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Meet Our Teaching Artists

Children's Theatre of Charlotte is proud to work with some of the finest teaching artists in the country. Their professionalism and creative drive in our classrooms help inspire young people to excel on stage, and in life.
Dave Barnaba
Dave has been involved with music education for many years.  He is going on his 19th year in education, and 12th year at Pitts School Road Elementary in Concord, teaching Elementary School Music. This is his 7th year teaching for Children's Theatre of Charlotte, sharing his love and passion for working with children. He attended the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY, where he received his degree in Music Education.  Dave was married in January 2010 has one daughter, Clara Rose. He is looking forward to another great summer at CTC!
Chanel Blanchett
Chanel is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College is going on eight years of experience teaching performing arts to youth of diverse ages and backgrounds. After starting at CTC in the summer of 2015, she's taught various classes and camps as well as choreographing and directing for CTC’s spring Onstage program. When she's not teaching, Chanel is a massive superhero geek and spends her time reading comics and watching movies--there's something awesome and unique in all of us and Chanel loves helping CTC students discover and stand in their power.
Regina Epps
Regina graduated in 2014 from East Carolina University with a degree in Youth Theatre Performance. She has a background in leading theatre workshops, teaching camps, and acting in touring productions. Since graduation, she has worked with Children's Theatre of Charlotte in many different capacities: Camp Counselor, Class Assistant, and Assistant Stage Manager. This fall will be her first teaching season with CTC. She is excited to start this next season of classes and looks forward to the first day of classes.
Sonya Gable-Wilson, Ph.D.
Sonya Gable-Wilson has been performing and teaching for 25+ years. With Master's and Doctoral degrees in Vocal Performance as well as years of voice training at Juilliard, Sonya is considered one of the leading musical theatre audition coaches in the area. Sonya has taught at various universities in the Southeast where she remains an adjunct professor, as well as continues a private studio where several students have gone on to have roles in television, film, and Broadway. Her professional stage experience includes roles such as Christine in Phantom of the Opera, Laurie in Oklahoma, Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Rosina in The Barber of Seville and Cunegonde in Candide. Combining the Alexander Technique, the Bel Canto School, Yoga, and Voice Science, her vocal technique will not only fix many vocal problems but will also enhance the student's stage performance.
Claire Hilton
Claire is thrilled to be returning to Children's Theatre of Charlotte for her 3rd summer of camp adventures! Claire divides her time between the classroom and the stage, having spent the last year as one of the actors in the Resident Touring Company at Children's Theatre of Charlotte performing in both The Imaginators and Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
Julie Gaines
Julie earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre for youth performance and a Bachelor of Arts in English from East Carolina University (ECU). During her undergraduate studies, she was heavily involved with ECU Storybook Theatre by performing for children, facilitating workshops and learning to direct. After graduation, she joined Children's Theatre of Charlotte family as a Summer Camp counselor and then as a School of Theatre Training and Creative Drama class assistant. In fall of 2014, she began her journey as a Teaching Artist and has been teaching Creative Drama, stage managing for OnStage and teaching Summer Camps ever since. Julie makes her assistant directing debut  in The Trojan Women in OnStage 2018. Julie loves working with young people and bringing stories to life!
Michele Lakey
Michele Holdren Lakey has been playing the piano since she was five years old! For the last 15 years, Michele has served as a music educator for students from kindergarten through high school. She has served at various private schools where she taught choir, general music, and was the musical director for productions. In addition to her role as a teacher, Michele has an extensive background as an accompanist supporting musicals, vocal studios and area churches. Michele has played for many musicals, including, Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast, Footloose, and Cats. One of Michele's favorite accomplishments, was leading her high school choir to achieve the honor of performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Michele has a Bachelors of Science degree in Music Education from Piedmont International University. When she's not teaching or performing, Michele loves spending time with her husband, three kids, and her dog.
Kat Martin
Kat is a graduate from Queens University of Charlotte (BA) and the University of South Carolina (MA: Theater History, Criticism, Theory, and Dramaturgy). While at USC, Kat worked as an assistant director on August Snow, a stage manager on Boeing Boeing, as a dramaturg on Arcadia, and as a writer/director on her own original work Status Update. After grad school Kat worked for Virginia Stage Company. During her time at VSC, Kat has worked as an Associate Director on The Tempest and A Christmas Carol and  Assistant Director and Dramaturg on mainstage projects like Peter and The Starcatcher and The Taming of The Shrew.  Kat also worked within VSC’s education department as a Resident Theater Artist on projects such as school residencies, acting classes, community engagement, and touring education shows. She devised an original work With Your Name Upon My Lips and created many original community workshops.  While in Virginia, Kat taught at Old Dominion University and then went to work for Cleveland Public Theatre as an Education Associate teaching acting classes and creating new work before returning home to Charlotte NC.  Kat is so excited to join the team of Children's Theatre of Charlotte and cannot wait to work with the students to promote mastery in their craft.
