The two theatre and dance areas of the Tennessee Arts Academy combine practical and creative elements to expand the teacher's ability to interpret curriculum in exciting new ways. Instructors from around the country use their expertise to help TAA participants enhance their skills and renew their enthusiasm for teaching. In addition to the theatre and dance sessions, all participants attend performances, musings, interludes, and special events, with plenty of time built in for networking and reflection.
Sindy Isabel Castro is a theatre maker and educator. She is cofounder of Jugando N Play, a theatre for young audiences. She graduated from the City University of New York and was awarded a distinguished thesis honorable mention from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) for her thesis “¡BE PREBEARED! TEATRO EN EDUCACIÓN—THEATRE IN EDUCATION.” Castro is a Lab Works artist at the New Victory Theater for2022–2023, an ensemble member of Emit Theatre, and a board member of the AATE.Castro is a teaching artist with Lincoln Center Theater, New York City Children’s Theater, the People’s Theatre Project, and Arts Connection in New York City. She is a mentor through the Arthur Miller Foundation and AATE. Castro strives to use theatre to create multilingual and multicultural spaces where young people are empowered to embrace their home languages and cultures. Her essay “A Translanguaging Stance on Theatre Education” was published in the book Applied Theatre with Youth: Education, Engagement, Activism in 2021.
Penelope Caywood teaches and directs at the University of Utah, where she is the artistic director of the youth theatre program. Youth Theatre is a Kennedy Center Partners in Education organization and provides multiple theatre and music residencies in elementary schools. It also provides professional development workshops for classroom teachers on arts integration, primarily in the Salt Lake City School District. Caywood has also lectured and presented her work across the state and in California, Florida, and Washington, DC. With her award-winning high school conservatory, she devises and creates new work every year. For the past eleven years, she has directed and choreographed Salt Lake Acting Company’s Theatre for Young Audience productions. She is the advocacy chair for Utah Advisory Council for Theatre Teachers and is on the board of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. She was recently named the Utah Division of Arts and Museums Performing Arts Fellow for 2022.
Missy Lilje earned degrees in dance from the University of Michigan and from Arizona State University. She has performed the works of Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Paul Taylor, David Dorfman, Peter Sparling, Mark Haim, and more. She has choreographed more than thirty works for the contemporary concert stage, musical theatre productions, and children’s concerts. Lilje’s research on dance communities and how they relate to business practice was published in 2008. She regularly travels to present this work throughout the United States and in Europe. She is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Theatre at Michigan State University. For the past twenty-four years she has worked as artistic director and CEO for Happendance, a nonprofit dance education organization. In 2016 Lilje was elected to the board of education for the Lansing School District. She also enjoys serving as a special education paraprofessional at the Ingham Intermediate School District while studying to become a certified teacher.
Kristin Hunt is the assistant director of theatre in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre at Arizona State University. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in theatre at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. As an interdisciplinary theatre researcher and practitioner, her research interests include the adaptation of ancient and classical performance modes in contemporary contexts, performance as activism, food in or as performance, and performance-based pedagogy. Her pedagogical practice focuses on applied theatre, theatre in education, theatre for social justice, and experimental performance. Her coauthored book, Drama and Education: Performance Methodologies for Teaching and Learning, was published by Routledge in 2015. Her translations and adaptations of Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck and August Strindberg’s Miss Julie were featured at the 2015 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space.
Renee Redding Jones is a movement professional. She teaches movement for actors and dancers and is a certified movement analyst, choreographer, contemplative psychotherapist, registered yoga teacher, and a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award–winning performer. As a teacher and choreographer, she currently works at the Atlantic Acting School and in the Classical Studio at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In addition to the drama department, Jones has served as an assistant professor in the dance department. In 2020, through the Tisch School of the Arts, she was nominated for the prestigious David Payne-Carter Award for Teaching Excellence. She earned a degree in dance from Sarah Lawrence College, a degree in physical education and dance from Morgan State University, and certification as a contemplative psychotherapist through the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science. Blending her skills in the arts and advocacy, Jones is an intimacy director and a teaching artist for Intimacy Directors and Coordinators.
Tyson Kaup is the founder and artistic director of the Performing Arts Company of Walla Walla and the president of Walla Walla Summer Theater. His recent directing credits include 9 to 5, Annie, The Rocky Horror Show, and Cabaret. Kaup’s producing credits include the New York City world premiere of Turtleback High by Kevin Dedes; the feature films March!, Solitary Child, and My Last Day with You; and many music videos and commercial productions. Kaup has performed on film and television, in Off-Broadway shows, and in many regional theatres around the country. His on-screen credits include Trouble Is, After Hours, The Snakehead, and 30 Rock. Favorite stage roles include Tennessee in Yank! at the York Theatre in New York City, Matt in Red Light Winter at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, and Andy in the national tour of Highlights for Children. Kaup is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied with the Atlantic Theater Company.