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Staff

Michelle Long

Michelle Long
Director of Education

Bio coming soon.

Sarah Diener

Sarah Ruth Diener
Resident Teaching Artist

Experience: Sarah Ruth Diener is a recent transplant to Charlotte and is thrilled to stepping into a new role at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte as the Resident Teaching Artist. A Minnesota native, and graduate of University of Minnesota-Duluth with a BFA in Acting and a Dance Minor, Sarah has worked for the last five years as a lead teaching artist, outreach coordinator, and director/choreographer/dialect coach for the Duluth Playhouse Children's Theatre. She loves most anything kid-related, particularly Disney, Anne of Green Gables and Roald Dahl, and is grateful to have the opportunity to see the difference the arts can make in a child's life.

Adam Montague

Adam Montague
Education Curriculum Coordinator

Bio coming soon.

Tommy Prudenti

Tommy Prudenti
Education Programs Coordinator

Tommy Prudenti graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Theatre Arts and English Literature. Since then, he has spent the majority of his career in NYC working in the theatre and entertainment industry for a few different companies: Barlow-Hartman, a Broadway PR firm; Shirley Grant Management and Prestige, a talent agency where he managed, coached and booked youth actors on print, commercial, film, television and theatre. On top of scouting at national talent conventions, he worked with NYC casting directors to set up a workshop series in the New York metro area called RAW (Rising Actor’s Workshop). He has also done some professional modeling, commercial, tv and theatre work throughout the years. Two and a half years ago, Tommy relocated to Charlotte where he signed with Carolina Talent Agency and began working full-time in the Education Department for Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.

Robin Tynes

Robin Tynes
Education Systems Coordinator

Robin Tynes graduated from Catawba College with her BFA in Musical Theatre. A North Carolina native, she began working with Children’s Theatre of Charlotte as a Summer Staff Admin Assistant in the Summer of 2012. She has worked with CTC in many capacities since then, including as a teaching artist and touring performer. She is also the Founding Artistic Director of Three Bone Theatre, a small non-profit theatre company in Charlotte. Robin really enjoys being back at CTC, working with such a committed and driven group of artists and teachers within the Education Department.

Teaching Artists

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Debra Baron

Debra has worked in the arts both in New York City and regionally for over 25 years. Administrative and directing credits include: artistic director Davidson Community Players; theatre arts training director Children’s Theatre Company; director of education Westport Country Playhouse (CT), director of education BlackRock Center for the Arts (MD), director of education and outreach at BoarsHead Theater (MI), artistic/managing director with the Manatee Players (FL), resident director of Stepping Out Productions (NYC), resident director Main Street Theatre (PA) and co-artistic director BB Productions (NYC). Member: Actors' Equity Association (AEA), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (SSDC). Education: J.D. (Howard University, 1985).

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Chanel Blanchett

Experience: Chanel is very excited to be a part of CTC's summer programs. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she has 5 years of experience teaching performing arts to youth of diverse ages and backgrounds in Charlotte, New York, and Philadelphia. Ms. Blanchett is dedicated to using her skills in performance, playwriting, directing, and stage management to integrate arts and communities. She is also a massive fan of superhero movies and comics, and would love to have the ability to control time.

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Jessica Borgnis

Experience: Jessica has been teaching for over ten years and is excited to be joining the CTC family this fall! She studied vocal and piano performance in Nashville, TN while pursuing a career in the music industry. She later co-founded a theater company in Columbia, SC before moving back to Charlotte to be closer to her family. She teaches piano and voice independently, is a professional songwriter, and also performs all across the southeast.

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Michelle Busiek

Education: BA in Theatre and English at Queens University in Charlotte. Experience: After graduating from the Police Academy and serving as an officer with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, she performed with numerous theatres in the area, including several tours with CTC’s own Tarradiddle preschool company. Michelle recently created her own in-school residency program for local preschools.

