I first discovered what I love to do a long time ago by just singing while washing my hands and dancing award worthy musical numbers in front of my TV at the young age of 3. By the age of 5 I enrolled in my first Kids Acting camp, Frozen. First audition in acting and I got a lead role! Ever since, I have attended about 5 Kids Acting programs every summer. The roles I have been most proud of is Elphaba in Wicked, Mother Gothel in Tangled, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, and Moana in Moana. Although most of the roles I play are villains, I can guarantee that I’m a sweet person! In 7th grade I got into Region Choir, 2nd chair soprano 1. I continue my love of choir and singing although acting is my passion. In 8th grade I’m in Region Choir again, no chair soprano 1. I am also in my school’s advanced acting class, Hill Country Players. I have learned a lot about projection, blocking, script writing, memorizing, improv, choreography, and a saying that could help kids when they are feeling sad that they didn't get the role that they wanted, “There are no small parts, just small actors”. I can bring fun new games I have learned this year that I think would help children come out of their shells. I have a lot of other talents such as guitar, ukulele, and dancing. I would call myself a fun and caring person. I have confidence, and an outgoing personality that I would love to bring to this camp to help make memorizing and camp fun! Thank you for this opportunity for being able to apply for helping with these camps.
Miller is a 7th generation Austinite. She has been acting since first grade in annual school productions at the Austin Waldorf School. Her first kidsActing summer camp was Moana in 2017 where she played Moana’s mother. Since then she has participated in many kidsActing camps and productions. In 2020-2021 she was part of the Advanced production of ANNIE and 2021-2022 she played Zeke in the Advanced production of HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL. Some of her favorite roles have included Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit), Meena (Sing), and Glinda (Wicked). This fall she will be attending McCallum High School where she was recently accepted into their FINE ARTS ACADEMY as a Performance Theater major. She enjoys drawing in her free time.
Sofia Rayas has been in many kids acting shows over the years and she’s so excited to be able to help guide young actors down the path that she experienced.
My name is Ella Rosenblatt! I’m an incoming senior at McCallum High School and this is my first summer working with kidsActing. I was a kidsActing kid when I was younger so I’m super excited to be back!
Technical Director/Props Master
Chaz Sanders is excited to be working at kidsActing. Chaz is a graduate of Southwestern University, where he received a Bachelors of Arts in Theatre. He has worked on several shows, such as Rent (kidsActing), Footloose (kidsActing), 12th Night (Austin Shakespeare), and The Flick (Hyde Park). Chaz has filled various roles including Master Electrician, Technical Director, Props Designer, Lighting Designer, and Stage Manager.
Box Office Manager, Director, Teaching Artist
Kel Sanders has held many positions at kidsActing including, but not limited to, teacher, box office manager, stage manager, light/sound board op, the list goes on. He is a graduate of St. Edward's University (class of 2011), where he majored in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Performance and minored in English Writing and Rhetoric. He is also an actor, appearing in such shows as Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Schadenfreude (Cold Frame Collective), Antigone (Oh Dragon Theatre), All My Sons (Palindrome Theatre), and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Mary Moody Northen Theatre) He has previously been a member of Palindrome Theatre and St. Edward's Transit Theatre Troupe. He loves comic books, Nintendo games, and his dog Grayson.
Sydney Solberg is so excited to have a wonderful summer working with amazing students at kidsActing! Sydney has been involved with kidsActing for over ten years. In that time, she has acted in multiple shows, done tech theatre, and of course, taught! Some of her favorite roles include Cosette in Les Miserablés and Carol in Black Comedy. She attends the University of North Texas and majors in theatrical performance with a minor in dance. In her free time, she loves to paint, bake, watch Disney movies, and dress her dog up in ridiculous outfits! She can’t wait for all the fun kidsActing has planned this summer!
Maryanna Tollemache is an upcoming sophomore BFA Musical Theater & Directing Concentration student at Marymount Manhattan College within New York City. She is no stranger to the Austin theater scene! Some of her past roles include "Sister Mary Robert" (Sister Act; Summer Stock Austin) and "Natalie (English)" (Next To Normal; Ground Floor Theater & Deaf Austin Theater), even getting herself the award of Outstanding Young Performer (Live) during the 2020 B. Iden Payne Awards. They are also a kidsActing alum! Some of their favorite roles at kidsActing have been "Fantine" in Les Miserables, "Wednesday" in The Addams Family, and "Velma" in Chicago. Maryanna fully believes in kidsActing's motto, "where each child is a star", and fully implements that into her teachings. When not working in theater, Maryanna can be found immersed in their film directing, playing with her cat Zuzu, or in some form of sketch comedy or improv.
Toni Siena is kidsActing veteran and currently majoring in theatre and minoring in dance at California State University Northridge. While at CSUN Toni has been on the Dean's List every single semester and recently stared as Prospero in the university's production of The Tempest. When Toni isn't analyzing Shakespearian text, she loves going on hikes with her small fluffy dog Daisy. Toni is super excited to return to kidsActing and hopes to make her students' class experience lots of fun!
Costume Shop Manager / Costume Designer
Chasity has always had a love for fashion, theatre, and pugs. She was involved in theatre throughout high school, where she starred in Grease as Sandy. After graduating, she majored in fashion design at the University of the Incarnate Word.
She designed her own brand and then went on to show collections throughout Texas, New Orleans, New York, and London. Her work has been featured in numerous fashion magazines.
Although she had a passion for fashion, she felt like something was missing. She decided to merge her love for theatre and fashion and do something she has always enjoyed: costumes! Upon joining kidsActing, she finally feels like she’s doing what she’s meant to do.
When Chasity is not working, she is spoiling her baby boy, Dak, and her two pugs, Wensdae and Barnabas.
I've been doing theatre all my life and my first ever acting experience was actually with kidsActing. Theatre is my passion and now knowing that I'll be helping other kids grow their love for it as well, makes me so excited! I can't wait to work with the people I love!
Lilly Welch is a teaching artist, director, and actress originally from Austin! She received a BFA in Theatre for Youth at Samford University, where she had the joy of directing several productions, including The Boy Who Stole the Stars (by Julian Wiles), and performing in shows such as Ella Enchanted The Musical (by Karen Zacarias and Deborah Wicks La Puma) and The Gulf (by Audrey Cefaly).
Lilly's goal as a teaching artist is to create a safe space where students can express themselves and connect with others. She wants to encourage her students to be bold, be brave, and most importantly, have fun!