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JENNY CROSS is the Resident Teaching Artist for Taproot Theatre Company and has been on staff since 2003. In addition to performing on Taproot’s Jewell Mainstage and in touring programs, she also developed and oversees an after-school drama program at Madison Middle School in West Seattle for Taproot. She teaches and directs for Taproot’s Acting Studio and held a long-time residency for Taproot teaching drama at Fairfax Psychiatric Hospital in Kirkland, Everett and Monroe. Before coming to Seattle she toured with Shenandoah Shakespeare Express (now the American Shakespeare Center) and performed with American Cabaret Theatre in Many Glacier, MT. Her own company, Rasa’s production of The Two Gentleman of Verona was a finalist for “Pick of the Fest” for The Seattle Fringe Theatre Festival in 2002. Jenny studied theatre and vocal performance at Southeast Missouri State and is an alumnus of Director’s Lab West in Los Angeles, CA.
SOLOMON DAVIS has been a teaching artist for Taproot Theatre Company since 2007. He has been seen in numerous touring and Jewell Mainstage shows for Taproot and performs regularly with the improv team.
SARAH DIENER is entering into her sixth summer teaching for Taproot’s acting studio. She began her journey with Taproot as an acting studio student and after receiving her BFA in acting from Azusa Pacific University returned to Seattle to complete a teaching internship and has been teaching ever since! Sarah loves teaching students of all ages and specializes in bringing movement and music into the storytelling world. She looks forward to another summer of fun, creativity and learning!
LORRIE FARGO has been a teaching artist in the Seattle area for more than a decade. With Taproot’s Acting Studio, she has taught classes and directed showcases for students of all ages, from Kindergarten to retirement. Lorrie particularly enjoys working on Shakespeare with young actors. As an actor, she has appeared on Taproot’s Jewell Mainstage as well as with Greenstage, SecondStory Rep and Harlequin Productions, among others. Lorrie holds a BA in Theatre from Seattle Pacific University and trained at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the UK.
MELANIE HAMPTON has been a theater teaching artist for over six years. She began her artistic journey in youth acting programs, so they hold a very special place in her heart. She attended Abilene Christian University where she studied Theatre, specifically acting, play-writing and children’s theatre. She is a working actor, playwright and teaching artist in Seattle, and is also a real estate agent. She loves working with actors whose ages range from 3-18, specializing in collaborative environments where creating the script is half of the fun! Classes with Melanie are silly, compassionate, artistically challenging and above all — fun!
RICK HORNOR retired in 2011 after having taught for 45 years. His teaching included junior and senior high schools in CA and NY then 28 years directing the Theatre Department at Whitworth University in Spokane. He stays active teaching and directing in the Acting Studio program at Taproot Theatre. Since moving to Tacoma he has directed at the Lakewood Playhouse, Tacoma Little Theatre and for The Young at Heart Players at Tacoma Musical Playhouse. He has directed workshops on the use of theatre across the curriculum to teach character values at schools in CA, TX, Washington DC, in London, England and Saipan, Mariana Islands. He has also enjoyed teaching and directing stints in Costa Rica, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, England, Tanzania, China, Italy and Russia. Career highlights include teaching and directing at Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya and, as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching at LCC University in Klaipeda, Lithuania where he directed 12 Angry Jurors with actors from former Soviet bloc countries. He and his wife enjoy globe-trotting and invading the homes of their seven married kids and an ever-increasing number of grandchildren.
EDD KEY has music directed and acted in such beloved Taproot shows as The Rainmaker, Driving Miss Daisy, Big River, Smoke On The Mountain and Appalachian Christmas Homecoming. Composer/Co-creator credits include, Red Ranger Came Calling for Book-It Repertory Theatre, and Wuthering! Heights! The! Musical! for The Empty Space. He has appeared at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
TYLER TODD KIMMEL is a graduate of Pepperdine University and Florida International University, with degrees in composition and music education. He has worked as a music director in musical theater and opera in Seattle, Miami and Los Angeles. As a composer, he has scored several short films and has had his music featured in the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. In his hometown, Seattle, he teaches voice and piano, and works as a music director, vocal coach and dialect coach for institutions like Village KIDSTAGE, the Hi-liner’s Musical Theater Company and Taproot, and directs the choir and theater programs at Seattle Christian School. You may have seen him on stage at Taproot in Arsenic and Old Lace, Sweet Land, Godspell, as Will in Big Fish, or playing the piano as Schroeder in A Charlie Brown Christmas.
