Teaching Artist Community

The Chicago Children’s Theatre Teaching Artist Community is comprised of professional, Chicago-based artists, actors, filmmakers, storytellers, dancers, singers, painters, sculptors, designers, and costumers devoted to theatre making, creative education, and courageous play. Register for Classes.


Kiah Amara originally from the cornfields of Illinois, Kiah began teaching in 2009, working with students of all ages and abilities.  She has taught a wide variety of subjects from meditation and yoga to theatre dance and acting the song. A recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, BFA performance/psychology/education, Kiah values teaching from a well-rounded perspective. Her passion lies in her artistic IDEA – inclusion, discovery, exploration, and accessibility – creating learning environments that foster growth and community in a safe, loving space!


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Katy Boza is thrilled to be part of the amazing teaching team at The Station. She received her BA in Theatre from Missouri State University and is the Co-Artistic Director of Neverbird Project: a Chicago based Deaf/hearing youth theatre company. She is also a teaching artist with Raven Theatre, Adventure Stage, and Lookingglass Theatre.


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Time Brickey is a tap dancer, singer, and entertainer from Chicago. He is a graduate of Millikin University’s School of Music and an Apprentice Member of M.A.D.D. Rhythms. Time received his initial tap and theatrical training from Studio BE, under the direction of Tamara Drew. From there he received training from Reggio McLaughlin, and then Tristan Bruns of M.A.D.D. Rhythms, where Time is now finishing his professional training. Additionally, Time has performed with the Chicago Human Rhythm Project in Dance for Life Chicago, and as a soloist at the Billy Strayhorn centennial, where he was described by the Chicago Tribune as a “Literal Loose Cannon.” As well as performing, Time has composed, arranged, and choreographed for his own various projects and productions.


Liz Chidester is a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter and actor from Virginia. Liz teaches at the Old Town School of Folk Music as a summer camp songwriting teacher for 7-11yrs and teens, and as an adult ukulele teacher. She worked with the Youth Guidance program at Ravenswood Elementary, and continues to work with Ravenswood Elementary as a ukulele teacher to K-2nd through the Columbia College Community Arts Partnerships Program. She also teaches private ukulele, piano, and a 4-5yr old “Uku-lala” class at Sherwood Music School. She is so excited to sing Campfire Songs with CCT!


Thom Cox has been teaching theatre and storytelling to students ranging in age from tots to teachers for over thirty years. He also acts with theatre companies like Lookingglass, Court, Northlight, Gift, House, and others. He is an ensemble member and the Master Teacher at Lookingglass Theatre.


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Chicago native, Tre Daniels, has crafted his dynamic and energetic dancing & teaching style from working with numerous crews and organizations throughout Chicago, including FIA Modern and Movement Revolution, and is an alumnus of After School Matters HiDef Dance Ensemble as well as The Happiness Club. He possesses a wide array of street and commercial training, as well as an extensive résumé of battle victories and music video cameos. Tre has worked for Chance the Rapper, Common, and Apres (the UK house artist) and has performed at numerous music and art festivals, including AAHH! Fest, Lollapalooza, and the Wells Street Art Festival.


Nick Davio is a Chicago-based music director, multi-instrumentalist, teaching artist and songwriter who holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Millikin University, with an emphasis in Vocal Performance.  He currently holds teaching artist positions at The Old Town School of Folk Music. Nicholas also served as the rehearsal guitarist for the Chicago production of Million Dollar Quartet for 5 years, and has been nominated twice in the “Musical Direction” category by the Jeff Awards committee.


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Allison Grischow is a Chicago based actor, improviser, musician, and teaching artist. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre and Music from Valparaiso University, and she continued her training with the Moscow Art Theatre School studying acting, movement, and Russian History. In addition to teaching musical improvisation, Allison has taught and led students to create fully devised musicals at Valparaiso University. She is also a teaching artist with Emerald City Theatre and House Call Music where she teaches piano and voice lessons privately.


Tanji Harper is a Chicago native who has been dancing with the youth in the city for the last 16 years. Currently serving as the Artistic Director of The Happiness Club and the director for the After School Matters HiDef Dance Ensemble, Tanji has served as a dance educator to hundreds of Chicago’s teens that are now professionals in the field. Ms. Harper has worked nationally and internationally as a dancer and choreographer for major label recording artists, theater houses, conventions, corporate events, and non-profits centered on Chicago’s youth.


Straight out of Chicago, William Harris is a dancer with a background in Breaking, Modern, and House dance. Harris recently completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor’s in Dance. As an alumnus of The Happiness Club, William provides mentorship and guidance to Chicago youth in pursuit of studying forms of dance.



Levi Holloway has been an actor, director, playwright and teaching artist in Chicago for over a decade. As an actor, he has worked most recently with Steppenwolf, Northlight, Aboutface, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Shattered Globe, Provision, and Hell in a Handbag Theatre companies. As a teacher, he works for Lookingglass Theatre company, Adventure Stage, The Actor’s Gymnasium, and Silk Road Rising. He is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Neverbird Project, a Deaf and hearing youth theatre company.


