Sherri Ansley currently works as the Theatre Arts Director for Garland ISD teaching middle school. She has taught kindergarten through high school in the public school system for sixteen years and has taught private theatre, acting, film, TV, and commercial skills since 1994. Sherri graduated Magna Cum Laude and Lambda Pi Eta from the University of North Texas with her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and minor in Radio, Television, and Film.
She has worked in the private community, working for institutions such as the Dallas Community College District, Plano Parks and Recreation, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Rover Dramawerks, Allen’s Community Theatre, professional theatre companies and private studios teaching theatre and commercial film classes, as well as acting, improv, directing, and stage management workshops to children and adults. She has worked with educational outreach programs, developed arts management curriculum, and constructed and participated in many successful year-long and summer film and theatre programs. Sherri has worked for the North East Independent School District in San Antonio, the Lewisville ISD, the University of North Texas, and Garland ISD.
A professional actor, director, and producer, Sherri has more than one hundred plays to her credit along with dozens of films, commercials, industrials, and print work. She is the recipient of numerous acting awards for both film and stage. Her directing and producing credits include documentaries, film and stage plays working with professional children and adults as well as community and school productions. She has worked for such companies as KERA Public Broadcasting System, Kodak, Bravo and The Independent Film Channel, Taco Cabana, Disney, Sea World of Texas, USAA, HEB, and Aramark, to name a few.
As a Theatre Arts Director, Sherri has directed dozens and dozens of student musicals productions, plays, UIL one-act plays, and showcases that include student talent in scripted scenes, productions, and IMPROV.
A passionate believer in the continuing education process, Sherri pursues her higher education goals as well as takes private classes to improve her craft. She has studied with the Tony Award winning actress Betty Buckley (CATS, Eight is Enough), film producer Marc Hirshfield, director Richard Linklater (Boyhood), and comedienne Laurie Guzda (Second City Chicago).
Penny Chinn attended Butler College and Emporia State University in KS where she studied Musical Theatre. She has performed in several shows at ACT and other theatre's in the area. Penny has co-directed and choreographed several Children's shows at FUMC Allen. Penny loves working with children and during the school year teaches preschool at Children's Creative Playday.
Robin Daffinee Coulonge has been working professionally in theatre since 1990. She graduated from UNT with a BA in theatre in 1992, where she acted in many plays and did every kind of backstage job possible. From there she went on to be a wig & make-up artist at Dallas Opera and many other Opera and Theatre companies around the country. In 1998 she got married to a wonderful man (Alex) and had two beautiful kids, (Lexy & Quinton). After 15 years of backstage work she decided to get back to her dream of being an actress. Getting back to acting has taken her to Rockwall in their production of A Piece Of My Heart and Rowlett's Female Odd Couple. She has been seen at Rover Dramawerks in Shakespeare in Hollywood as Puck (her favorite role to date!) and in Pocket Sandwich’s Dixie Swim Club and Allen’s Community Theatre’s Girl Talk and as Aunt Bella in RTC’s Lost in Yonkers just to name a few. She is currently the education director at ACT and has helped start several youth programs for acting around the DFW area. She LOVES sharing her talents with youth and helping everyone grow and become the best they can be. To continue getting better herself she has most recently taken the Meisner class at Watertower Theatre. She has directed every season at ACT from the start, has directed in several other companies around town and has been directing kids in church and school plays for the past 10 years.