ROB MARTIN has a B.A. in Theatre from Whitworth University and has been working with children in school, theatre, outdoor recreation and childcare environments for over 20 years. He is proud to be sharing the values and joy of theatre through the Acting Studio. Rob is also on faculty at Seattle Children’s Theatre Drama School and is the Director of Improv at Taproot. He teaches theatre to students of all ages, including specialized improv classes for students with Early Stage Memory Loss. As a father of three boys, Rob is using his drama and improv skills in more ways than he ever could have imagined!
KIM MORRIS is thrilled to be back as a teaching artist with Taproot Theatre’s Acting Studio! Kim received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from California State University, Sacramento. She worked at Taproot Theatre from 1983 to 1994 as a Touring Company actress, mainstage actress, director and teaching artist. Now she continues as a free-lance artist with the company, acting, directing and teaching. Kim has been engaging children in theatre, improvisation, creative play and puppetry for over 20 years. She loves sparking their imagination and allowing their creative play and collaboration to bloom and grow. Kim has also written and directed several children’s plays and continues writing from the inspiration the children bring to each of her classes. “There is nothing better than discovery and the fresh creativity only a child can bring as he/she explores the world they’re in.”
TAYLOR NIEMEYER has been a performer and teaching artist in the Seattle area for over eight years. She can be found singing and dancing all over Washington State on stages such as The 5th Avenue Theatre and Village Theatre. She recently performed all over the United States with the national tour of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. A proud member of the Actors Equity Association, Taylor also works as a theater educator with many companies around town. Including Taproot Theatre’s after-school drama program at Madison Middle School in West Seattle. She enjoys sharing her love of theatre, music and dance with people of all ages!
BETH RAINEY is returning for a second summer of camps and fondly remembers working with Taproot production staffs of Big Fish and A Civil War Christmas. She is currently designing curriculum for Pepitas Bilingual Preschool in Lake Forest Park and works as a piano conductor for Kitsap Forest Theater. In the fall, she will return to Music Direct for Broadway Bound Children’s Theater. She loves the diversity of experiences and creativity that theater environments encourage and foster and is excited to work with different age groups!
DAVID ROBY is elated to return to teaching theatre with Taproot after spending a couple of years away having a blast with his new baby boy. David received his Masters in Teaching at Seattle U, his Certificate Degree in Physical Theatre at The Commedia School in Copenhagen, Denmark, and his BA in Theatre at SPU. David is the Drama Director at Nathan Hale High School. David believes strongly in doing what he teaches. So, you may have seen him over the years in roles at Taproot Theatre (Jeeves Intervenes, The Beams Are Creaking, Road Company), Sound Theatre Company, Seattle Musical Theatre, ACT, Annex and StageRight Productions, among others. Your children may have also had David as a teacher in the past at places such as Seattle Children’s Theatre, Stone Soup Theatre, Taproot Theatre or The Moonpaper Tent. All the love to his inspiring son, Flynn, and the best partner in the world Becky.
MARIANNE SAVELL is a professional director, actor and teacher. Recently, Marianne directed Arsenic and Old Lace for TTC and last summer taught classes in comedy and worked with the little ones in Adventures in Drama. Marianne was the head of the MFA Acting program at Regent University and the BFA Acting program at Belhaven University. As an actor, she most recently performed in A Civil War Christmas at TTC and tours The Amish Project. Marianne is a member of Actor’s Equity, SAG-AFTRA and SDC.
CLAIRE SCHUTTLER is a Seattle native with a degree in acting from Azusa Pacific University. She started out as a teaching intern at Taproot Theatre and has since been an assistant teacher for summer camps. Additionally, she just finished her second year on Taproot’s Road Company where she traveled all over the NW and Iowa doing bullying prevention plays at schools. Claire is very excited to be teaching again this summer. Art education is life education.
DANIEL STOLTENBERG has taught theatre in Seattle since 2013, working with Bainbridge Performing Arts, Stage Struck and Taproot Theatre to inspire the next generation. He firmly believes everyone can benefit from the emotional, social and collaborative skills of making theatre, regardless of whether a student will pursue it as a hobby or profession later in life. In addition to teaching theatre, Daniel also acts professionally, designs board games and is knee-deep in writing lyrics for a musical. He loves the process of creating a show in just five days and is always amazed by the strides his students take during that span of time.