Amy Morris
Amy is excited to embark on her first season as a teaching artist for Children’s Theatre of Charlotte summer camps!  She is a graduate of Queens College with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and of UNC-Greensboro where she earned a Master of Music in Collaborative Piano. Amy is currently on the music faculty at Winthrop University, and previous to that was a faculty member at Queens University; she has taught voice, piano, class piano, and played and/or directed for both theatre and opera programs. Amy currently serves as a music director at Winthrop University, the Levine JCC, and St. Anne School in Rock Hill where she has a residency as a music director and vocal coach. She began her journey with CTC in March 2018 music directing for the OnStage production of Xanadu, Jr.
Marie Nodine
Marie has worked as a teaching artist with Children’s Theatre of Charlotte since 1989 focusing on Preschool - grade 5. She is a former artist-in-residence with Discovery Place and has also been an instructor with Charlotte’s Nature Museum and the Jewish Community Center. Marie can also be found doing interactive storytelling at a number of preschools around town. As an actress, her resume includes many commercials and stage credits. She finds the imaginations of children the most stimulating and enjoyable with which to work!
Kelly Price
Experience: Kelly Michele Price has been a theatre educator for over 25 years. Under her children's theatre company, ACTING UP!, she has directed and produced Free to Be You & Me, Bridge to Terabitha, Fame, Pippin, and A Year with Frog and Toad among many others. As a set/scenic designer she has designed Hello, Dolly!, South Pacific, and Into the Woods and more. Kelly earned her BFA in Theatre Education at East Carolina University. She regularly teaches art, acting and musical theatre in addition to a busy private coaching business.
Sarah Provencal
Sarah is a director and teacher based in Charlotte, NC.  She earned her MFA in Theatre Pedagogy (Directing emphasis) at Virginia Commonwealth University and has worked and trained abroad in London, England. Highlights include working with Punchdrunk on The Drowned Man and directing/producing two premieres: Cutting Edge: An Interactive Fairytale, and The Last Hour of Antigone.   She has also directed for Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte, Shakespeare Carolina, Chickspeare, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, created devised theatre with Taproot Ensemble, and regularly facilitates Theatre of the Oppressed workshops for non-actors seeking social change. She is an adjunct Professor of Theatre and Box Office Manager at Winthrop University and a teaching artist at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.
Shelby Ray
Shelby is a graduate from East Carolina University where she earned her BFA in Theatre For Youth Performance. She also helped facilitate children’s theatre workshops on the ECU campus and was a part of a travelling troupe that performed literary tales from around the world at local elementary schools. During the summer of 2014, Shelby was a drama instructor for KidShine Performing Arts Day Camps which is based in Charlotte. She started working at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte in Fall 2014 and since then has worked as a camp counselor, teaching artist and an actor in the 2017-18 CTC resident touring company.
Mavis Scully
A 25+ member of Actors’ Equity Association, Mavis has performed in just about every genre of the performing arts! Previously, she taught Acting and Musical Theatre at the famed Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, as well as, Ballet, Pilates, and Acting for Dancers at the Rock School for Dance Education. Prior to that, she was the Acting and Movement instructor with the Alabama School of Fine Arts and an Adjunct professor of Ballet and Musical Theatre at Samford University - both in Birmingham, AL. She began her career with Ballet, training at the School of American Ballet and coaching with Bojan Spassoff and Stephanie Wolf. She was a soloist with the Savannah Ballet, Ballet Oklahoma, and the Cincinnati Opera before the acting bug bit her. Mavis is one of the first 14 graduates from the Department of Theatre at UArts with a BFA in Acting. She was a member of the original Improv company at Walt Disney World’s Comedy Warehouse (the prototype for TV's Who’s Line is it, Anyway?). Her nation-wide career includes plays, musicals, cabarets, commercials and voice overs. Favorite roles include: (Sally Bowls) Cabaret - Osceola Playhouse, FL.; (Wicked Witch of the West) The Wizard of Oz - 5th Ave. Theater, Seattle; (Leslie Gore, Petula Clark, Grace Slick) Beehive - Tacoma Actors Guild. She has performed and choreographed for Stage One - the Louisville Children’s Theatre, Seattle Opera, Birmingham Music Club, Alabama Shakespeare Company, and City Equity Theatre (for which she won the 2015 Broadway World’s Best Choreographer Award for Peter and the Starcatcher). She has written 4 one-act plays produced in Seattle and was commissioned to write and direct St. George and the Dragon (inspired by Edmund Spencer’s epic poem) for Red Mountain Community School in Birmingham. She has coached professional and aspiring actors, singers and dancers for many years now and loves to mentor passionate driven performers, share the joy of the work, and witness the “moments of awakening” in her students!
