Faculty and staff

JENNIFER AGBAY Jennifer is the celebrated director and founder of the Ballet Arts Worcester whose production of the Nutcracker graces the stage at The Hanover Theatre each November.  She received a Bachelor of Science in Dance and Dance Education from New York University.  While in New York City, Jennifer worked with several professional companies including The Washington Square Repertory Dance Company and the New York City based “Ballet for Young Audiences.”  She was the director of dance at the Performing Arts School of Worcester, directed the Worcester Youth Ballet Company and choreographed all school productions including the Nutcracker.  While at PASOW, Jennifer founded and directed Company X, created for professional dancers.  Jennifer has served on faculty at the Boston Ballet School and has been invited to teach at the school’s Young Dancers Summer Workshop in past summers. She has also taught and choreographed in various private and public schools and as well as Assumption College.  She was the former Artistic Director and Upper School Coordinator at Dance It Up! Dance Center in Grafton, as well as B.F. Brown Arts Vision Middle School in Fitchburg, MA and has served as one of Lincoln Center’s National Educators.  She has been a dance instructor and choreographer for The Hanover Theatre’s Youth Summer Program since its inception.  She was selected by The Pulse Magazine as one of Worcester’s 25 to watch in 2005.

JOANNE BUYNISKI Joanne began her costuming career by making Halloween costumes for her daughters. In fact, it was while costuming shows for her daughter’s theatrical productions that she discovered her passion for costume design and construction.  When her family moved to Massachusetts in 2000, she began volunteering as a costumer at Worcester Academy and has since costumed 70+ shows for both their middle and upper schools.  Her favorites include Shakespeare in Hollywood, Cabaret, The Mikado, Urinetown, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Miser, The Imaginary Invalid, and Metamorphoses, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Love for Three Oranges, and Sideways Stories from Wayside School.  Once Joanne began teaching costume design and construction full time for Worcester Academy, she was able to take some very talented and dedicated students along with her on the joyful ride from initial sketch to finished costume.  She has taught students of all ages how to sew, fit, combine colors and textures, and collaborate with set and lighting designers and directors.  Joanne is particularly passionate about the psychology of clothing (why do we wear the clothes we wear every day?) and the history of dress by decade (especially the Victorian era and the 1930s).  She also enjoys exploring traditional Japanese dress, the fabrics of Africa, and – most recently – neoprene and digitally-printed fabrics.

ISSA COULIBALY A master djembe drummer, originally from Mali, West Africa, Issa began studying the djembe and djun djun when he was 11 years old.  Issa earned a reputation as a vocalist and mesmerizing performer while touring Africa and Europe before coming to the United States.  He continues to travel from Maine to Puerto Rico facilitating retreats and performing as the lead drummer and musical director for a variety of African dance troupes, including Crocodile River Music’s troupe, Didakan.  Issa’s performances, workshops, residencies, and drum circles are educational and fun for musicians of any age and range of experience.

DAVID DUBOIS David began his formal dance training in high school at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts (PCCA) in St. Petersburg, Florida.  During that time David competed in the Youth America Grand Prix in Boca Raton, Florida and was awarded 1st place in modern dance.  Upon graduation, David attended the Boston Conservatory where he studied with Luis Fuentes, Laszlo Berdo, Sean Curran and Daniel Pelzig.  David began his professional career in 2003 with Jose Mateo’s Ballet Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  There he had the opportunity to dance many roles including Cavalier in Mr. Mateo’s “Nutcracker” and many principal roles in Mr. Mateo’s original works.  David joined the Island Moving Company in Newport, Rhode Island in the Spring of 2007, where he had the opportunity to work with many choreographers including Colin Conner, Scott Putman, Colleen Cavanaugh, Kelly Ann Sloan and Monica Bill Barnes.  He originated the title role in Miki Ohlsen’s critically- acclaimed “Dracula,”  David has worked as a principal guest artist at Providence Ballet Theatre, Connecticut Concert Ballet, Spindle City Ballet and the Patrick Notaro Dance Project. He also participated in the 2010 and 2011 Sibiu International Ballet and Contemporary Dance Competition as a non-competing partner with his wife Kristy Anne DuBois.  David joined American Repertory Ballet for its 2011-2012 season.  While with American Repertory Ballet, David most notably danced the title role of “Romeo” in Artistic Director Douglas Martin’s realization of the ballet "Romeo & Juliet."  David re-joined Jose Mateo’s Ballet Theatre in the Fall of 2012, where he enjoyed dancing many principle roles along side his wife.  David has been dancing in Rhode Island with Festival Ballet Providence since 2015 and has danced in a vast range of classical and contemporary works including Von Rothbart in Mihailo Djuric’s “Swan Lake” and Balanchine’s “Allegro Brilliante.”  He has been teaching both ballet and modern for as long as he has been dancing professionally and finds great fulfillment in passing along his joy and knowledge of dancing to his students.

