Teacher Bios


Rachel AkerRachel Aker is a theatre educator, artist, and dramaturg originally from Temple, Texas. She graduated from Austin College in Sherman, TX, in 2007 with her Bachelors in Theatre and Sociology, and this spring, she received a Master of Arts in Theatre Studies from the University of Houston. Next year, Rachel will be moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to begin her PhD in Theatre at LSU. Rachel worked as a theatre teacher at Temple High School (from 2008-2013), where she taught Introduction to Theatre, Stagecraft, Acting, Children’s Theatre and Special Needs Theatre and served as Assistant Director and Creative Director for more than 25 shows. Locally, she has served as dramaturg for UH productions, Main Street’s Peace in Our Time, and this summer’s Houston Shakespeare Festival. This is Rachel’s second year as an educator at Main Street, and she’s excited to teach stagecraft this summer!

Marilyn ArnoldMarilyn Arnold is a recent graduate of the HSPVA theatre department and has TA'd several different classes with MST since June of 2012. She's always excited to start working with new creative artists and can't wait to start the summer!

Marcy BannorMarcy Bannor was cast as Gretel in the operetta Hansel & Gretel in sixth grade at Jamison Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois and realized then and there that theater was the future for her. She went on to graduate from Goodman School of Drama with a BFA in Acting and has spent her entire life acting, directing, and teaching theater to young people. As a performer, she has graced the stages of Main Street Theater, Texas Repertory Theatre, Stages, TUTS, A.D. Players, Masquerade Theatre, Theater LaB Houston, and Chocolate Bayou Theater. As a director, she has worked at Main Street Theater and The Little Room Downstairs where she served as Artistic Director. With regard to children’s education and theater participation, Marcy is a Certified Theater Arts Teacher in the State of Texas and has served as the theater arts and reading instructor at Edgewood Elementary School in Spring Branch ISD. She has also taught after-school and summer theater classes for children of all ages at the Alley Theatre, Main Street Theater, and Young Audiences of Houston. She was one of the original teachers for Main Street Theater’s Kids On Stage program and, in the 1980s/90s, along with three other local artists, she created and performed in two of the most popular theater presentations that were enjoyed by thousands of Houston and surrounding area students in Young Audiences’ school presentations. In the early 2000’s, Marcy served as the Artistic Director and theater arts teacher for the River Performing & Visual Arts Center, a program for children with special needs. Marcy has two children and three grandchildren and, although she has loved her theater career over the years, she has found that being a mother and grandmother are the greatest and most fun roles of her life!.

