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MEET OUR TEACHING STAFF!

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Ashley Crane is thrilled to be back at SYT where she grew up performing. After graduating from Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Cinema/TV program and working with SYT to launch screen acting classes, Ashley moved to NYC to work with Industry Leading Acting Coaches Denise Simon, Penny Templeton, Bob Marks, T. Schreiber, and ReelArc! Ashley’s clients have worked on- and off- Broadway, gone on National Tours, and worked on shows like John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch, Saturday Night Live, I Am Frankie, Victorious, and more! She has had the opportunity to act up and down the east coast, and write for film, television, and theatre! When she’s not at SYT, studying in her adult acting class, coaching NYC clients over Zoom, or writing, she loves hanging out with her Shih Tzu Maddie and rock climbing!

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Amiya English is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in theatre performance and a minor in women & gender studies. Some of her favorite things to do in workspaces include teaching/learning new terminology, encouraging safe spaces for all involved, and building community. She has been involved in the world of theatre for almost 10 years and counting, with recent credits from the Spartanburg Little Theatre. Some of her favorite credits include Mimi in Rent at SLT, Pearl in SpongeBob: The Musical at Upstate Theatre, and Jasmine in Pipeline at Warehouse Theatre. Amiya deeply enjoys spending her time both on and offstage acting, teaching, directing, designing, choreographing, and more! She is beyond excited to join the team!

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Anne Graff currently serves as a staff accompanist at Converse University and is thrilled to be joining the staff at SYT. A lifelong lover of theater, Anne began working as a musical director and pianist while a student at Tufts University in Boston, where she earned a BS in biology, despite spending much more time in the theater than the lab! She went on to earn an MA in piano performance from Hunter College in New York City. Anne has worked as a teacher, music director, choir director, and pianist for numerous organizations, including the Berkeley Repertory Theater, Alameda Children’s Musical Theater, and Altarena Playhouse in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Trinity Church Wall Street, 92Y, and the New Victory Theater in NYC. Outside of music, Anne loves a good book, a cup of coffee, hanging out with her family, and exploring the Upstate!

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K. Ray Jones performs at theatres all across the upstate – Spartanburg Little Theatre, Centre Stage, Glow Lyric Theatre, The Warehouse and Proud Mary Theatre Company. He was also the theatre/drama teacher at High Point Academy. He strives to teach students the possibility of creating, especially in roles like Sebastian in The Little Mermaid at the Spartanburg Little Theatre. When not onstage, Ray teaches at Cyclebar Spartanburg and travels all over as a front man with the Emerald Empire party band company. Ray challenges students to always find joy in imagination and play regardless of their age.

Amy Novak is a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer. A Maryland native, she began her dance training at the age of three at the Edna Lee Dance Studio under Ashley Canterna-Hardy, Mary Moran, and many others. She began teaching and choreographing at the age of seventeen. Amy attended the University of Utah and graduated with a BFA in ballet and minors in business administration and nutrition. While there, she taught ballet, jazz, contemporary, and character dance classes at local studios, as well as choreographing several group and solo pieces for university performances and competitions. After graduation, she danced as a trainee with Ballet Idaho during their 2021/2022 season before joining Ballet Spartanburg as a company artist in 2022. Amy teaches dance in various schools and studios around Spartanburg County and loves to help students improve their technique and encourage them to find their artistic voice in the studio. She is excited for the chance to teach at Spartanburg Youth Theatre!

Erin O'Neil is an avid performer, teacher, and musician. She earned degrees from Radford University and Converse College and now teaches middle and upper school music & theater at Spartanburg Day School. Erin has worked on both the administrative, performance, and educational sides of the theater (Asheville Lyric Opera, Opera Roanoke, Spartanburg Day School) and loves everything that goes into making a production run! Since moving to SC, you may have seen her performing with Spartanburg Little Theatre (Legally Blonde, Rock of Ages, Rocky Horror, Footloose, Rent), Gaffney Little Theater (Steel Magnolias), Centre Stage (Mamma Mia), Proud Mary (Becoming), and Converse Opera Theatre (Alcina, Speed Dating Tonight, Hansel and Gretel). When she's not singing or rehearsing for a production, you can usually find Erin walking around downtown with her two friendly Huskies, Zeke and Aurora, and her partner, Austin--or trying to rescue every animal she sees!

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Carrie Preus is originally from Augusta, GA. She has trained and performed with Ron and Kathleen Jones, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Nashville Ballet, Kennesaw State University, The Georgia Ballet, Bodiography Contemporary Ballet in Pittsburgh, PA and with other Atlanta area dance companies and collectives. In 2017, Carrie joined Ballet Spartanburg. Some of her favorite roles include Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, The Sugar Plum Fairy in Carlos Agudelo’s The Nutcracker, Cinderella in Cinderella, and Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. In 2022, she completed her master’s in arts administration and cultural leadership from Colorado State University. Carrie enjoys choreographing and teaching, and has choreographed Bright Star, Footloose, and The Sound of Music at the Spartanburg Little Theatre.

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Adam Sanders has been the Artistic Director of SYT since 2015. Adam grew up in Spartanburg and developed his love for theatre at SYT. He loves leading the theatre that raised him! He previously worked with the South Carolina Children's Theatre as a teaching artist, director, and touring actor. Adam's favorite part of his job is directing, having directed many productions including Disney's Newsies Jr., Godspell Jr., Disney's Freaky Friday, Elf the Musical Jr., Songs for a New World, Disney's Aladdin Jr., Mamma Mia, Seussical Jr., and many more. When not at the theatre, you may see him riding at CycleBar Spartanburg, or spending time with his beautiful wife, Kelsey!

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Maddie Tisdel graduated cum laude from Converse College with a double major in musical theatre and history. She has been involved in theatre for over thirteen years, acting professionally in the Upstate area for Scrappy Shakespeare, Sparkle City Improv, Glow Lyric Theatre, Centre Stage, and The Warehouse Theatre. She has been teaching improv, Shakespeare, and audition workshops with Scrappy Shakespeare, Sparkle City Improv, and Converse College. Maddie has been with Spartanburg Youth Theatre for three years, and in that time she has developed a true passion for creating fun and engaging theatre with the kids of this city. Her favorite part of every class is watching the children connect through the joy of telling stories.

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Connor Vetter is an actor, director, and acting teacher based in Spartanburg, SC. She graduated from Wofford College with a B.A. in theatre, and studied acting at the Moscow Art Theatre School. When she isn't making raucous Shakespeare plays with local theatre troupe Scrappy Shakespeare or splitting sides with Spartanburg's first, finest, and only improv team, Sparkle City Improv, you can catch Connor hanging out with her cats, eating spicy noodles, and watching Netflix. She is so thrilled to be returning for her fifth season with SYT and can't WAIT to have you in class. We're going to have an absolute BLAST!

imagination never gets old.
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