PRODUCING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Ginger Poole is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association and an Associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Union. She has studied, taught, choreographed, and performed throughout the U.S. She has worked in GA, HI, FL, MS, SC and VA with, Theatre in the Square, The Alliance City Series, Theatre Gael, Synchronicity Performance Group-GA, Mill Mountain Theatre-VA and SC Children’s Theatre. Originally from Atlanta, she has worked with the N.F.L. and The Atlanta Falcons as their director and choreographer and The Atlanta Opera. Prior to coming to Mill Mountain Theatre, she was based out of North Carolina where she has worked with Flat Rock Playhouse, the State Theatre of North Carolina, in over 25 productions. She was a part of the Education program at Flat Rock Playhouse for 5 years where she taught for their Apprentice Companies and their Conservatory Program in Acting, Dance, and Musical Theatre. Ginger has taught at The University of Southern Mississippi, Western Carolina University, William Carey College, Mississippi University for Women, and currently teaches at Hollins University. With Ginger’s strong background in dance she finds herself not only acting and dancing on stage, but also directing the choreography and classroom skills for her students. Ginger holds her M.F.A. in Acting Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi and continues to teach acting and dance. She has worked with students that range in age from kindergarten through professionals. Ginger has worked in commercials, voice-overs, film, stage, and the classroom, and was profiled in the book FIRESTARTERS as “the actor”. Ginger serves on the following Board of Directors: South Eastern Theatre Conference (SETC Pro-Division Co-chair and Finance Committee), Junior League of the Roanoke Valley (Current President Elect), Burton Performing Arts Advisory Board, The Roanoke City Public Schools Education Foundation, and she has served on the Review Panel for the Virginia Commission for the Arts. She was the recipient of the DePaul’s Women of Achievement Award in the Arts in 2013 and was recently named the 2016 Kendig Award recipient for Individual Artist. She is very proud to be a member of the Mill Mountain Theatre team and looks forward to its continued growth, success, and artistic influence in the region
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
John Levin is responsible for building and nurturing relationships for Mill Mountain Theatre that encourage financial support for the community’s professional plays and drama education programs. He manages annual giving, corporate underwriting and major gifts for special needs and opportunities. His 15 years of experience in management of area nonprofits includes working for the YMCA of Roanoke Valley and the Jefferson Center Foundation. Prior to his nonprofit work, he began his career as a newspaper reporter and served as business editor of The Roanoke Times.
John’s personal and professional passion for the arts is based on recognition of the cultural value that arts organizations provide for their communities. John’s involvement also includes work as art critic for newspapers, organizer of an annual exhibition for secondary school student art and grants panel review for the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
As a graduate of the University of Buffalo with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting, Larry spent most of his career in the financial field within the wholesale and retail industry in his native area of western New York. He relocated to Roanoke in 2000 to assume the position of director of financial planning and analysis with Advance Auto Parts. He later held a similar role with the Sheraton Roanoke Hotel and Conference Center until his retirement in 2015. Larry began his career with Mill Mountain Theatre by volunteering his services as the theatre house manager before he was employed as the business manager.
Michelle has worked in marketing for non-profit arts organizations for over 20 years, including arts councils, galleries and public radio. She is known locally as the former owner of Cups Coffee & Tea and founder of the Grandin Chillage. Michelle worked for MMT between 1995 and 2006 in the marketing department, ending up as the Director of Marketing. She holds a BA in Arts Management from East Carolina University.
ASSISTANT ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Alicia is a director, lighting designer and theatre administrator currently serving as Assistant Artistic Director at Mill Mountain Theatre, in Roanoke Virginia. She is a native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of Elon University’s Theatrical Design & Production and Music programs. Alicia has served in a variety of roles at Mill Mountain Theatre, and her most recent credits include directing Poe, The Music of Motown and The Music of ABBA; lighting designing Into the Woods Jr. and stage managing Smokey Joe’s Café and Swing! Before relocating to Roanoke, Alicia completed internships with the Manhattan Theatre Club, Darren Bagert Productions/INFINITY Stages, and The Juilliard School. Additional lighting design credits include: Headvoice (New York Musical Festival); Next to Normal (Elon University); and dozens of designs as a staff designer at Feinstein’s/54 Below.
Karen is a native of western Pennsylvania, where she attended both Kent State University and Youngstown State University. Prior to joining Mill Mountain Theatre, Karen worked for many different theatres throughout the country, including Youngstown Playhouse and West Virginia Public Theatre. Karen has a long career with Mill Mountain Theatre that includes more than 65 productions on the Mill Mountain Theatre stages.
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
Travis has worked professionally as a director, choreographer, actor, and educator across the country. He holds his Master of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of California—Irvine (UCI), and he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from Point Park University. Some favorite directing credits include: Reverberation, The Little Dog Laughed, Evita, Baby, Fifth of July, The Tempest, and Blood Wedding. Travis has worked with Summer Repertory Theatre, Theatre Out, Virginia Repertory Theatre, South Coast Repertory, OC-Centric, New Swan Shakespeare Festival, Counter-Balance Theatre, and New York University’s New Plays for Young Audiences, among others.