Nicia Carla

Nicia Carla

Nicia Carla has worked with CTC since 2000, as an actor, teacher, and director. A graduate of Winthrop University and a mother of two, she enjoys teaching children of all ages. She has extensive experience with early childhood and is currently also a Teaching Artist with the ASC funded Wolf Trap Arts Integration Program in schools. She was also a teacher of CTC's preprofessional actor training, High School Ensemble. She has taught the Neighborhood Bridges literacy in schools program for 4th graders for over 9 years. Nicia is the Founding Artistic Director of PaperHouse Theatre, and loves teaching improv to all ages, reminding herself and others that theatre can happen anywhere with anything. She is grateful for the opportunity to share her joy with students.

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Regina Epps

Experience: 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.

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Kristin Jann-Fischer

Kristin Jann-Fischer is a singer, actress and teacher who resides in Charlotte, NC. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. After that, Kristin received her Master's Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Hawai'i. Kristin has been performing professionally in theatre and on screen for thirteen or so years. She teaches private voice and guitar lessons as well as does audition coaching.

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Tommy Foster

Education: MFA in Classical Acting from the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at GWU and a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan. Experience: Tommy is an actor, director and teacher originally from Concord, NC. He relocated back to Concord in 2013 after 13 years in New York City. Since then he has been seen in Scrooge!, Jackie & Me, and The Hundred Dresses at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte; The Scarlet Pimpernel and Oliver! at CPCC Summer Theatre; River City at the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte; and The Normal Heart at Theatre Charlotte. Other professional credits include Next to Normal with Music Theatre of Connecticut, The Wild Party with Kalliope Stage, The Last 5 Years with the Gorilla Theatre, The Who's Tommy with the Gallery Players and Carousel at the Gateway Playhouse. Tommy won the 2005 Bistro Award from Backstage for his one-man show The Method To My Madness. He has directed Chicago, Macbeth, and Sweeney Todd: School Edition for CTC’s Teen Summer Performance Experience; reasons to be pretty at CAST; and Sounds fo the 60s at the Lee Street Theatre. He teaches at CTC, RCCC, and Catawba College.

JJ Jimenez

JJ Jimenez

JJ Jimenez is excited to be returning to CTC, after he was a camp counselor two summers ago and a teaching artist last summer. A NC native, he attended the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill where he studied Dramatic Art, English, and History. JJ has worked as a teaching assistant, camp counselor, and teaching artist and various summer arts programs all over the state. He currently lives in Chapel Hill and is the Company Manager for PlayMakers repertory Company. His superpowers include an uncanny knack for telling long-winded, detailed stories and an ability to sing high notes on a whim.

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Michelle Lakey

Michele Holdren Lakey has been playing the piano since she was five years old, and music and the arts has been a lifelong passion of hers. For the last 15 years, Michele has served as a music educator for kindergarten through high school grade levels 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.

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Steven Levine

Experience: After earning his B.F.A in Acting from the University of South Carolina Steven did post-graduate work at the Dell’ Arte International School of Physical Theatre before embarking on a twenty year career as an actor, director, movement coach and fight choreographer. During that span, Steven worked at some of the country's leading regional theatres and universities, including: San Diego Rep, A.C.T., Dell' Arte Players Company, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Seattle Children's Theatre, Heritage Theatre Festival, and others. Here at C.T.C. he directed Romeo & Juliet (2013) and Urinetown (2014) for Onstage, and The Giver (2014) for the Conservatory program.

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Marie Nodine

Experience: Marie has worked as a teaching artist with the 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!

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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.

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Sarah Provencal

Experience: Sarah earned her MFA in Theatre Pedagogy at Virginia Commonwealth University where some of her favorite projects include directing Karen Hartman’s Troy Women and playing Rona Lisa Peretti in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. After earning her MFA, she worked and trained abroad in London, England. Highlights include working with Punchdrunk, training with physical theatre companies, and directing two premieres: Cutting Edge: An Interactive Fairytale, and The Last Hour of Antigone. Here in Charlotte, Sarah has directed for Charlotte’s Off-Broadway, Shakespeare Carolina, Three Bone Theatre, The Warehouse, and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. She also performs and devises with Taproot Performance Ensemble. She is a teaching artist at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and Film Actors Studio, and an adjunct Professor of Theatre at Winthrop University and South Piedmont Community College.