SHARON HART Sharon has been involved in Theatre for most of her life.  She is an actor, playwright, educator, and director.  She has trained and performed in Los Angeles, Seattle, Northampton and Boston.  She holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Masters of Art in Theatre Education from Emerson College.   She has taught at Wheelock Family Theatre, Brookline Adult & Community education as well as with various companies on the West and East Coast.  She is very interested in using Theatre to promote social justice and to empower kids to be their unique selves.     

JACQUELINE HEAD Jacqueline received her B.F.A. degree from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts and holds a Masters degree in Education from Lesley University.  She began her dance training at the age of 3 at Charlotte Klein Dance Centers, where she later became a member of the Dance Company and an assistant dance teacher.  Head has performed in the Boston Ballet and Dance Prism productions of the Nutcracker and in 1992 was a featured dancer in Paramount Picture's School Ties.  While attending N.Y.U., Ms. Head was a member of the Second Avenue Dance Company where she performed in several pieces including the World Premiere of Nonsense with Some Noise by acclaimed choreographer and dancer Ann Reinking.  Other accomplishments include performing for EJM Entertainment and with the New Jersey Red Dogs Dance Team and a member of the Washington Square Repertory Company in New York City.  In 2000, Ms. Head received the Outstanding Choreography Award at the Showbiz Competition for her piece "Happy Phantom.”  Head has taught and choreographed locally since 1997 and enjoys teaching many different levels and genres of dance.  Head was an adjunct professor for Nichols College teaching dance for many years.     

KIM HEYMANN Kim is a trained theatre technician and stage manager from the Boston theatre scene.  She has worked on numerous productions and concerts with Stoneham Theatre, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and Reagle Theatre as a stage manager and lighting technician.  She has worked with theatre educational programs at Stoneham Theatre and Groton School as a production manager, stage management mentor, and has taught workshops in lighting, makeup, and design.  Kim received her Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology with a concentration in Technical Theatre from Fitchburg State University, and a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Emerson College.  She was a two-time semi-finalist in the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival for stage management.  She currently works at North High School in Worcester teaching mathematics. 

J BrownJAMIE IRWIN-BROWN Jamie received her training at the Allegheny Ballet Academy and Boston Ballet with several summers spent studying at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.  She was selected to perform corps de ballet roles in Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker and Swan Lake and was invited to tour in BBII’s production of Snow White.  She went on to dance with Indianapolis Ballet Theatre and the Boston Dance Company where notable roles included the title role in Cinderella, Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen, and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, and Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie and Minkus pas de Trois.  Over the past several years, Ms. Brown has enjoyed sharing her passion as a teacher, choreographer and rehearsal coach for studios throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Her students have established themselves with professional ballet companies, in television and on Broadway, as well as continuing on to major in dance at prestigious universities.

NICK JOYCE Nick’s nearly four decade long career in audio spans the globe as a touring house mixer/monitor engineer/production manager for such artists as Miles Davis, Doctor John, Joe Satriani, Donna Summer and John Scofield.  In addition to his touring repertoire, add such special events as the 1990 Earth Day in Central Park (to an estimated audience over 750,000), the rededication of The Statue of Liberty (with the Boston Pops, July 4, 1986 at Liberty State Park in New Jersey), numerous studio recordings, sporting events and 5 seasons at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee School of Music as audio designer and mixer for their musical theatre program.  He brings his in depth knowledge and expertise of all aspects of audio to The Hanover Theatre Conservatory while starting his 10th year with The Hanover Theatre as the Head of Audio.  He is the audio designer and mixer annually for A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker, as well as the Youth Summer Programs. 

LINNEA LYERLY Linnea holds a B.A. in Vocal Performance/Arts Administration from University of Maryland, College Park.  Since moving to New England in 1998, Lyerly has worked in the Shrewsbury Public Schools as an Extended School Care teacher and Classroom Aide.  She has been a Music Together parent at Pakachoag since 2004 and was so excited about the program and its benefits, that in 2005 she completed the Music Together teacher training.  As the younger of her two children reached elementary school age, Lyerly was happy to be able to continue her involvement with Music Together by joining Pakachoag’s roster of Music Together teachers starting in the Fall of 2010.

