Index of Theatre Instructors:
Stephanie Burrough (Spectrum, Advanced Acting)
Diane Emmert (Acting, Teen Acting, Intermediate Acting, Advanced Acting)
Megan Fennelly (Creative Theatre Fun, Broadway Babies, Acting)
Erik Finch (Improv, Character Craze, Spectrum, Teen Acting)
Taylor Gillhouse (Broadway)
Lauren Kapolnek (Spectrum, Creative Theatre Fun, Acting)
Zach Meyer (Stagecraft, Acting)
Jessica Sheridan (Broadway, Broadway Babies, Acting, Intermediate Acting)
Ivy Shoultz (Acting, Creative Theatre Fun, Spectrum)
(Teaches: Acting, Teen Acting, Intermediate Acting, Advanced Acting)
Diane made her stage debut at the age of 4 when she sang "Jingle Bell Rock" (solo!) at her preschool's Christmas pageant. Since then she has been nursing her passion for theatre. She studied ballet, jazz, and tap at Patty Gray's School of Dance (Ottawa, IL), attended several "Summer in the Arts" programs at both Eastern Illinois University and Northern Illinois University, acted in numerous High School productions as well as the Marquette Academy Swing Choir, and performed in Stage 212's 2007 summer production of Cats (Peru, IL).
Diane attended Western Illinois University, where she studied acting for stage and camera, vocal techniques, musical theatre (classical and belt), Commedia dell'Arte, improv, stage combat, unrehearsed Shakespeare techniques, directing and stage managing. During her four years at Western, Diane was involved with many productions (both on stage and off), favorites of which include Parade, Children of Eden, Samurai, The Glass Menagerie, The Smell of the Kill, Tartuffe and Romeo and Juliet. Prior to moving to Davenport, Diane worked as puppeteer/Tiger Lily for C.H.A.O.S's 2011 summer production of Peter Pan or Why the Crock Rocked.
Diane spent this past summer with Junior Theatre as an AmeriCorps member, and is thrilled to be returning as an AmeriCorps member and an acting instructor!
(Teaches: Creative Theatre Fun, Broadway Babies, Acting)
Growing up, Megan Fennelly started her own acting career at Junior Theatre when she was 8 years old. She started taking classes and worked her way up to the Mainstage Company where she had fun performing in such shows as Alice in Wonderland, Tom Sawyer and Stone Soup.
Megan attended Western Illinois University majoring in Early Childhood Education and adores teaching our littlest actors at Junior Theatre. Megan stays active at Junior Theatre by teaching classes, teaching at Performing Arts Camp, and instructing speciality workshops. She is also the Secretary of Davenport Junior Theatre, Inc.
When she's not busy at Junior Theatre, Megan enjoys being a busy preschool teacher, scrapbooking, catching any live theatre she can find time for, and spending time with her son, Tanner.
(Teaches: Improv, Character Craze, Spectrum, Teen Acting)
Erik is both honored and thrilled to be serving as a teacher with the Davenport Junior Theatre staff. Born and raised in the Quad Cities, Erik grew up in Davenport where he was very involved with improvisation, drama, and show choir at Davenport North High School. After graduation, he attended the University of Northern Iowa, double-majoring in Elementary Education and Speech Communications. While at UNI, Erik stayed heavily involved in theatre, performing roles with both community as well as university theatre, and was also a founding member of UNI Playback: A Storytelling Form of Improv.
Following college graduation, Erik relocated to Kansas City to work in radio and pursue further training in improvisation and stage acting at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. While there, Erik studied and performed with the University Improvisational Group, The Barn Players in Mission, KS, and the Blue Springs City Theatre in Blue Springs, MO. Some of his favorite roles while there include Kip in Wonder of The World, Paul in Moon Over Buffalo, and Marcus Lycus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
After living in the Kansas City area for four years, Erik moved back to Iowa for family, and taught preschool children here in Davenport. Locally, he has been involved with The Quad City Music Guild, as well as New Ground Theatre. His overall experience encompasses a strong background in education, as well as improvisation, directing, acting, and set design.
When not teaching, Erik enjoys listening to music, reading, writing, watching movies, and attending as much live theatre as he can.