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Katy Shepherd

Experience: Katy is thrilled to be back for another exciting year with CTC! This past year, she taught SOTT classes and summer camps and appeared in three of CTC's main stage productions (101 Dalmatians, Scrooge!, and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse). In addition to CTC, Katy was the Resident Teaching Artist and Education Associate for Greenbrier Valley Theatre and also developed and led summer camps for Two Roads Educational Arts and Theatre. With a huge passion for teaching and performing, she has been blessed to act and teach in WV, IN, OH, MI, GA, TX, IA, and now NC! She sends her love and gratitude to her wonderful husband and four-legged daughters, Nellie and Cecily.

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Chester Shepherd

Education: BA in English and Theatre Arts from Bethel College in Mishawaka, IN, and an MFA in Acting from Western Illinois University. Experience: In the summer of 2012, Chester was an Education Intern at Greenbrier Valley Theatre. He also worked as a peer writing tutor at Bethel College and has been a graduate assistant for a variety of theatre classes for the past three years. Chester is happy to return for his second year of classes with CTC. This past season, he was seen on the CTC Mainstage in Jackie & Me (Joey) and The Cat in the Hat (Boy).

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Karen Steele

Education: UNC-Chapel Hill Experience: As a devoted artist educator, Karen has taught theatre education, dance, and music in a variety of venues for children and adults for over twelve 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.

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Amy Steinberg

Experience: After performing with the European tour of HAIR and being in several theatrical productions and rock bands, Amy decided to write and perform her own original music and theater. Amy toured in support of her 9th original music CD - a collection of inspiring and empowering pop anthems after teaching at CTC’s theater camps last summer. She loves teaching Musical Theater and Vocal Instruction at CTC and focuses on helping the student find their own voice as complete performers.

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Ian Sullivan

Ian Sullivan is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he received his degree in Theatre Education. He has worked for the past seven years with North Iredell High School, and for the last thirteen years with Children's Theatre of Charlotte. In both positions, he has helped to develop curriculum, differentiate for students with exceptional needs, teach cooperatively with dance, theatre, visual art, and music instructors, and build programs involved and invested in the community. He has worked to teach dynamic classes that create fun, interactive, artistic learning environments for students. Ian believes that the arts can provide a channel to learning that can be entertaining while still being instructional, using creative lessons to get students excited about learning.

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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.

Meredith Swanson

Meredith Swanson

Meredith Swanson earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts from East Carolina University in Musical Theater in 2005. After graduation she starred in live performances of Walt Disney World’s High School Musical and Playhouse Disney in Orlando, Florida before moving back home to live in Lake Norman. You may recognize her from her most recent role as “Roxie Heart” in Davidson Community Players production of “Chicago” and she was also cast by DCP as the lead role of “Babe” in "The Pajama Game" back in 2013. Meredith’s passion for music, drama and dance stretches beyond the stage to the classroom where she has been the music teacher for private and charter schools since 2010. Outside of school hours she has been a Teaching Artist for The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte since 2010 and has acted as Music Director for the productions of “Mulan Jr.” and “Once on this Island.”

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Juliette Turmelle

Education: BFA in Theatre for Youth Performance and BA in English from East Carolina University Experience: During her time in undergrad, Julie was heavily involved with ECU Storybook Theatre by performing for children, facilitating workshops, and learning to direct. After graduation, she joined the CTC family as a Summer Camp Counselor. She then worked as a CTC Class Assistant at our Huntersville satellite and began her journey as a Teaching Artist. This past season, she taught Creative Drama classes as well as Summer Camp and had a blast. She cannot wait to see her students this Fall!

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Carly Walker

Experience: Carley moved to Charlotte after graduating from The University of Oklahoma with a BFA in Drama in 2014. This fall will be her second teaching season with Children’s Theatre Charlotte and she is ecstatic to have the opportunity to share her passion for theatre with another round of outstanding students. She has a rich background in speech and debate, stage acting, and technical theatre with an emphasis in lighting. Her professional resume includes acting, design, and technical credits so she has a wealth of knowledge she is eager to share with her students. She is the Production Manager for Three Bone Theatre, a local non-profit company, and also works with Davidson Community Players as a teaching artist.