KATRINA MCCORMICK Katrina studied ballet at Boston Ballet and Ballet Theatre of Boston.  Katrina performed throughout the region with Ballet Theatre’s Youthworks.  She has performed in The Nutcracker with both Boston Ballet and Ballet Theatre of Boston.  She has acted as Ballet Mistress and Artistic Director of the Nutcracker at a local dance studio.  Katrina is the mother of 3 young children, so she is thrilled to be sharing and teaching her passion of ballet again.

BRIAN MCGINNIS Brian lives, dances, teaches and choreographs in Boston. He began his training at the age of seven in Worcester, Massachusetts with Jo Ann Warren and then resided and danced in New York City for 20 years. He has toured with the companies of Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Elisa Monte Dance, Parsons Dance Company and Buglisi Dance Theatre. He is celebrating his first year as Associate Professor at The Boston Conservatory. Recently he was on faculty at ChiArts and Visceral Dance Center, both in Chicago. He is also a guest choreographer/teacher at The Fine Arts Center in Greenville, South Carolina. Brian has had the opportunity to perform at Jacob’s Pillow, Lincoln Center, The Cultural Center of the Philippines, The Bolshoi Theatre, American Dance Festival, The Joyce Theatre, NYC City Center, The Kennedy Center and The Spoleto Festival, Italy. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from The Juilliard School under the directorship of Benjamin Harkarvy and an Associates Degree in Occupational Science for Massage Therapy from The Swedish Institute, NYC. 

CHARLOTTE MCNUTT Charlotte began her studies of classical ballet in northern Virginia where she had the opportunity to study with many wonderful teachers including Thomas Russell, Edward Caton, Leon Folkine, and Oleg Tupine.  She then went on to study and perform with the National Ballet of Washington, D.C., under Frederick Franklin and Ben Stevenson.  In 1972, she moved to Annapolis, Maryland and became a founding member and dancer with the Ballet Theatre of Annapolis, now Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Maryland’s only professional ballet company.  While performing with BTM, she danced many roles including the DewDrop Fairy, Grandmother, Arabian, Snow, Flowers, and Mother Gigone in the Nutcracker, and created such roles as the lead Temptress in Artistic Director Edward Stewart's 11th Commandment and the mother in Three Faces of Eve.  Other roles include the Queen in Sleeping Beauty and the nurse in Romeo and Juliet.  Charlotte served as School Administrator for the Ballet Theatre of Maryland School and taught there until 2006.  She also worked as Ballet Mistress and Rehearsal Assistant for the Ballet Theatre of Maryland under the direction of the founding Artistic Director, Edward Stewart.  In 2012, she moved to Massachusetts and was excited to be able to share her love for teaching with Ballet Arts Worcester. 

MEGHAN MONTANER  is the director of education at The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts.  In addition to her role in helping to open the 2300-seat Hanover Theatre in 2008 and The Hanover Theatre Conservatory in 2017, Meghan is a trained dancer, singer, and actress.  For 13 years, she was the artistic director, producer, and choreographer for the Grafton High School Theatre Department where she made significant strides in production quality, student involvement and audience participation.  She was the program director and intensives program coach for the Westborough Players Club Children’s Musical Theatre Workshop from 2003-2009 and previously taught classes for the Foothills Theatre Children’s Program.  Meghan’s work with the Worcester Public Schools garnered a Community Partner Award in 2012 and the Goddard Scholars Community Partner Appreciation Award in 2014.  Her ground breaking Adopt-A-School Program, started in 2013, gained national attention for its achievements in incorporating arts into the core curriculum.  Meghan was asked to present the program to the Education and Engagement Forum at the 2014 Broadway League Conference in NYC.  Meghan holds a master’s degree in theatre education from Emerson College where she was awarded the Dean’s Fellowship Award.

Risher ReddickRISHER REDDICK Risher is a theater artist of many stripes with roots in Boston, Chicago and Pittsburgh.  He cut his teeth as an actor in New England, working with many regional theaters including Shakespeare & Company, The American Repertory Theatre and Actors' Shakespeare Project.  From 2007-2012 Risher produced, directed, and acted in plays with his company, Orfeo Group, garnering praise from the Boston Globe and winning three Elliot Norton Awards for outstanding production.  He has taught acting and Shakespeare for theatre companies and universities across the country including Emerson College, UMass Lowell and Northwestern University.  These days Risher works primarily as a director, re-imagining classics and devising new plays both in the professional and academic settings.  In 2014 he led the devising process of a new play, Hymns to Future Tense, with Bricolage Production Company in Pittsburgh, and this summer he starts work on his next original piece, Kickshaws, Cakes & Ale, a theatre banquet and community conversation.  He holds a BFA in acting from Boston University and is currently pursuing his MFA in directing at Northwestern University.

