Our program features engaging content for theatre-lovers of all ages. Delve deep into the craft through private classes, group acting courses, live virtual classroom experiences, and master classes on a variety of subjects. Please note that due to COVID-19, all of our programming is virtual.
Kate Laissle (Acting Grades K-2) is the Associate Director of Education at Syracuse Stage. During her tenure, she started the Young Adult Council, Education Advocacy Board, and facilitated the Young Playwrights Festival and the first Sensory Friendly Theatre Performance in Central New York. She is the driving force behind Theatre for the Very Young: an interactive theatre for children under the age of five that tours to different locations. Kate is a teaching artist for the “Summer at Stage Theatre Experience”, working with middle school students to perform Shakespeare. Passionate about Theatre for Young Audiences, she founded the Tiny Giants Theatre Company that toured several children’s theatre shows through southeast Ohio. Previous work experience includes Lookingglass Theatre Company, Studio Be, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre Production Technology and Design as well as a M.Ed. in Critical and Cultural Studies in Education from Ohio University.
MiKayla Hawkinson (Makeup Classes) is the Community Engagement and Education Specialist at Syracuse Stage. A Syracuse native, she served as the tour manager for Syracuse Stage’s Backstory performance as well as a part of Young Playwrights Festival, the Young Adult Council and educational initiatives at Syracuse Stage. In addition she is builds the Education program’s social media platforms and YouTube Channel, as well as creates and edits video content connected to Education initiatives. She holds a BA in Communications: Concentration in Television and Film, Minor in Psychology with an emphasis on communication disorders and social experimentation from Marymount Manhattan College. Previously she worked as a teaching assistant for OCM BOCES. MiKayla is invested in enriching the minds of Syracuse’s youth community and building programs with children that derive from difficult environments. MiKayla grew up in the performing arts community of Syracuse where she studied singing, dancing, and cello. She freelances for social media, creative directing and makeup artistry.
Esther Banegas Gatica (Acting Grades 3-5) was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. She is a graduate of Teatro Prometeo Acting Conservatory in Theatre Arts at Miami Dade College. She trained in Rasa Boxes, playwriting and performed for the International Hispanic Theatre Festival of Miami. She received her Bachelor's in Fine Arts from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she also taught with Clark Youth Theater. Esther is completely bi-lingual, has worked in movement theatre, devised theatre and has written and directed theatre for youth. Currently she is a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of California, Riverside.
served for several years as head of the educational outreach circle of the C2C in Los Angeles. Her work culminated in acting as the Head of Drama at Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary where she was able to serve the community of Montebello, California as both a Teaching Artist and director of shows for the high school as well as the Children's Summer Stage program hosted through CSHM. She currently works in collaboration with Syracuse Stage with their Summer Youth Theatre Experience and is available for consultation and coaching nationwide.
(Acting Grades 9-12) was born and raised in Connecticut by Jamaican parents. His love of storytelling began backstage in his high school theater, building sets and designing lights before eventually stepping onstage as an actor. He also explored his love of music by learning how to play the saxophone, guitar, and percussion. After high school, he went on to earn a BFA in Acting at Boston University, then moved to NYC and worked as a professional actor and teacher. He has worked with the Lincoln Center Institute, ArtsGenesis, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, and travels the country with JazzReach, educating students on the history of jazz music. He is featured in an AT&T commercial with Paul Reiser and premiered his one-man-show, “The Lost Mohegan” at the Sopa Americana Festival in Brazil. His experiences acting in TV and film sparked a desire to get behind the camera as well. He has written several feature scripts and TV pilots, as well as directed over 30 short films and 3 web series. Beresford’s voice can be heard in national commercials for Nike, Fed-Ex, Miller, Nick at Night, and the video games Mafia III and Grand Theft Auto V. He has narrated over 70 audiobooks including “We Were Eight Years in Power” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Zone One” by Colson Whitehead, “Proving Einstein Right” by S. James Gates and “The Gift of Fire” by Walter Mosley. Beresford currently lives in Los Angeles where he has worked for Greenway Arts Alliance, Theatre 360, and Center for the Cinematic Arts.
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