Get to know the Teaching Artists visiting your classrooms
Liz Fentress is an award-winning playwright, director, and actor. In Louisville, she acts for Stage One, and is a teaching artist for Actors Theatre of Louisville’s New Voices program. She also teaches playwriting at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Department of Continuing Studies. Liz’s play The Honey Harvest won the North American Actors Association annual Playwriting Competition and was staged in London’s West End. KET’s production of Liz’s Circus Story, which Liz wrote and performs, won the National Educational Television Association award for Best Dramatic Narrative. Most recently, Liz’s play Strike Zone was part of The Bard’s Town Theatre’s inaugural season. Prior to moving to Louisville, Liz worked at Horse Cave Theatre for 13 seasons as a director and actor, and also served on the theatre’s management team. Later she served as co-editor of World Premieres from Horse Cave Theatre, an anthology of 14 plays by or about Kentuckians. Visit Liz’s website at lizfentress.com
Asha L. French is a writer and PhD candidate at Emory University. She studies 20th Century African American literature with a focus on Black women authors of the 20th century. Asha is a proud graduate of Howard University and she earned her M.F.A. at Indiana University. She has taught in various summer programs for youth, including the Upward Bound Program and the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. She has done poetry and writing workshops for middle and high school students. She helped design and implement the National Women’s Studies Association’s first feminism workshop for high school girls. A member of the Affrilachian Poets (2nd Generation), her poetry has appeared in PMS poemmemoirstory, Warpland, and PLUCK!: the Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. She is a former columnist for Ebony.com. Visit her website at ashafrench.com.
Betsy Anne Huggins is the Education Manager at Actors Theatre of Louisville, having served as an Education Intern and Teaching Artist in the 2011-2012 season. At Actors, Betsy works to keep the Education department running smoothly, which includes managing the department’s budget, calendar, and marketing, as well as continuing to teach in and out of the classroom. Betsy also serves as the co-chair for the Professional Theatre Network at the American Alliance and Theatre and Education. Outside of Actors, Betsy is an actor, director, dramaturg, playwright and puppeteer and has worked with Squallis Puppeteers, Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, Kentucky Shakespeare and other local and national theatres. Huggins was recently awarded the Champion of Art in Recovery award by Seven Counties Services for her work on The Power of Stories: A Seven Counties Story Slam, where Betsy taught storytelling to people recovering from mental health and addiction issues. She has directed in Actors’ New Voices Young Playwrights Festival and Walden Theatre’s Young Playwright’s Festival, and served as directing assistant on brownsville song (b side for tray) by Kimber Lee in the 2014 Humana Festival of New American Plays. Betsy graduated cum laude from Beloit College in 2010 with degrees in Theatre Arts and Political Science.
Jane B. Jones is the Education Director at Actors Theatre of Louisville. At Actors, Jane teaches playwriting to middle and high school students, is the Literary Manager of the New Voices Young Playwrights Contest, and heads the theatre’s lobby enrichment initiative. Jane has directed and dramaturged for the Apprentice/Intern Company solo performance series and directed in the New Voices Young Playwrights Festival. In 2012, Jane’s short play, Dress Up, was produced in the A/I Tens and she was commissioned to write TMI: a sex-ed puppet show for Squallis Puppeteers. Jane is a M.F.A. candidate in Writing, with a concentration in playwriting, at Spalding University. Jane graduated cum laude from Smith College.
Lexy Leuszler is thrilled to serve as the Education Associate for Actors Theatre of Louisville. She has taught with Court Theatre, Steppenwolf for Young Adults, the National Theater Institute and the Chicago August Wilson Monologue Competition. From 2013 to 2015, Lexy served as Associate Director of Theatremakers, a new play training intensive at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. Outside of the classroom she is a director, dramaturg, puppeteer and co-director of the youth theatre troupe, the Neverland Players (Chicago & Minneapolis Fringe Festival, Audience Pick Award). Lexy graduated from Grinnell College with honors in Theatre and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies.
Victoria Masteller is an Education Apprentice for the 2016-17 Professional Training Company. She is a recent Theatre Education BA graduate of Emerson College. She worked as a Creative Producer at ArtsEmerson under P. Carl as a work-study student at Howlround. She assisted classrooms and audience development work as a Development/Education intern at the Lyric Stage Company during her time in Boston. Victoria was the 2016 Emerson College International Chair for Undergraduate Orientation. Her extracurricular work focused on dramaturgy/directing of new works and social activism. She was a teacher under Jumpstart! and under Jewish Vocational Services’ refugee section. She hails from outside Philadelphia where previous acting credits include the Walnut Street Theatre. She is honored for Actors Theatre to be the next step in her journey.
Keith McGill is thrilled to be a teaching artist for Actors Theatre’s New Voices and Living Newspaper programs. He also teaches with Walden Theatre, Kentucky Shakespeare, Shakespeare Behind Bars, and ArtsReach. In addition to teaching, Keith is an accomplished actor, and has appeared in productions with local theatre organizations, such as The Necessary Theatre, Shoestring Productions and Louisville Repertory Theatre. He’s also a stand-up comic, having appeared on CMT, BET, and the Bob and Tom Show, as well as performing for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
Letitia Usher is a Colorado native who graduated cum laude with a Bachelors Degree in Theatre and Speech Communications from Murray State University in 1994. In 2009, she earned a Masters Degree from the University of Louisville in Counseling. She is a Master Storyteller, Certified Teacher and School Counselor who has over 20 years experience in Theatre Education. She has worked professionally as an actress, storyteller, scenic painter, carpenter, and stage manager. Ms. Usher has taught theatre/storytelling and literacy building programs to young people in multiple states, including; California, Colorado, Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.