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Meet our teachers…

 

 

Meet Our Teachers…

SteppingStone contracts with a number of incredibly talented and highly qualified Theatre Artists from around the Twin Cities metro. Our Teaching Artists have extensive experience working with youth, are annually background-checked, and are held to a standard of Best Practices in the classroom. Collectively, these Artists and Educators provide your student with a high-quality, engaging, and age-appropriate theatre learning experience.

 

 

Aaron Fiskradatz
Specialty: Devised, Acting
A theatre artist and educator whose work can be seen across metro area classrooms and stages including Children's Theatre Company, Upstream Arts, and Lakeshore Players Theatre, where he also serves as Education Director. As an artist, he focuses on acting, directing, writing, and puppetry.
Alanna Morris-Van Tassel
Specialty: Dance
A professional Dancer, Teaching Artist, Choreographer, and Artist Organizer, Alanna holds a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School and has spent 10 seasons with TU Dance company. Alanna received a Minnesota SAGE Award for Outstanding Performer and is a recipient of a McKnight Dance Fellowship. Supported by The Jerome Foundation, she traveled to Trinidad to study Afro-Caribbean dance as a part of the New Waves! Festival and was an Artist-In-Residence with Art On Purpose where she commissioned a new solo dance and participated in a range of community engagement activities. Alanna continues to actively engage community in the Twin Cities by producing her own work under her company, Alanna Morris-Van Tassel Productions, and collaborating with local artists, educational programs, and individuals.
Atim Opoka
Master Teaching Artist
A Vocalist, Actress, and Teaching Artist in the twin cities, Atim is a bold, charismatic, and versatile performer who studied Vocal Performance at McNally Smith College of Music. As an actress & improvisor, Atim has worked with metro companies Smartmouth Collective, Chameleon Theatre Circle, and Lyric Arts. As a Musician, Atim writes and performs original material and regularly performs as a backup vocalist for local bands. Her music is a fusion of County, Blues, Folk, and Pop. Atim teaches Music, Acting, and Comedy with Children's Theatre Company, Stages, Lyric Arts, Climb Theatre, and Ashland Productions.
Austin Lewis
Specialty: Music, Acting
A Musician, Actor, and Educator, Austin holds a degree in Music Education from the University of Northwestern St. Paul. Austin teaches Freshman Choir & Bella Voce Select Group at Irondale High School. Additionally, he runs his own business teaching private voice and piano lessons, leads HERO Homeschool choirs, and is the music director at several local churches. As an actor, Austin has worked with Cross Community Players, Theatre in the Round, Lakeshore Players, SteppingStone Theatre, Theatre Coup d'Etat, St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre, and Front Porch Theatre.
Carin Bratlie Wethern
Specialty: Devised, Acting, Directing
A Director and Teaching Artist, Carin is the Artistic Director of Theatre Pro Rata and has directed over 60 productions in Minnesota and Wisconsin including at Park Square, The History Theatre, and Assistant Directing at The Guthrie. In addition to SteppingStone, Carin teaches theater at The Guthrie and schools throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. When not directing or teaching, Carin plays the tuba for Mike's Brass and is a professional knitter.
Dane Stauffer
Specialty: Music, Acting, Directing
An Actor, Musician, and Playwright, Dane received his BFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Dane teaches Yoga, Voice and Improvisation, writes plays, directs, and records music. Dane has worked with Children's Theatre Company, The Playwrights Center, Brave New Workshop, Jeffrey Hatcher, and has appeared in several television shows. He is most well-known for "Triple Espresso", San Diego's longest running stage show, with which he’s also toured the USA, Ireland, and consistently remounted in the Twin Cities.
Emily Villano
Specialty: Devised, Music, Directing
A charismatic and versatile vocalist with a passion for music, Emily brings a captivating voice, persona, and a funky style to everything she does. Along with her career as a singer, Emily has a passion for arts education and teaches with a number of organizations including Youth Performance Company, Nova Classical Academy, Lakeshore Players, and Ashland Productions. As a freelance educator, Emily is a vocal coach, music director, and stage director in addition to maintaining her private vocal studio. Emily graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from McNally Smith.
Erin Granger
Manager of Youth and Family Programs
