ARTPLAY TEACHING ARTISTS
Darrell Revel began his acting career at age eight when he was discovered in a Christmas play by theatre mogul Bill Ozier. He has appeared in numerous films and commercials and has over 600 stage, television and radio credits. A graduate of the University of Montevallo, Darrell has a BFA in Speech & Theatre and an MED with a teacher’s license to teach pre-school through 12th grade. He is currently the drama teacher at Phillips Academy and is thrilled to be returning to the Martin Hames Arts Mentoring Program as the lead mentor.
David Roby is an actor, playwright and director. He holds a BFA in Acting from North Carolina School of the Arts and an MFA in Acting from Illinois State University. He has worked as an actor at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, About Face Theatre, Boho Theatre and Theater Wit in Chicago. He was the 2010-2012 Tennessee Williams Playwright-in-Residence at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he wrote and directed his full-length drama Mercy Me. In addition, Roby’s playwriting and acting credits include sometimes there’s God so quickly, a 90minute one-man show in which Roby plays 16 different characters, all of whom knew Tennessee Williams . He teaches acting, directing and playwriting at Miles College.
Diane McNaron has appeared in recital, cabaret, oratorio and opera throughout the US and in Germany, Austria, Italy and Australia. She produces and appears with two Cabaret troupes and has directed over 40 opera, cabaret and musical theatre productions. Diane earned an M.M. from Florida State University and did post graduate work at Indiana University. Now based in Birmingham, AL, she has received grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Lowder Foundation and is a member of the National Association of Teachers Singing.
Elizabeth began performing over 25 years ago. She studied acting and movement in Boston and Manhattan. While in Manhattan, Elizabeth began teaching Nia, a body mind spirit fusion movement technique, and she wrote and performed two one woman shows. The Babe’s Back, Elizabeth’s second one woman show, about the world’s greatest athlete, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, received critical acclaim across the United States and Canada. Elizabeth gave over 400 performances of The Babe’s Back in schools, libraries, performing arts centers, and living rooms. She returned home to Alabama in 2003 and began telling stories. Elizabeth is a member of the Alabama Storytelling Association and the Birmingham Calligraphy Guild. She loves exploring the power and beauty of language through the written and spoken word, and in the body. Elizabeth especially loves sussing out the gifts of stories in community and one on one encounters. After all, as Muriel Rukeyser wrote, “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” Elizabeth wholeheartedly agrees with this quote and would add, “We, too, are made of stories.”
Emanual Ellinas has been immersed in the world of music for over 30 years. A multi-instrumentalist, he has played with a very diverse cast of artists, ranging from Taj Mahal to Nag Hammadi. Enjoying both sides of the microphone, Emanual runs Magnetic Audio recording studio, where he has worked with artists and producers such as Dan Sartain, Tony Lombardo and Eric Essex.
Whether teaching percussion or audio engineering, his focus on the soul of the art ensures the student not only learns essential skills and techniques, but also a deeper enjoyment of music. Having taught group classes as well as individual lessons in both percussion and the recording arts across the country, Emanual is happy to bring this experience to the Birmingham community through ArtPlay.
Eric produced and recorded his debut album as a solo artist in 1988 for Nova Records called “First Impressions” and five years later received a bachelor’s degree in Music Production and Engineering from Boston’s prestigious Berklee College Of Music. In 2000, while signed to Warner Brother’s subsidiary, Zebra Records, Eric decided to explore the soul, R&B, gospel, and country music that he grew up listening to in his home state of Alabama. Over the past 25 years and 15 solo albums later, Eric has toured the world with his own group and many others including Peabo Bryson and Ronnie Laws. He also continues to record extensively both on his own label (Essential Recordings/EMI) and for a host of others making music that moves.
Helene Knowlton Taylor
Helene Taylor has always worked with children. She was pre-school teacher for 10 years, led a parent-infant group, and taught in many after-school programs, including her own Art in the Park- a community art program in Avondale. Taylor would walk into the Avondale Library acting like the pied piper carrying buckets of paint asking, “who wants to paint today?” Helene manages her husband, Trés Taylor’s, art career but is most fulfilled when she is teaching art to kids.
Jennifer Salvant is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and The Educational Theatre Association. At Louisiana State University where she received her M.F.A., Jennifer performed with Swine Palace, the professional theatre on campus, while teaching undergraduate acting and movement classes. In Chicago, Jennifer trained and completed Second City’s Conservatory Program and worked for The Improv Kitchen. Currently, Jennifer is the drama coach at Bumpus Middle School and continues to audition for local and regional professional companies.
Kim McKenzie received her bachelor’s degree in Studio Art at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Kim leads classes and workshops that use art making as a vehicle for achieving psychological insight, spiritual growth and creative freedom for people of all artistic ability. Kim firmly believes that the creative process can be deeply healing and restorative, allowing one to connect to their heart where true wisdom lies, and life can be informed by the voice of the soul. Trained as a sculptor, her own work in bronze, iron and ceramic is figurative and focuses on her inner world and spiritual growth. She has been leading workshops in process art since 2001.
LaVondia Bryant Square is the artistic director of Nathifa Dance Company & Outreach Inc., an education/outreach program that instructs classes, workshops and performances throughout the city of Birmingham and surrounding areas in African, Jazz, Modern, Praise Dance Ministry. While living in Brooklyn LaVondia studied dance at the Restoration Dance Theatre located in the Bedford-Styvesant area under the instruction of the late Charles Moore. She later received a scholarship with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company, located at the Manhattan Community College. After graduating from Mabel Dean Bacon Vocational High School in NY, she later moved to Birmingham to continue her studies in Business Education at Booker T. Washington Jr. College of Business where she received her Associate Degree in Applied Science, 1988. She then began studying Modern dance at Southern Dance Works with Mary Foshee and at Sculpture Essence Dance Company with Donna Edwards Todd. She continued her African & Caribbean Dance under the directorship of King Sundiata Keite of the Omowale Afrikan Dancers and Cultural Society based in Detroit, Michigan and Birmingham African Dance Coalition under the directorship of Ife Balams. She has also performed and studied modern dance with Southern Dance Works’ Terry Weksler. She currently attends numerous workshops with the Fa’Neye Fa’dance conference, Atlanta, GA., classes with the Uhuru Dancers, Inc. of Decatur, Ga. and the Giwayen Mata of Atlanta, Ga. She attends the annual Conferences presented by the Kankouran West African Dance Company in Washington, D.C. In 2004 she received the Fellowship Grant from the State Council on the Arts. September 2007 she was granted the Individual Grant through the Cultural Arts Alliance of the Medici Society Mr. & Mrs. Richard Ireland Pigford.
Lillis Taylor is co-founder and principal designer of Tré Lilli, a clothing line inspired by her father’s artwork. Taylor earned her BFA in Industrial Design from the University of Washington and worked as a toy designer for such clients as Disney, Chronicle Books, and Scholastic. Taylor taught English in China, earned an MA in China Studies, and has experience teaching students of all ages–from kindergarten to college. She brings her love of textiles, fiber arts, quilting and clothing design to ArtPlay and looks forward to working with children and adults alike.
Lisa Plowman Dolensky, has conducted visual and language arts enrichment activities for the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, the UAB Children’s Creative Learning Center, Childcare Resources educator conferences and area libraries. Lisa’s creative nonfiction has appeared in national magazines and award winning anthologies published by the Chicken Soup For The Soul series, Simon & Schuster’s Howard Books and Tyndale House. She’s also a literary reviewer for www.newpages.com and the Southern Early Childhood Association. Lisa is a University of Alabama graduate and recipient of a 2009 UA School of Education Longleaf Writing Project Fellowship.