Dana BowmanDana Bowman recently received her MFA from the University of Exeter in Theatre Practice: Staging Shakespeare, where she focused on directing and adapting early modern plays. In addition to directing, Dana also has frequently worked with children in the theater teaching and assisting various Shakespeare workshops for kids, as an education intern at the Alley Theatre, and through volunteering at the River Center. She is looking forward to an amazing summer at Main Street!
Brittny BushBrittny Bush received her Bachelor of Arts in Acting and Directing from The University of Houston Main Campus in 2004. Her participation in Main Street Theater’s summer camp began in 2006 as a Teaching Assistant at the Rice Village location. Since that time she has been a staff member in several capacities including Storytelling Teacher and Theater Teacher. Brittny has also appeared in several productions at Main Street’s Theater for Youth. Most recently she performed the part of Ladybug in James and the Giant Peach. Brittny’s passion for teaching, and love for being on the stage inform the fun, collaborative spirit of her summer camp classes. She looks forward to creating original works of theater with this summer’s group of new and returning performers.
Courtney ChiltonCourtney Chilton is delighted to return to Main Street. She has worked across the country as a performer, choreographer, and teacher. Favorite credits include: Can Can (Celestine), Gypsy (Dainty June), Hay Fever (Jackie Coryton), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Pearl Lady), Victor/Victoria, The Music Man, Showboat, My Fair Lady, and Oliver!. www.courtneychilton.com
Grace CunyusGrace Cunyus is a graduate of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and is currently studying theater at The Theatre School at DePaul University. She has been working at Main Street Theater Camp for five years and is very excited to teach Stagecraft and Theater History at Main Street Theater Camp.
Danny DyerDanny Dyer has been a part of three MST Theater for Youth productions in the past two seasons-- Pippi Longstocking (Constable Clang), Flat Stanley (Arthur) and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (Fudge). Over the course of these productions, he has found a love for bringing theater to young audiences and couldn't be more excited to continue that through the Main Street Summer Camp. Danny is a recent graduate from Sam Houston State University with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. While at Sam Houston and in the year since graduation he has appeared in many productions around Houston including Exit 27 (Ryker) with The Landing Theatre Company; Flat Stanley (Stanley), Man of La Mancha and Spamalot with Theatre Under the Stars; Odd and the Frost Giants (Odd) and Panto Mother Goose (Doc) with Stages Repertory Theatre; The Foreigner (Ellard) at Texas Repertory Theatre; and Das Rheingold, Cosi Fan Tutte and A Christmas Carol with Houston Grand Opera. He can also be seen later this summer as The Proprietor in Standing Room Only's Assassins. Here's to a wonderful summer!
Rachel DicksonRachel Dickson currently teaches theater at the University of Houston-Downtown. After receiving her Master of Fine Arts in acting from University of Illinois, she worked on stage and screen in the Chicago industry. Upon relocation to Houston she became a Licensed Master of Social Work, She is the founding Artistic Director of Driven Theatre Company which focuses on issue-based works. She has worked onstage at various theaters, including MST. You may have seen her in Civil War Christmas, Third and An American Daughter. She has worked with Main Street's education program since 1999 and is excited to return this summer.
Lindsay EhrhardtLindsay Ehrhardt is SO excited to return to Main Street for her fourth year of summer camp! A Houston native, Lindsay received her BFA in Theatre Performance from Baylor University. You may have seen her in MST’s Theater for Youth productions of The Cat in the Hat (Cat), A Wrinkle in Time (Meg), The Magic School Bus (Ms. Frizzle) and Superfudge (Mom). Other recent acting credits include: The Cherry Orchard (Dunyasha) and The Importance of Being Earnest (Gwendolen) with Classical Theatre Company (where she is a proud company member); Tigers Be Still (Grace), Assistance (Heather) and boom! (Jo) with Black Lab Theater; My Wonderful Day (Tiffany) and The Coast of Utopia: Voyage and Salvage (Tatiana Bakunin, Tata Herzen) with Main Street Theater; Late: A Cowboy Song (Mary) with Mildred’s Umbrella. When she’s not acting, Lindsay works as a teaching artist, a social media manager, and an author’s assistant - sometimes all at once, depending on the day. Lindsay is so thankful to live in this wonderful city with such a vibrant, friendly, and inspiring theater community, and she’s thrilled to share her love of performing and telling stories with MST students. She can’t wait to see what they come up with this summer!
Julie FontenotJulie Fontenot has been teaching for Main Street Theater’s Education Department for five years. Julie also teaches theatre for IACT as well as acting for the camera courses at Page Parkes School of Modeling and Acting. Julie works professionally as an actress for various companies in the Houston area, including Main Street Theater, The A.D. Players, Interactive Children’s Theatre, and Texas Repertory Theatre, as well as appearing in film and commercials. She has toured nationally for the children’s theatre company Hamsptead Players of New Hampshire. She has a degree in theatre from Lamar University.
Alan GonzalezAlan J. Gonzalez is a graduate of The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts as a Musical Theatre Major. He has done several plays at HSPVA and some at the Miller Outdoor Theatre. He is thrilled to join the Main Street family this year by helping out as a teacher's assistant. He works as the coordinator of the Altar Servers at his church and is looking forward to working with kids once more. Alan is staying in town for college and is enthused to work over the summer in something he loves so much: theatre.