With a background in Arts Management, Teaching, and Performance, Erin holds a BA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Performance and Directing from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Erin’s professional experience over the past 10 years has centered around empowering young people as creators through education, youth work, and youth programming. She has lead a number of theatre-centric workshops and taught Reggio/Montessori STEAM curriculum as an Early Childhood Teacher. Artistically, Erin has an affinity for Classical Theatre and Theatre for Young Audiences. She has collaborated with local theatre companies including Shakespeare & Company, Theatre in the Round, Lakeshore Players, and Chameleon Theatre Circle. Erin comes to SteppingStone from Trollwood Performing Arts School, in Fargo, ND, where she served as the Assistant Program & Volunteer Coordinator in the theatre’s Education Department.
Erin Schwab
Specialty: Music, Acting
An accomplished singer, Erin knows how to work a song--and an audience. During her tenure as a performer locally and nationally, Erin has toured with musicals, recorded her own music, and sang with local bands and artists. As an educator, Erin worked extensively with college students at McNally Smith College of Music and taught private lessons to middle & high schoolers. She has directed & music directed a number of middle school, high school, and college productions and freelances as a music & acting teacher for students of all ages. When not teaching or playing gigs, Erin can be seen performing in musicals on stage, most recently at The Ordway.
Gretchen Grunzke
Specialty: Devised, Acting, Comedy
Gretchen earned her BFA in Acting from Marymount Manhattan College and has extensive experience as an actor, comedian, and teaching artist in NYC and the Twin Cities. She studied Improv and Sketch Comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater - the only accredited improv and sketch comedy school in the U.S. - and now she's hilarious. Past MN credits include CLIMB Theatre, National Theater for Children, several Fringe shows, and the Guthrie. She currently performs with ComedySportz and Huge Theater and teaches/coaches/directs at the Brave New Workshop, BCT Artistry, Lakeshore Players, Pillsbury House, and her own private studio. Gretchen finds teaching to be the ultimate source of creative and comedic inspiration and loves every minute of it!
Hannah Halvorson
Specialty: Devised, Acting, Puppetry
A Twin Cities native, Hannah holds a BFA in Acting from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. until recently Hannah resided in New York City where she taught mask work and devised theater to Pre-K and elementary-aged students. Upon returning to MN, Hannah became the Artist in Residence at Capital Hill Elementary where she lead drama classes and created original work with students. Hannah also served as the Educational Director at Woodbury Community Theater. She works locally as an actress and freelance teaching artist.
Jamie MacPherson
Specialty: Devised, Stage Combat
A Director, Teaching Artist, and Fight Director, Jamie has a Masters in Theatre for Youth from Arizona State University, and holds a B.A. in Theatre from Macalester College. She has taught innumerable workshops locally, and throughout the country including Arizona, Kansas, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Recent fight credits include "The Princess Bride" at First Act Children's Theatre in Madison, and "Macbeth" at Arizona State University. Her work has been published in HowlRoung and TYA Today.
Jane Froiland
Specialty: Devised, Acting, Comedy
A St. Paul-based actor, director, and teaching artist, Jane has taught with Lakeshore Players, Youth Performance Company, Stages Theatre, Yellow Tree Theatre, and many more. Onstage, she has appeared with Children’s Theatre Company, Park Square Theatre, Mixed Blood, Jungle Theatre, Frank Theatre, Ten Thousand Things, Old Log , Dark and Stormy, and Gremlin, among others. Jane directs the Spring play at Woodbury High School, is the Head Coach of the White Bear Speech Team, and is a performer with Science Live Theatre at the Science Museum of Minnesota.
Kiera Stegall
Specialty: Devised, Storytelling
An animated storyteller and educator, Kiera has more than ten years of experience working with children from birth through upper elementary school. After years of storytelling on stage and directing elementary-age church plays, Kiera joined the world of children's theatre. Encouraging the creativity and imagination of children, she loves brining characters and stories to life on stage. Kiera currently serves as the Director of Children & Family Ministry at a local Twin Cities church.
Kristin Fox
Specialty: Devised, Acting, Directing
An educator, dramaturg, and director, Kristin holds an MFA in Theatre with a focus on Education from the University of Mankato. Kristin has been teaching theatre classes for a decade to students of all ages and abilities. She specializes in directing, devised theatre, and acting and served as the Director of Theatre at Pelican Rapids High School.
LaTwanna Williams
Specialty: Acting, Dance
As a licensed K-12 educator, LaTwanna has extensive experience teaching students of all ages. She holds a B.A. in Theatre and a MAT in Theatre/Dance. Inspired by theatre at a young age, she loves facilitating the ability for students to make their own, personal connection to meaningful art experiences in their lives.
Laurie Dehmlow
Specialty: Music