BRENNA ROBINSON Brenna recently graduated from Dean College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance.  While studying at Dean she trained in various styles (contemporary, modern, ballet, jazz, and theater); was given many opportunities to perform (opening number for the Patriots Game); and worked with choreographers like Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp, Julianne O’Brien Pedersen, Christina Berger, William Evans, Todd Shanks, and Robbie Mulrey.  Brenna also studied at Broadway Dance Center under their Summer Professional Semester Program (2015). There she concentrated in commercial dance (jazz and contemporary); furthered her training and artistry; and performed in works by Derek Mitchell and Zanza Steinberg.  Currently, Brenna is a professional dancer, choreographer, and teacher. As a member of Urbanity Dance Company, she works with choreographers such as Betsi Graves and Marcus Schulkind; performs in various shows throughout the season; and visits schools with the non-profit organization Young Audiences of Massachusetts.  She also choreographs and teaches contemporary at various studios including Urbanity Dance, Paula Coffey Dance Center, and the Hanover Theatre Conservatory for the Performing Arts.  While immerging herself in the dance world, she continues her interest in the potential of new movement and how improvisation and communication connects. 

KELLY ROURKE Kelly is the education assistant at The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts.  To her work, Kelly brings a love for the performing arts fostered over the course of 13 years spent studying classical ballet.  She began her training at The Performing Arts School of Worcester and continued her studies at Ballet Arts Worcester.  Kelly has been fortunate enough to work with esteemed instructors and choreographers including Madame Gabriela Darvash, Oleg Briansky, Danita Emma, Christopher Hird, Jolanta Valeikaite, and Jennifer Agbay.  In addition, Kelly is a licensed Zumba Fitness instructor and teaches classes in the Central MA area.  She holds a BA from Clark University and is currently a candidate for Master of Business Administration at Clark’s Graduate School of Management.

BRENDA SHEPARD Brenda has been the House Lighting Designer and Head Electrician at The Hanover Theatre since 2008.  Having been bit by the lighting bug in college, Brenda earned her BA from UMass Amherst in Communications with a minor in English as well as an unofficial minor in Theatre.  She obtained her masters in Broadcast Production at Boston University.  Over the years, she’s created designs for corporate events in arenas and theatres across the region, designed for numerous dance concerts, busked more music shows than she can count and even did a play in a crazy barn with barely enough power to turn on 6 lights at any given time.  Brenda has also taught for the Smith College Theatre Department as the Lighting Supervisor.  After graduate school, still hooked on lights, she became a Systems Integrator for Barbizon.  She designed the lighting and rigging systems for the new Boston Catholic Television studios, designed and installed an energy retrofit project for the Boston Opera House and created the lighting systems packages for MASS MOCA out in North Adams.  After many years with Barbizon, the stage beckoned her back and she found her new home at Hanover Theatre.  She looks forward to acting as a mentor to new students and helping them to develop their eye in the art of lighting.  

JANE SHIVICK, an accomplished singer, is equally at home in opera, oratorio, concert, and recital. She is a frequent soloist with Maestro Keith Lockhart & the Boston Pops Orchestra as well as with the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra. As a National Winner in the renowned Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Ms. Shivick was awarded a debut performance and NPR broadcast with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra under the baton of Sir Charles MacKerras.  She has furthered her vocal studies at the Aspen Music Festival as a member of the Aspen Opera Theater Center and toured with Sherrill Milnes and Friends as a member of the V.O.I.C.Experience Program in Orlando, FL which brought the first opera outreach program to Walt Disney World (Epcot). Ms. Shivick has been teaching privately for several years and has served on adjunct faculty and staff at Assumption College and Clark University. Her students continue to be accepted to some of the most prestigious vocal performance and musical theatre programs in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to participating in regional opera companies, professional choruses, theatre festivals, and college & youth theatre production companies. She is a graduate of Assumption College and has furthered her studies at The Hartt School. Please visit Ms. Shivick’s website at www.janeshivick.com to learn more about her upcoming performances and teaching.