Taylor Anne Gillhouse, a Davenport native, recently graduated from the University of Iowa with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Theatre Arts. Professionally, she has choreographed for groups like the Belmond-Klemme Show Choir, Davenport Central Drama Department, the Imani Dancers and Quad City Metro Arts.
Taylor has appeared in Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s The Merry Widow and Circa 21’s productions of The Sound of Music and Home for the Holidays. Other favorite shows in the QC include Gypsy, The Wizard of Oz, and The Secret Garden.
Her additional studies in dance have included Ballet Quad Cities, Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation, Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company, and Thodos Dance Chicago. Taylor is excited to be sharing her excitement for dance.
(Teaches: Spectrum, Creative Theatre Fun, Acting)
After volunteering for over a year, Lauren is thrilled to be an instructor for DJT's Spectrum Theatre Program. Lauren has a BA in Drama/Speech and Studio Art from Clarke University, class of 2007. She worked in talent management and PR for 3 years in New York City before returning to the Midwest to pursue a masters degree in occupational therapy. Currently, she is a student at St. Ambrose University. In her small amount of free time, she likes to work on costumes for performance and craftsmanship competitions around the Midwest.
Lauren hopes to use the knowledge obtained from her schooling to help children struggling with issues on the spectrum. She would like to apply what she has learned from DJT to her future practice as an occupational therapist.
(Teaches: Stagecraft, Acting)
Zach is very excited to be joining the teaching staff at DJT. After being a Junior Theatre student for six years learning from amazing teachers and appearing in many Mainstage productions, he is looking forward to sharing his knowledge of stagecraft with the next generation of DJT students. Zach is currently majoring in Theatre at St. Ambrose University, where he focuses on the backstage work of the theatre. In addition to the DJT Mainstage and St. Ambrose, Zach has worked with the QC Theatre Workshop in Davenport.
(Teaches: Broadway, Broadway Babies, Acting, Intermediate Acting)
Jessica is a graduate of St. Ambrose University Theatre Department, where she earned a B.A. in Theatre. During her time at St. Ambrose, Jessica was fortunate enough to work with acclaimed Broadway director, Phil Wm. McKinley (Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, The Boy From Oz) in the world premiere of William Luce's Creme De Coco. For her work in Coco, Jessica was nominated for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. The following year, Jessica was a semi-finalist acting partner for the same acting competition.
After graduating, she headed out west to the tiny town of Blue Lake, CA where she studied with the world-renowned Dell'Arte Company of California. During her time there she studied a new form of physical theatre developed by Richard Schechner and taught by Paula Murray Cole. The style, known as RASAboxes, consists of Antonin Artaud's theory that an actor can become an "athlete of the emotions", and the Eastern Indian aesthetic study of emotions known as Rasa, or flavor.
Jessica considers herself an actor first and foremost. However, she has much experience in all aspects of the theatre including design, direction, stage management and production. Some previous roles include Susie in Wit (directed by Mr. McKinley), Sgt. Dryvinski in MEGAFAULT (Sy-Fy channel original), and, most recently, Amy in the world premiere of A Green River by Aaron Randolph III.
Jessica is also the owner and photographer of Shared Light Photography. She specializes in portraits of families, kids, newborns, and actors.
Jessica has been active with Junior Theatre since 2008, acting as a camp counselor, class instructor, workshop, leader and director; having most recently directed Daniel DP Sheridan's adaptation of Pinocchio.
Theatre Coordinator, Instructor
(Teaches: Acting, Creative Theatre Fun, Spectrum)
Ivy moved to the Quad Cities after graduating from Monmouth College in May, 2012, where she majored in Theatre and English. She has been involved with the theatre since she started acting in school plays in seventh grade, but she didn't get serious about theatre until starting college. During her schooling, Ivy studied every aspect of the theatre, but found her passion in acting and stage managing.
Ivy has been involved with Davenport Junior Theatre since she served as Performing Arts Intern during the summer of 2011. In addition to teaching classes and camps, Ivy served as the Stage Manager and Props Designer for the 61st Season. She also served as an AmeriCorps member with Davenport Parks and Recreation, based out of Junior Theatre. Through this position, she worked on Outreach programs and Volunteer Coordinating.
Most recently, Ivy directed Cinderella on the mainstage and stage managed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Outside of Junior Theatre, Ivy recently took the stage with the Prenzie Players in their production of Lear. When not busy in the theatre, Ivy works as a nanny during the day.