A music educator, Laurie has multiple accreditations including a B.S. in Music Education and a M.M. in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy. As a performing artist she has been in several musical theatre and chamber opera productions in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. In addition to teaching classes for Steppingstone (since 1992), Laurie teaches children's music literacy and private voice lessons at St. Joseph's School of Music, Children's Theatre Company, and local elementary schools. Additionally, Laurie direct two children's church choirs.
Leslye Orr
Specialty: Storytelling, Sound Design
A playwright, performer, and teacher, Leslye has an extensive background in theatre education for both children and adults. Well known for her workshops on the integration of people with disabilities, she has toured US Embassies in the middle east as a disabilities advocate by appointment of the US Department of State. Born legally blind, Leslye is a sound designer, author and illustrator of children's books, former company member at Children's Theatre Company, and co-owner/operator of Dreamland Arts.
Lindsey C. Samples
Master Teaching Artist
An actor, director and educator having worked with many theater companies, schools, and organizations including Children’s Theatre Company, The Guthrie, Stages Theatre Company, Upstream Arts, Theatre Forever, 20% Theatre Company, Savage Umbrella, Off-Leash Area Performance Works, and Mad Munchkin Productions. Lindsey holds a B.A. in Theater from Loyola University Chicago and an M.Ed. in Youth Development Leadership from the University of Minnesota.
LJ Johnson
Specialty: Directing, Comedy
A writer, director, actor, and comedy expert, LJ has built quite the impressive resume. While in Los Angeles working as a writer, two of her young adult/family screenplays were produced. Additionally, she acted on a number of television shows, most notably working with the Disney Channel. Locally, LJ is the director at several middle & high school theatres. Over the past 10 years, she has developed and lead engaging comedy & writing workshops for youth and adults. LJ is employed full-time in the casting department of a local talent agency.
Martino Mayotte
Specialty: Devised, Music, Dance
With an impressive resume as a singer, dancer, choreographer, actor, writer, costumer, and entertainer Martino received his training from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. He is the Artistic Director of Silver Slipper Productions and also serves as the company's Music Director. Martino has collaborated with Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, Paul Bunyan Playhouse, American Repertory Theatre, and Artistry. As an educator, Martino has taught with Youth Performance Company, Top Hat Children's Theatre, Ashland Productions, and various dance studios.
Meagan Kedrowski
Specialty: Devised, Technical Theatre
A versatile Actor, Director, and Stage Technician, Meagan holds a BA in Theatre Arts with a triple emphasis in Acting, Directing, and Technical Theatre from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Meagan served for two years as the Head of Theatre at Brainerd High School before eventually relocating to the Twin Cities where she has worked consistently as an actor, director, technician, and educator. Meagan has collaborated with the History Theatre, Park Square, Artistry, Theatre in the Round, Chameleon Theatre Circle, Live Action Set, Savage Umbrella, and Theatre Coup d'Etat, among others. Meagan works full-time as the Stage Crew Supervisor at the Guthrie Theatre.
Megan Flod-Johnson
Creative Learning Director
With a background in Montessori Education and classical music, Megan holds an MFA in Theatre for Youth along with a graduate certificate in Socially Engaged Practice, both from Arizona State University. Megan has eight years of experience designing arts experiences for young people in schools and art centers, for theatre companies and museums and managing multidisciplinary arts programs at youth drop-in centers and children’s museums. Megan’s focus around community-based practice puts the emphasis on the interactive process of creating art whether with professional artists, young children or older adults. Her artistic work in Theatre for Youth has been noted as possessing a highly visual aesthetic. Megan comes to SteppingStone from the Children’s Museum of Southern MN in Mankato where she focused on designing innovative museum programming in the arts and STEM.
Melissa Wood
Specialty: Devised, Stage Makeup
An educator with a passion for theatre, Melissa served for five years as the Education Coordinator at SteppingStone Theatre. With a BA in Theatre from Wisconsin Eau Claire, it was while studying for her Masters in Special Education that Melissa transitioned to working in the public schools as a Paraprofessional and advocate for students with special needs. Melissa has been a teaching artist at a variety of youth theatre companies for the past decade, specializing in devised theatre and stage craft including puppetry, mask work, and makeup design.
Mohammed Yabdri
Specialty: Devised, Acting, Comedy
