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.

SHANI COLLINS-ACHILLE A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Shani studied as a young dancer at The Greensboro Ballet, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Urban Bush Women's Summer Institute, and received a high school diploma from The North Carolina School of the Arts. She has choreographed and performed in the New York City Off-Broadway production of "The Vagina Monologues" at New World Stages and has participated as a choreographer in the Lincoln Center Director's Lab. Shani is crowned a “Contemporary Revolutionary” by Lax Thomas in The Studio Museum Harlem Summer Magazine and featured in Dance Magazine as "Warrior Woman" by Eva Yaa Assentawa, who says, “It’s a sure bet that when she takes the stage, she will deliver not only the movement, but the core, the bedrock, the very meaning and spirit of a dance.”

JANNATHA COFFIN Jannatha started teaching piano and dance lessons in her town when she was 15 years old and performed in her first musical theatre production at the age of 12. She received her B.A. in theatre from Florida State University, where she performed in many diverse projects such as mystery dinner theater, opera, stage and films. While at FSU, she had the great privilege of studying with the legendary director Jose Quintero, among other professionals from New York and Los Angeles. Jannatha continued her studies at Emerson College, where she earned an M.A. in theatre education in 2002. At Emerson, she specialized in playmaking for young people and self-scripting. Her thesis project was a self-scripted piece that was workshopped with Whoopi Goldberg. Janna plays piano, flute, bells and xylophone in addition to singing various styles from classical to pop. She has directed, musical directed and choreographed several productions for both children and adults. Jannatha particularly enjoys teaching piano to young beginners as well as providing coaching to musical theatre students of all ages. She currently sings throughout New England in the vocal/guitar duo January Station with her partner, James Gaudette.

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.

MARYBETH "MB" DEKARA MaryBeth is so excited to be teaching at the Hanover Conservatory! MB holds a bachelors degree in Fine and Performing Arts from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and a masters degree in Theatre in Education from Emerson College. She has worked as a professional actor, arts administrator and instructor since 2003 in North Carolina, New York and Massachusetts. Joining the Boston comedy world by way of the Tribe Theater's “Sea Mission: Aquanauts Prime” in 2006, MB has been performing on various teams for over a decade. At ImprovBoston, she previously held the positions of assistant to the managing director and producer of the Boston Comedy Arts Festival. MB has been a cast member and instructor at ImprovBoston since 2009. She currently performs with the ImprovBoston National Touring Company and a Harold team called "Stockton.”

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.         
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.

BRITTANY KALOUDIS Brittany started dancing, and falling in love with the arts, when she was two years old, growing up training in hip hop, acrobatics, ballet, jazz, Contemporary, modern, improv and especially tap. She travelled to conventions and competitions every weekend to consistently grow and learn. Brittany started to choreograph and stage pieces at 11 years old and always had a need to share her creativity with others. She trained with Boston Community Dance Project, performed all over New England and New York, traveled to Los Angeles for training, and performed in music videos. Brittany has worked with many tap dancers, such as Sean Fielder from the Boston Tap Company, and will be joining another traveling tap company in 2020. Sharing everything she has learned and discovered to every student she speaks to, helping people develop their craft and showing how movement helps in and out of the studio is her motive every single day.

SARAH-KATARINA (SKOOJ CORE-O) SKooJ brings her knowledge and talents to the performing arts with experience in performance, choreography, instruction and adjudication. She created the Boston Community Dance Project (BCDP), a professional collective expressing their passion of storytelling through contemporary and fusion movements. BCDP’s work can be seen at NYC Dance Week, NYC Carnival, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival and their annual August show. SKooJ is the former Artistic Director of the Boston-based Static Noyze Dance Company (World Of Dance: NYC/NJ Champions and 5x Best Theme Winner), a theatrical hip hop company that has performed for Governor Devaul Patrick, Harvard Business School’s New Venture Competition and colleges throughout the country. Her choreography and direction have been featured on HGTV, NESN, The Dr. Oz Show, WayFair.com commercials and MTV. She has collaborated with TedEX Boston/Philadelphia, New Balance, Broadway in Boston, LA’s own Club Jete, Carnival Choreographer’s Ball Anniversary Show and Salty Bovine Films. In addition, SKooJ travels the country adjudicating for a variety of elite dance competitions. Most recently, SKooJ joined the faculty of Artistic Dance Exchange and assists Brian Friedman at his RADIX Dance Convention classes. SKooJ has choreographed for music videos and concert tours with such artists as Tamara Rodriguez, Erene, Lucia Marie, Makio, Bad Rabbits, Ari B and more! In addition, she recently showcased her acting talent in movies “Basic Math” starring Cameron Diaz, “TED2” with Mark Wahlberg and “Patriots Day.” SKooJ has inspired thousands of movers around the world, and she will continue to mentor the next generation.

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.

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.

