Davenport Junior Theatre

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Index of Theatre Instructors:
Kailey Ackermann (Broadway, Advanced Broadway)
Stephanie Burrough (Spectrum)
Emily Clifton (Spectrum)
Molly Conrad (Acting)
Diane Emmert (Acting)
Megan Fennelly (Creative Theatre Fun, Broadway Babies, Acting)
Erik Finch (Improv, Character Craze)
Lauren Kapolnek (Spectrum)
Zach Meyer (Stagecraft)
Stephanie Seward (Dance for Theatre, Broadway, Intermediate Acting, Advanced Acting)
Jessica Sheridan (Creative Theatre Fun, Broadway, Acting, Intermediate Acting, Spectrum)
Ivy Shoultz (Acting, Teen Acting)

Kailey Ackermann Kailey Ackermann
(Teaches: Broadway, Advanced Broadway)

Kailey is so honored to be starting her first season as an instructor at DJT. She has been singing and acting since she can remember, and was heavily involved in her school productions from grade school through college. She graduated from Augustana College in 2012 with a degree in Theatre and Communication Studies. At Augustana she was able to study all aspects of theatre, but has found that she is most passionate about directing and musical theatre performance.

After college, Kailey moved back to her hometown in Winfield, IL. She worked as a director of Children's Playhouse Theatre in Wheaton, IL, where she was able to direct Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella. She brought her love of children's theatre back to the Quad Cities when she was offered a position here at DJT as an AmeriCorps member for Davenport Parks and Recreation. Through this position, she was mainly involved in summer camps and outreach programs.

Now that her AmeriCorps term is over, she is thrilled to jump into so many projects at Junior Theatre, including teaching classes and directing and choreographing for the 63rd season.

Stephanie Burrough Stephanie Burrough
(Teaches: Spectrum)

Stephanie Burrough is honored serve as a teacher on the Davenport Junior Theatre staff! Stephanie graduated from Kalamazoo College with a B.A. in English, though she spent much of her time during college in the Balch Playhouse performing and enjoying the art of theatre. Her focuses during that time included classical theatre, improvisation and forum theatre as a way to enable social dialogue and personal power amongst its participants.

Her studies of forum theatre took her to Chennai, India, where she worked with the non-profit organization Nalamadana and saw how theatre can truly serve as a transcendent social tool in third world countries (find out how to make donations at nalamdana.org). In her senior year, she lead several groups of middle-schoolers in a series of improvisation and participatory theatre classes, teaching them to use the improv and dialogue exercises of Augusto Boal (Theatre of the Oppressed) and Michael Rohd (Sojourn Theatre) to confront current social issues.

Since returning to the Quad Cities, she has become a frequent contributor to The Prenzie Players classical theatre company, acting, directing, and working behind the scenes in over 20 shows, including Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Othello, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, The Rover, and a continuous cast version of the "Henriad." She has also worked for ComedySportz as a performer and enjoyed playing with other theatre companies in the Quad Cities area.

Professionally in the community, she serves as the Project Coordinator for Amy's Gift, the Quad Cities Eating Disorders Consortium, and owns her own holistic wellness business located within Be Well QC in the Rock Island District.

Emily Clifton
(Teaches: Spectrum)

Emily Clifton was excited to get back to her theatre roots when she started assisting with The Curtainbox Theatre Company's theatre class for youth on the autism spectrum, and was just as happy when the program was redesigned as the Spectrum program and transferred to Davenport Junior Theatre, where she has enjoyed seeing it grow every session.

Emily graduated with her Theatre and English majors at St. Ambrose University, but decided after graduation to work at a school for at-risk students. This inspired Emily to learn more about social work, so she moved to Massachusetts to serve in Americorps working with homeless teens. In Massachusetts, Emily started using theatre as a venue for social change, acting in the Vagina Monologues to raise money for women facing domestic violence. She followed this by directing The Exonerated to raise money and awareness for issues relating to prisoners. She is now an assistant for Stigmabusters, an improv group going out into the Quad Cities community educating about the struggles for those with mental health issues.

Since her Americorps service, Emily has become a licensed clinical therapist at Vera French, working with youth aged 3-18 that are struggling with trauma, behaviors or other mental health issues. There, she has had the opportunity to do work with youth and families. She has authored or presented at places such as the child therapy toy blog, Quad Cities homeless symposium, Vera French ethics training, and a National Association of Social Workers conference.

With Davenport Junior Theatre’s support, Emily has also started working toward her dramatherapy license as an Alternative Training student and is eager to keep building the opportunities in the Quad Cities to incorporate theatre and other art forms in helping individuals in the healing process. In Emily’s spare time, she also enjoys watching live theatre, playing tennis and playing board games.

Molly Conrad Molly Conrad
(Teaches: Acting)

Molly Conrad is thrilled to join the DJT staff. She fell in love with theatre in grade school, where she wrote, directed, and starred in shows at recess. She got involved with community theatre in the Quad Cities, and acted in several productions at Bettendorf High School, as Little Red in Into the Woods and Miss Hannigan in Annie. Her passion followed her into her college career; she majored in theatre and public relations at St. Ambrose University. There, she acted in multiple productions including Lady of the Lake in Spamalot and Eurydice in Eurydice. Molly thought she could never find anything as satisfying as acting onstage. St. Ambrose proved her wrong.

At St. Ambrose, Molly fell in love with directing. She directed The Actor's Nightmare, "The Freshface Revue", Almost, Maine, and Proof in the studio theatre, and assistant directed shows on the mainstage. In the summer of 2013, she worked as the directing apprentice at Riverside Theatre in Iowa City. There, she learned much about the professional world of the theatre as well as in-depth script analysis. She assistant directed and was sound board operator for Hamlet and School for Scandal, as well as director of the apprentice showcase.

This summer, she is thrilled to be in town and still working in the arts. As well as teaching at Davenport Junior Theatre, Molly is working on an album and pursuing her career as a singer-songwriter. She plans to stay involved in theatre and music in any way she can.

Daniel Sheridan Diane Emmert
(Teaches: 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!

Megan FennellyMegan Fennelly
(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.

Erik FinchErik Finch
(Teaches: Improv, Character Craze)

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.

Lauren Kapolnek Lauren Kapolnek
(Teaches: Spectrum)

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.

Zach Meyer Zach Meyer
(Teaches: Stagecraft)

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.

Stephanie SewardStephanie Seward
(Teaches: Dance for Theatre, Broadway, Intermediate Acting, Advanced Acting)

Stephanie graduated from St. Ambrose University, majoring in Theatre and French with a minor in Music. Stephanie began working with Davenport Junior Theatre as a teacher in its School of Dance, and has become more and more involved in both sides of DJT. She has had the opportunity to work with children in the performing arts at the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago, Festival Theatre in St. Croix Falls, WI, and Camp Wyoming in Wyoming, IA as well as being in her 4th year at DJT. Stephanie is currently the elementary music teacher and upper/middle school choir teacher at Rivermont Collegiate in Bettendorf. She is very excited to be a part of the amazing community at DJT, and to have the opportunity to positively impact children's lives!

Jessica SheridanJessica Sheridan
(Teaches: Creative Theatre Fun, Broadway, Acting, Intermediate Acting, Spectrum)

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.

Ivy ShoultzIvy Shoultz
Theatre Coordinator, Instructor
(Teaches: Acting, Teen Acting)

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.

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