Melissa Hartman Couture was born in Dallas Texas and knew from age 6 that show business was where she wanted to be - the proof being that she put on shows for the neighbors and charged them a dime to come see her singing, tap dancing and performing skits! She began taking piano at age 9 and soon discovered she had composition skills. Her teacher entered her songs into city and state contests in which she won 1st place several years in a row. Melissa began acting in her church musicals at age 10 and fell in love with musical theater! She continued acting through high school and decided to major in theater at the University of Oklahoma where she received a BFA in acting with a minor in Piano. After college Melissa got a singing and acting job at Hersheypark Pennsylvania where her professional performing life began. After her summer at Hersheypark she landed the job as the lead singer at Woodlock Pines resort in the Poconos for the next year. When her contract was over Melissa took the big leap and moved to the big apple where her 12 year adventure began. Melissa was lucky enough to land some off-Broadway roles - one of which she got to originate - which was Schoolhouse Rock Live! She also originated the role as Betty Lou Spence in The It Girl when it was in its workshop stages. Melissa also got to Sing and dance aboard a Holland America cruise ship, perform as a magician’s assistant in Seoul South Korea, and perform in The Buddy Holly Story in Reno Nevada at a casino hotel.
But during her experience in New York City she was introduced to teaching and fell in love with this profession. It began with Gymboree play & music - working toddlers and parents - which then led to getting her Montessori training certificate to be a lead teacher in the Park West Montessori school. While teaching Montessori she discovered they needed a music teacher and served as the music teacher for the entire school . After four years of Montessori teaching Melissa moved back to Dallas Texas, got married and began teaching music and drama at dozens of Montessori schools across the area. This led to teaching and directing kids’ shows at Word -of-Mouth productions and Art Center Theater in Plano. She loved teaching so much that she also began teaching private piano, voice acting and tap dancing at several different studios. Melissa recently got her masters of arts in teaching from Texas Woman's University and is now happily teaching musical theater classes at ACT in Allen. Melissa also still loves to perform and has done dozens of plays and musicals since moving to Dallas as well as several commercials through her agent at Core Talent.
Debbie DeGroot Deverich has been 'doing musical theater' for as long as she can remember! Having grown up in a musical family it was a natural segue from singing to acquire a Bachelor's degree in Education from Baylor with teaching fields in Music, Theatre and English. After she taught high school a few years she transitioned to elementary and taught music at Marion Elementary here in Allen for 10 years. She now serves as a school counselor in Little Elm, teaches private piano lessons and is a praise team vocalist at FBC Allen. You may occasionally catch her in a show around town as well!
Gena Graham is the President and Founder of Allen's Community Theatre and is the interim Education Director, . She has been active in theatre for over thirty years, both on and off the stage. She has taught theatre to the under 18 crowd, and directed all ages, including many shows at ACT. the new Education Director,
Leigh Wyatt Moore grew up in Dallas and attended The University of Texas where she received her Bachelors in Theatre Production with a concentration in Acting. She has performed steadily the past few years with Allen’s Community Theatre, The Core Theatre, Firehouse Theatre and Richardson Theatre Centre. Some of her favorite roles include Chelsea in On Golden Pond, Jacqueline in Don’t Dress for Dinner, Charlotte in Moon Over Buffalo, Vernadette in The Dixie Swim Club, Hattie in Laundry and Bourbon, Truvy in Steel Magnolias, The Duchess in You Can’t Take it with You, and Romaine in Witness for the Prosecution. She has also directed shows for Lunatic Theatre Company, The Core Theatre and Allen's Community Theatre. She is a founding member and the Artistic Director of Lunatic Theatre Company.
She lives in Richardson with her husband Mark and three kids, Madison, Wyatt and Elizabeth. She and her husband are very active with their kids and the band program at Berkner High School where all 3 are involved.
John Pszyk discovered his gift for teaching at age of 22 when one of his professors asked him to develop and teach an acting workshop for local high schools. Since then he has gone on to become a respected acting teacher and coach. John holds a MFA in Theatre from the University of Iowa, and a BA in Theatre from Barry University in Miami Shores, FL. He also has studied at Southern Methodist University and Regents University in London, England. Among the notable acting instructors John has studied with include Bob Levin, Eric Forsythe, and in the Meisner Technique with Trish Hawkins and as lead assistant to Terry Martin. John has over 50 production credits and has worked professionally in the regional theatre stage, New York City, locally in DFW, has numerous commercial credits, is active as a Voice-Over artist with IFL and works as a freelance Voice-Over artist. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Collin College, and The Arts Institute of Dallas.