ANA LUISA THOMPSON-KONOPKA A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Ana Luisa graduated from the Maria Olenewa State School of Dance, the official School of the Theatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro.  The Olenewa School is internationally recognized, with graduates performing in major Ballet Companies throughout the world.  While a student there, Ms. Thompson-Konopka was chosen to perform in Coppelia and La Sylphide with the Company of Theatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro.  She also danced professionally with the Brazilian Modern Dance Company, Companhia de Danca Rio.  Thompson-Konopka served on the faculty at the Performing Arts School of Worcester from 1998 until 2004 where she was a former Ballet Mistress, Assistant Director and Director of Curriculum working under the direction of several known names as Dierdre Miles-Burger and Richard Rein. She choreographed ballet, modern and contemporary pieces for the Worcester Youth Ballet Company and PASOW’s The Nutcracker. Thompson-Konopka has performed in numerous productions of The Nutcracker; she was guest artist with the Melrose Youth Ballet, Dance It Up and PASOW’s since 1997 dancing the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen, Arabian Princess and Spanish Soloist.  Thompson-Konopka has completed the DAVID HOWARD Intensive Dance Seminar for Teachers in 2000 and participated in Boston Ballet’s Adult Summer Camp.  She has been the Ballet Mistress at Ballet Arts Worcester for many years.

DENNIS TRAINOR Dennis is an actor, writer, director, and documentary film producer.  Greater Boston Theatre acting credits include roles at Speakeasy Stage, Gloucester Stage, New Repertory, Company One, Lyric Stage, Foothills Theatre, and The Publick.  He served as the Founding Artistic Director of the New York-based Rude Mechanicals Theatre Company, where he produced ten productions including Largo Desolato, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Endgame.  Playwrighting credits include the plays I Coulda Been a Kennedy (NYC Fringe Fest) and Plug (Rude Mechanicals), and an independently produced T.V. pilot: Consenting Adults. For TV, he served as producer, writer, and the host of Acronym TV (Free Speech TV Network) for three seasons and he has produced, directed and written three documentary films: Manifest Destiny’s Child, American Autumn: an Occudoc, and Legalize Democracy.  Op-eds and other writing have been published by Salon.com, Huffington Post, Truth Dig, among others. Member AEA.

KAI TSHIKOSI Kai holds a B.A. in Acting and Stage Combat from Emerson College. A Boston based actor, fight choreographer and teaching artist, he recently appeared as Tybalt in Commonwealth Shakespeare Company's production of "Romeo and Juliet" on the Boston Common, as well as on a multitude of Boston area stages with Actors' Shakespeare Project, Boston Playwrights' Theater, Company One, Brown Box Theatre Project and others. He has taught stage combat and Shakespeare for theatre companies, schools and universities across the Greater Boston region, including Emerson College's Pre-College Summer Program. A passionate soccer fan and massive Shakespeare nerd, he is also a certified actor combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors, and has earned recommended passes in a number of Stage Combat Weapon Proficiency Tests, also with the SAFD. Kai is beyond excited to join The Hanover Theatre Conservatory team and pass along a safe and exciting toolbox of techniques and illusions to a new generation of performers and students!

ED WIERZBICKI Since his first performance in a fourth grade play about the power of reading for National Book Week, Ed has been hooked on acting and theatre.  A seasoned arts educator, theatre director, and television producer, this two-time Emmy® Award winner is deeply interested in how creativity and culture enrich our lives—especially those of young people.  He currently teaches and directs in the Theatre Department at Central Connecticut State University and The Center for New Media at Middlesex Community College.  Ed has also taught at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, the Walnut Hill School for the Arts (Natick), and at Naugatuck Valley College (Waterbury, CT) where he received the President’s Merit Award-winner as Distinguished Teacher.  As both a director and actor, Ed’s professional work has been seen on stages at the New York International Fringe Festival, Seven Angels Theatre, Hartford Stage, San Jose Rep, California Young People’s Theatre, Illustrated Stage, and Theatre Center Philadelphia.  The former Artistic Director of the New Zenith Theatre, Ed led this Connecticut theatre for young audiences for ten seasons; bringing innovative stagings to both new works and children’s classics, including several New England premieres.  Ed also writes and produces for Connecticut Public Broadcasting, and his arts segments have appeared nationally on various PBS stations.  Ed received his training in acting, theatre, filmmaking, and arts education at Boston University and Marquette University (MS, BFA).