Travis is a founding company member of the Experimental Theatre Project, a theatre ensemble geared toward collaboration on the creation of new plays, site-specific pieces, and devised works. He co-wrote the book and lyrics to DOTTY DOT: A Children’s Musical, which had a staged reading and workshop production with Experimental Theatre Project, toured elementary schools in Pittsburgh, and then had its professional premiere in New York City at The Secret Theatre—a class that was extended and went on to run for over a year.
As an educator, Travis has taught for UCI, Inside Broadway, New York Kids Club, Roxy Regional Theatre, Natalie’s Dance Network and Creative Kids Playhouse. He founded the dance program for the Roxy Regional School of the Arts, and served as Program Director for their Internship program. Travis is teaching at Hollins University for the 2017-2018 school year. Travis is also a yoga instructor, and holds his 200-hour and advanced yoga teacher certifications from Frog Lotus Yoga. He has taught yoga in New York City, California, Tennessee, and Massachusetts. Learn more about Travis at traviskendrick.com.
RESIDENT MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Seth Davis is a Georgia native who is very excited to now be a part of the Mill Mountain family after first serving as Associate Music Director for Mill Mountain’s class of Sound of Music. Seth is a music director and musician in both the musical theater and classical music realms, in addition to being a teacher, clinician, and coach for performers and musicians of all ages. Regional credits include Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Spring Awakening, See What I Wanna See (Actor’s Express), Illyria: A Twelfth Night Musical (Georgia Shakespeare), Time Between Us, A Diva’s Christmas, Hair (Serenbe Playhouse) and The Andrews Brothers (Stage Door Players). Seth has also served as musical director for Georgia Tech and Oglethorpe University in addition to teaching at The Alliance Theatre, Aurora Theatre and judging many regional music and theater festival competitions.
OUTREACH COORDINATOR & TEACHING ARTIST
Emma Gwin received her B.M. in Vocal Performance from James Madison University and her Master of Music in Vocal Performance degree from George Mason University. Emma has worked as a preschool music teacher and is a private voice instructor who delights in teaching students of all ages. Emma has performed professionally throughout the region with credits including Laurey in Oklahoma! (Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre), Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre), Squirelle in Elephant & Piggie’s We are in a Play! (Roanoke Children’s Theatre), and Angelina in Trial By Jury (The In Series). Follow Emma at: emmaleighgwin.com
RESIDENT CREATIVE & TEACHING ARTIST
Christopher Castanho is a Performer, Creator, and Optimist from Rocky Hill, CT. He recently graduated from Shenandoah Conservatory’s BFA Musical Theatre program and is honored to be Mill Mountain Theatre’s Resident Creative and Teaching Artist. An avid fan of art museums, hiking, meditation, and words, Christopher claims that he’s happiest when being creative. He was last seen him in Mill Mountain’s productions of The Little Lion (Labaile Gillman), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Leaf Coneybear), and The Jungle Book (Chil The Kite). His work also exists online, writing for websites such as The Huffington Post and BroadwayWorld.com. Follow Christopher at: ChristopherCastanho.com
Josh Walker is a recent graduate from William Peace University in Raleigh, NC. Originally from New Jersey, he began Musical Theatre while attending Howard. W. Blake High School of Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida. He recently appeared in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee as Mitch Mahoney and The Jungle Book as Bagheera at Mill Mountain Theatre. Some of his favorite roles include Samuel in Pirates of Penzance, Lymon in Piano Lesson, ensemble member in Sweeney Todd, and Garcin in No Exit.
Jay Briggs has worked as an actor, director, producer and educator in various locations around the country, including stints in New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Before joining the education team at Mill Mountain Theatre, he was based in the upstate of South Carolina, where he directed several projects at Hub-Bub Arts Center in Spartanburg and Mill Town Players in Pelzer. He also worked as a teaching artist with South Carolina Children’s Theatre (SCCT) and The Warehouse Theatre, and as a consultant with The Warehouse’s outreach initiatives. In addition to his teaching at SCCT, he served as an in-school facilitator for their KNOW WAY Bullying Prclassion curriculum (reaching over 2,500 students in two years) in the Greenville County Public Schools.
In addition to South Carolina Children’s Theatre and The Warehouse, his approaches to pre-professional training and artistic/community partnerships have been shaped by his work with Actors Theatre of Louisville (KY), Hangar Theatre (Ithaca, NY), The Civilians (NY, NY), Cornerstone Theater (Los Angeles), and Theatre for a New Audience (NY, NY). He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Acting from Elon University and Master of Arts in Theology and Culture with a concentration in Theology, Imagination, and the Arts from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. When he’s not balancing his Mill Mountain responsibilities with his freelance directing, he enjoys relaxing with a long novel, watching Tarheel basketball, laughing heartily with his wife Amanda, and continually relearning the art of play alongside his toddler, Cordelia.