An award-winning performer from Oran, Algeria, Mohammed stars on two hit Algerian TV shows: Sultan Achour 10, and Rap News Wahhh. He has presented his work as a theatre artist in every major Algerian city, Paris and Albi France, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Cameroon, and Morocco. In the Twin Cities Mohammed has worked with Frank Theater, Pangea World Theater, SteppingStone Theatre, Stages, Mixed Blood, The Soap Factory, and Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts.
Pedro Bayon
Specialty: Devised, Acting, Comedy
With over 30 years of experience, Pedro is a Theatre Artist and Teaching Artist from Puerto Rico. He has worked with local companies including The Ordway, Teatro del Pueblo, and Mixed Blood, amongst others. Motivating minds to explore their creative potential is what motivates Pedro to keep teaching and mentoring students ages 5-85.
Peter Morrow
Specialty: Devised, Sound Design, Music
A musician, composer, sound designer, and audio technician, Peter hails from Ireland where he received his Masters in Music and Media Technology from Trinity College Dublin. He has worked as a composer and audio technician on numerous film and stage productions throughout Ireland, greater Europe, and the United States. Locally, Peter has worked with Mixed Blood, Stages Theatre, Intermedia Arts, and The Guthrie. Peter teaches sound design and music classes to students of all ages. An ASD Certified instructor, Peter oversees the CAST program at Stages working with students affected by autism.
Ricky Morisseau
Specialty: Devised, Dance
Hailing from Delray Beach, FL, Ricky has been grooving to his own beat ever since he could walk. Self-taught until college, Ricky earned a BA in Theatre Performance with a Minor Dance and Dance Education from Florida A&M University. He is trained in Hip-Hop, African, Modern, Jazz, and Ballet dance styles. Ricky works in the twin cities as a professional actor and teaching artist with numerous companies including History Theatre, Guthrie, Illusion, CLIMB, Ashland Productions, and Stages. He enjoys working with students of all ages and cultural backgrounds. Ricky loves taking the skills he's gained from his mentors and paying it forward to the next generation of theatre artists.
Scott Nichols
Specialty: Magic, Balloon Artist
International award-winning balloon artist and magician, Scott Nichols may be better known by his stage name The Amazing Scott. He is a Certified Balloon Artist and has been entertaining local audiences for almost two decades. From full stage productions to close-up magic, balloon art, and fire performance, Scott has built a reputation for being one of the Twin Cities premiere entertainers.
Siri Brobst
Specialty: Devised, Makeup, Puppetry
A Theatre graduate of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Siri has forged a path for herself in the Twin Cities as theatre creative. Working with students of all ages, Siri has led countless workshops in stage makeup, devised theatre, and puppetry. She has worked with several local companies, most notably, Mad Munchkin, and is a freelance actor and educator.
Taous Khazem
Specialty: Devised, Acting
An international Teaching Artist and Actress, Taous trained at the Jacques Lecoq Theatre School in Paris, and holds a BA in Theatre and French from Macalester College. She has worked as a theatre artist in Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, France and Cameroon. In Algeria, she created workshops for English teachers on how to use theatre to teach language. In the Twin Cities, Taous has performed with The Jungle Theater, Pangea World Theater, Frank Theatre, and has assistant directed at The Guthrie. An award-winning actress, she has created and performed shows throughout the country. Taous loves teaching theatre to young people and guiding them towards opening up new worlds through imagination and play.
Teresa Mock
Specialty: Devised, Comedy, Costuming
A multidisciplinary theatre artist, Teresa received her MFA in Lecoq-Based Actor Created Theatre from The London International School for Performing Arts and Naropa University, and holds a BA in Theatre from the University of MN. She is recognized locally for her work with many companies including her own as either an actor, director, educator, or costume designer: We Theater, Mixed Precipitation, Walking Shadow, Pillsbury House Theater, Red Eye Theatre, Off Leash Area, Interact Center, Playwright Center, St Croix Falls Festival Theatre, National Theatre for Children, St Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts, Improv Parenting, St Paul Academy, Lyric Arts, and more.
Terrell Woods
Specialty: Devised, Beat Boxing
An established Hip Hop Artist, Terrell Woods (aka Carnage The Executioner) has spent over 20 years making music and working with youth and adults from all walks of life and various socio-economic backgrounds. He possesses a knack for establishing strong and healthy relationships. His specialties include fostering personal and artistic growth and helping all people find the voices they might not identify with just yet. Terrell stands firm in his support and practice of provoking positive self-expression, nurturing leadership skills, and speaking in favor of social justice. 10+ years of teaching beat boxing/vocal percussion and song writing has helped him build an impressive artist resume that extends all the way to Europe.