Amanda Sesler
Amanda Sesler is a Soprano from Erie, Pennsylvania. She attended Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where she majored in Music Education.  Amanda taught choir, band, music history, theater, and piano at an Indianapolis high school for two years before returning to Indiana University for her Master of Music in Voice.  She has performed as a soloist throughout the Midwest and internationally in China and Italy. Most recently she spent four seasons with the children's opera outreach company, Reimagining Opera for Kids. She toured China with the Windiana Concert Band as the vocal soloist on the Golden Age of Broadway Tour. In 2015, she was awarded the Robert and Sophia Marks First Prize Award by the Indianapolis Matinee Musicale. Amanda has experience teaching musical theater, jazz, and classical art songs in German, Italian, and French. She loves helping students to find their own unique sound through teaching healthy singing habits.
Katy Shepherd
Katy is so excited to be back for her 5th summer of camp! She has also been blessed to teach all different levels of SOTT and perform in several main stage shows. (Her favorite being Lilly in Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse!) Prior to CTC, she was the Resident Teaching Artist and Education Associate at Greenbrier Valley Theatre. Katy also directed shows and led camps at Two Roads Educational Arts and Theatre. She traveled around the country performing at various regional theatres, theme parks and resorts before settling in Charlotte with her husband and all their four-legged girls. Katy is also the Performing Arts teacher at Grace Covenant Academy in Cornelius and loves every minute of it!
Chester Shepherd
Chester is happy to be teaching at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte for over four years now including School of Theatre Training, school residencies, summer camps and directing for the spring OnStage program. In addition to teaching, he's also appeared on stage at CTC in productions including Jackie and Me, Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook!, Hare and Tortoise, and The Cat in the Hat. Chester has also worked with Actor's Theatre of Charlotte and PaperHouse Theatre. He is represented for film and TV by JTA Talent.
Mary Katherine Smith
Mary Katherine has been singing, dancing, and performing since she was very young. With a heavy background in dance, Mary Katherine has worked as a choreographer and guest artist in music, drama, and dance for numerous organizations over the years. In addition to being a nationally recognized teaching artist through Music Theatre International and iTheatrics, Mary Katherine is also an active member of the Freddie G Fellowship, an organization for distinguished teaching artists from all over the world. She is the founder and creator of Parkway Playhouse Junior and the former Director of Education for Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville, NC. She is fairly new to the Charlotte area but is very happy to have found a place teaching with Children's Theatre of Charlotte.
Karen Steele
Karen attended UNC-Chapel Hill and as a devoted artist educator, has taught theatre education, dance, and music in a variety of venues for children and adults for over 12 years. During Karen’s tenure in Charlotte, she has worked as an artist educator for Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, the Afro-American Cultural Center, Arts Teach, The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center and Community School of the Arts. She is also a professional singer, dancer, and actor. Karen says the class experience at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte provides children, from tots to teens, a chance to learn and sharpen theatre skills -  skills which will allow them to enhance their self-esteem and self-expression and provide a plateau for them to take those skills further if they so desire. 
Ian Sullivan
Ian has been with Children’s Theatre of Charlotte for 15 years and remembers camps at the old Moorehead Street location.  During the year, he works as a teaching artist, director, and high school theatre teacher at Hickory Ridge High School.  He has been teaching School of Theatre Training classes with CTC on and off for several years and he's super excited to be back in camps this summer!
Ashlyn Keller Sumner
Ashlyn Keller Sumner, a graduate of UNC Greensboro with a BFA in dance, has choreographed over 30 musical for local theaters and school programs. Favorites include Chicago for Davidson Community Players and Children's Theatre Charlotte, Pippin for Acting up Children’s Theater and Oklahoma for Cabarrus Playmakers. Her extensive teaching credits include The School of Charlotte Ballet, Duke University Summer Youth Programs, Children's Theatre Charlotte, Piedmont School of Music and Dance and NC Arts in Action, an affiliate of the National Dance Institute in NYC. Currently Ms. Keller leads the dance program at A. L. Brown High School in Kannapolis and is also on faculty at Centerstage Dance Company. Her professional performance credits include NC Dance Theatre (now Charlotte Ballet), Louisville Ballet and NC Savoyards.
Courtney Williams
Courtney is excited to be back for another summer with CTC.  As a middle school drama teacher by day and a stage manager by night, she feels lucky to have found a place that lets her do both.  Courtney has stage managed for CTC’s OnStage productions, taught Behind-the-Scenes camps and this summer she will be teaching Drama for Primary Camps. She is a graduate of Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC with a degree in theatre education.
Marla Young
Marla teaches middle school chorus in Cabarrus County during the year. She has taught high school chorus as well as frequently serving as accompanist for schools, private studios, soloists and churches. She has worked with K-12th grade students in music and theatre and started working with Children’s Theatre of Charlotte in March 2018 as the music director for the OnStage show, Pirates of Penzance, Jr. This will be Marla’s first summer teaching performance camps at CTC and she is very excited to be part of the teaching team.