Arti Ishak is a professional actor and teaching artist in Chicago. She’s worked with American Theatre Company, Writers Theatre, Greenhouse Theater, Circle Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Chicago Dramatists, and American Blues Theatre. She’s recently performance in Second City’s ETC revue Fantastic Super Great Nation, and Circle Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of Venus in Fur. You can catch her next as the title character in the world premiere Johnny 10Beers Daughter at Chicago Dramatists. She currently has a national commercial running with Subway and can be heard in several radio spots for Etsy. Arti is also a teaching artist through American Theater Company’s Mosaic program.


Ayesha Jaco (Founder and Co-Director of Move Me Soul) is a youth development advocate/program manager, dancer and poet.  Ayesha holds a Bachelor of Science in Dance and Mass Communication from Illinois State and Master of Arts Management from Columbia College.  She has taught African, Modern, Jazz and Hip Hop dance to over 200 youth in Chicago.


Yuri Lane is a world renown human beatbox and harmonica player living in Chicago since 2003.  He’s been a professional actor, musician and teaching artist for over 20 years and is excited to bring Hip-Hop for Tots to Chicago Children’s Theater in 2017.


Nicole Laurenzi is a professional actress, teacher and private vocal coach. She received her degree from NYU’s TISCH School of the Arts where she studied musical theater performance at CAP 21 Studios. After graduation she went on to perform in the Broadway National Tour of the musical Mamma Mia! Since moving to Chicago she has had the good fortune to work at The Goodman as well as The Marriott Theater, understudying the role of Cinderella in their new musical for young audiences Cinderella After the Ball. You may have also recently seen her on your television screens in an episode of Chicago PD. Her recent work with Chicago Children’s Theater includes coaching the song performance portion of their Musical Theater Audition Workshop and serving as artistic director and lead teaching artist for The Musical Theater Initiative program at John B Murphy Elementary School.


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Chauncey Alexander Davis Mauney began his work with Chicago Children’s Theatre as an Artistic/Education Intern shortly after moving to Chicago in 2012. Since then, he’s worked for CCT as an actor and teaching artist for The Red Kite Project, teaching music during Camp Red Kite, traveling to CPS classrooms for Red Kite Drama Time and performing in Red Kite By The Sea. He’s had the privilege to work with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Ruckus, Promethean Theatre Ensemble, Chicago Opera Theatre, Midsommer Flight and Two Lights Theatre Company.


Beth Reinstein is a singer living the dream in Chicago.  Hailing originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Beth came to Chicago to pursue her bachelor’s in vocal jazz and contemporary music at the Chicago College of Performing Arts. While in school, Beth discovered her love for songwriting and ended up creating her solo project Elle Casazza. As Elle she has performed all over Chicagoland, toured nationally and was named “8 Young Chicago Artists Making a Dent in Music” in Paste Magazine.


Kelsey Shipley is delighted to be working with Chicago Children’s Theatre! Originally from Chattanooga TN, Kelsey is the daughter of a visual artist, and at a young age she would create comics, paintings, and sketches, all with the hope of telling a unique story. At the heart of it all, she has always been a performer, but throughout her high school training at an arts magnet school and while receiving a BFA in Fine Arts from Birmingham Southern College, Kelsey has strived to connect the visual with the theatrical. Kelsey has served as a shop crew head, instructing new students on the ways to build production sets, she has served as a props designer for various Chicago storefronts, she has served as a master electrician, and she has created a plethora of commissioned paintings and murals, all in order to support the storytelling that occurs onstage. Kelsey currently serves as the Executive Director of The Forks and Hope Ensemble, a troupe that devises classic stories for the stage using only household items, she serves as the Grants Manager for Red Tape Theatre, and she is an associate company member of Trap Door Theatre.


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Michele Stine has been a theater maker and educator in Chicago for over three years, after graduating with a B.S. in Acting and Political Science from Illinois State University.  She co-wrote Collaboraction Theatre Company’s Forgotten Future: The Education Project, developed Hidden Resistance with The New Colony, and coming in 2017, Options developed with Broken Nose Theatre Company.  She has taught with American Theater Company, Emerald City Theater Company, Chicago Children’s Theatre Company, and Dream Big Theatre Workshop.


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Ellie Terrell is a Chicago-based teaching artist, prop and object builder, and painter. Her work has been seen in productions with Albany Park Theater Project, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, The House Theatre, Halcyon Theatre, and Redmoon. In addition to her work with theater companies around Chicago, Ellie taught at Gallery 37’s After School Matters program and ran the After School Art and Tutoring programs at San Miguel Gary Comer School and St. Angela School with St. Joseph Services. Ellie holds a BA in Literary and Cultural Studies from the College of William and Mary.