Aileen MapesAileen Mapes is thrilled to return to Main Street Theater as a dance instructor. Aileen has an MFA, Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Arizona State University, where she was under a performance scholarship, teaching assistant and awarded Excellence in Community outreach. In addition to performing regularly with Suchu Dance and choreography, she has over 15 years of teaching experience. Her classes take a creative movement approach, in addition to learning a little about all the various forms of more classical dance. Each summer she has taught for Main Street she is astounded with what her students create for their final performance. They are a constant inspiration for her own creative practice.
James MonaghanJames Monaghan is pumped to be back with Main Street for another awesome summer! He graduated from NYU in 2011 with a BFA in theatre before returning to his native Houston. When he isn't acting around around town you can find him at Clear Brook High School teaching theatre and technical theatre.
Rachel OllagnonRachel Ollagnon has a BFA in acting from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts and an MA in Etudes Anglophones from the Sorbonne, Paris 3. Currently, she teachers International Baccalaureate Theatre and other theatre courses at Lamar High School and is an IB Theatre examiner. She moved to Houston last August after three years in Massachusetts and seventeen years living overseas. Rachel has four children, one husband and two cats.
Art OrnelasArt Ornelas (Stagecraft/Stage Makeup Teacher) works all around Houston in different fields of Theatre and Film. His set designs have been seen at The Country Playhouse’s Don’t Drink The Water, Main Street Theater’s Woof (Regional Premiere), Or, (Regional Premiere), & ...and L.A. Is Burning (World Premiere), Earnest Holley Memorial Theater’s Clara’s Play, Arts with an Impact’s The Gold (Regional Premiere), Broadway Bound’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Unheard Voices’ Marisol, Theatre Collide’s Life Is a Dream and University of Houston’s The Boys Next Door & Beyond Therapy. He has been a properties designer for Main Street Theater’s Woof, Or,, The Best Man, Design for Living, The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 & The Merchant of Venice (NEA Tour) along with Moores Opera Center’s Eugene Onegin, Room With A View & Rinaldo. He has also served as a makeup assistant for Moores Opera Center’s The Ghost Of Versailles, Die Fledermaus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Der Freischutz, Miss Havisham’s Fire, The Love of Three Oranges, Impressario Impressario & Thirteen Clocks along with Houston Grand Opera’s Xerxes. Mr. Ornelas was also the resident Sets/Props Designer & Filmmaking teacher for MST’s Kids On Stage program for 5 seasons. His academic studies include Architecture and Theatre Design from San Antonio College & University of Houston. With his wife Amelia Rico Ornelas, he runs the multimedia company RicOrnel Productions which has produced numerous promotional & educational videos along with graphic design & photography for advertising to Jack Morton Worldwide, The Alley Theater, HITS, Jewish Community Center, Main Street Theater, Prague Shakespeare Company, Frowbiz, Black Lab Theatre, AD Players & Pastorini-Bosby Talent Agency. They have also been seen in The Wall Street Journal, The Houston Chronicle, American Theatre Magazine and on Fox News & Great Day Houston.
Catherine TharpCatherine Tharp is a college student who will be heading into her junior year at Texas Christian University in the fall. This is her fourth year working as a Teacher’s Assistant for Main Street Theater and first year as a teacher. In the past, she has worked as Production Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager for Seussical the Musical, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Water Engine, Into the Woods, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,The Tempest, and Drowsy Chaperone with her high school, Episcopal. Her other performances include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream with EHS, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown with St. Mark’s Church Theater, Godspell with HITS, Just So Stories, Magic City, Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars, Hamlet, Love's Labours Lost, and Macbeth with Main Street Theater (KOS), Doctor’s Dilemma and Richard the III in the MainStage productions at MST, and Grease with her middle school, First Presbyterian.
Jessica ThompsonJessica I. Thompson is in her 4th year joining the MST family. She is very excited to be joining MST staff as a dance teacher this summer. Jessica will be a sophomore at St. Edwards University in the fall, where she’ll be continuing her studies in theatre and spanish.

Zack VarelaZack Varela - Main Street Theater: Moses Levy (A Civil War Christmas); Main Street Theater for Youth: Toad ( A Year with Frog and Toad), Hank (Hank the Cowdog '14), Actor 1 (Alice in Wonderland), Carlos (The Magic School Bus), Sharktooth the Pirate (How I Became a Pirate), Jose (Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells Batman Smells); Standing Room Only: Charles Guitea; East End Theatre Company: Miles Gloriousus (A Funny Thing...Forum), Mr. Mushnik (Little Shop of Horrors), Benny (RENT), Deputy Butner (Christmas Belles); Texas Repertory Theatre: Roy (The Odd Couple), Paul (Company): Killdozer Productions: Mad Hatter/Lewis Carol (The Adventures of Arthur Ignatius in Wonderland); College of the Mainland Community Theatre: Max (Cabaret), Actor 2 (Five Course Love), Clown 2 (The 39 Steps), Sammy (The Wedding Singer).

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