JOHN MINIGIN John Minigan has taught theater and Shakespeare to teens and adults for more than 30 years. He has directed over 100 productions in youth and professional theater and taught all levels of acting, as well as Shakespeare, creative writing, and technical theater. Four of his acting students have won the Boston Shakespeare Competition, and numerous students were winners of the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild Acting Scholarship Competition. He also taught at the Huntington Theater’s Young Critics Institute, was associate faculty at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, and has led teacher-training workshops in devised theater, Shakespeare and playwriting. As a playwright, John’s work has been produced throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. He has developed new work with the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, New Repertory Theater, the New American Playwrights Project and Actors’ Repertory Theatre of Vermont. His work has been included in the Best American Short Plays, Best Ten-Minute Short Plays, and New England New Plays anthologies.

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.

MARK MUMMERT  Mark is cantor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Worcester and assistant director / accompanist for the Worcester Chorus. As a professional singer, Mark has performed with the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival, The Worcester Chorus, Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, the Bach Choir Houston, Houston Chamber Choir, CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) and St. John’s Schola Cantorum. Mark has also appeared on stage in “Pirates of Penzance” (Frederick), “Oklahoma” (Will Parker), “Applause” (Dwayne), “Carousel” (Enoch Snow) and “Anything Goes” (Billy). As collaborative pianist, Mark has appeared in concerts with Arlene Auger, Pamela Cooper-White, Deborah Ford, and the vocal studios of Joan Patenaude Yarnell, Robert Grooters, and Jane Shivick. Mark studies voice with Jane Shivick. Artistic management for Mark is provided by Seven Eight Artists.

KENDALL NIBLETT Kendall, a native of Morris, Alabama, obtained his BA in dance and creative writing from the University of Alabama. Kendall is currently dancing with Urbanity Dance Company. He has had many years of extensive dance training through programs such as the University of Alabama, Broadway Dance Center Professional Semester and Acting for Dancers Intensives. Kendall has performed/choreographed with Yonder Contemporary Dance Company at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He traveled to France to perform with Jellybean Dance Collective at the International Fitzgerald Conference. He has also performed with, and assisted many renowned choreographers including Talia Favia, Matthew Fata, Chaz Buzan, Matt Cady, Phil Orsano, Lane Napper and Tom Richardson. Kendall has been featured in numerous festivals such as CREATE, Alabama Dance Festival, Koresh Come Together Festival, Young Choreographers Festival, Dance Alabama, Alabama Repertory Dance Theater and Dance Alabama Film Festival. 

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.

DARCY SCHWARTZ Darcy is the founder ArtReach and created “The Runway Series - The ART of Fashion Program.” She holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, where she majored in painting and printmaking, with a minor in illustration.  She spent four years designing and illustrating sets for local college and community theatre productions, as well as designing and creating costumes for the Johnson County Community Theatre Group.  After working as an artist for Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, she moved to New York, where her theatrical design experience continued with jobs in various fashion design studios throughout the district. Taking a job at Broadway Designs allowed her to broaden her design skills from couture to costume and elevated her from casual sewer to professional seamstress. While working, Darcy attended The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, where she furthered her studies in design and illustration.  She also took continuing education classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Pratt Institute to further her career. She continues to take classes as a part of her professional development. In 2007, Darcy started ArtReach as a fine arts outreach program for preschool and elementary school students. In 2014, she expanded her program and opened her studio in Worcester. Darcy is a member of the NAEA (National Art Educators Association) and the SCBI (Society of Children's Book Illustrators.)

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.

ANDREW SHORO Andrew is a teaching artist who first discovered his love for theater while at Saint John’s High School in Shrewsbury, MA. He received his Bachelors in Musical Theater from Catholic University in Washington DC and returned to Massachusetts to receive his Masters in Theater Education from Emerson College in Boston. With local roots, he completed his student teaching at the Burncoat High Arts Magnet School. He is a firm believer of the idea that a “good” actor is an educated actor, and a well-rounded individual will become a well-rounded performer. He believes that within theater, there is always the opportunity for growth and greater understanding of the craft and that the best method of learning about something is by getting up and doing it! His goal as an educator is to instill in his students the confidence and drive to achieve their ambitions using the intra- and interpersonal skills taught through theater. Andrew’s skills include training in documentary theater, Viewpoints, Alexander and Meisner techniques, Greek Mask work, and stage combat.

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.

 JENNIFER WEBB Jennifer is a teacher, performer, director and choreographer throughout New England. She spent the past 15 years developing a full and dynamic acting and movement curriculum that focuses on the techniques of Stanislavsky, Meisner, Laban and Uta Hagen. Jennifer has been recognized by many organizations for her work in the performing arts. In 2018, she received the Motif Award (Rhode Island) for Best Choreography in A Chorus Line, EMACT Award for her work in Nice Work If You Can Get It and the Moss Hart Division Award for her direction of Picnic and The Outsiders. Jennifer appeared in both the national and European tours of A Chorus Line with Tony Garza and Lois Englund, where she played Bebe and Diana Morales. Additionally, Jennifer holds positions on executive advisory boards for various theatres, developing programming and coordinating professional development workshops. Most recently, Jennifer has been working as a teaching artist at The Stadium Theater in Rhode Island, where she has choreographed productions of A Chorus Line, Tarzan, A Christmas Carol and Shrek. Other credits include Kate in Dancing at Lughnasa with the Barre Players, Miss Forsythe in Death of a Salesman with Vokes Players and Midget in Nice Work If You Can Get It with the Savoyard Light Opera Company.