Index of Theatre Instructors:
Ivy Bekker (Acting)
Tyson Danner (Acting Professional)
Jessica Denney (Acting, Acting for the Camera)
Diane Emmert (Acting)
Megan Fennelly (Creative Theatre Fun, Acting, Broadway)
Erik Finch (Improv, Advanced Acting)
Kelly Lohrenz (Broadway)
Daniel Sheridan (Mask, Spectrum Theatre)
Jessica Sheridan (Acting, Creative Theatre Fun, Broadway, Advanced Acting)
Thomas Taylor (Acting, Character Craze, Broadway, Advanced Acting)
Brent Tubbs (Improv)
Ivy moved to the Quad Cities after graduating from Monmouth College in May, 2012, where she majored in Theatre and English. She has been involved with the theatre since she started acting in school plays in seventh grade, but she didn’t really get serious about theatre until starting college. During her schooling, Ivy studied every aspect of the theatre, but found her passion in acting and stage managing.
Ivy has been involved with Junior Theatre since she served as Performing Arts Intern during the summer of 2011. In addition to teaching classes and camps, Ivy is the Stage Manager and Props Designer for the 61st Season. She is also currently serving as an AmeriCorps member with Davenport Parks and Recreation, and is based out of Junior Theatre. Through this position, she is able to work on Outreach programs and Volunteer Coordinating.
When not at Junior Theatre, Ivy is busy planning her wedding for October of 2013. She also enjoys reading and spending time with her extended family, some of whom have been spotted on the Junior Theatre stage.
(Teaches: Acting Professional)
Tyson holds a B.A. in Music Performance at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he was involved in numerous aspects of the university's music programs. During his years at the university that he produced and music directed his first theatrical production, a concert version of the musical Ragtime, followed the next summer by The Secret Garden.
After graduating from St. Ambrose, Tyson was a founder of The Green Room Theatre in Rock Island, where he acted as Artistic Director and as director or music director of many acclaimed productions, including Into the Woods, Carousel, john & jen, Doubt and Assassins.
Locally, Tyson has had such directing and music directing experiences as The Wiz, Neil LaBute's Bash: Latter-Day Plays and Gypsy. He recently directed the Circa '21 production of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and The Curtainbox Theatre Company's Time Stands Still.
His most recent project is the creation of a theatre on West Locust Street in Davenport, known as the QC Theatre Workshop, where he directed John Logan's Tony Award-winning RED.
Tyson is also a private voice instructor and coach, focused mainly on musical theatre repertoire. His studio is on the upper floor of Cottage 15.
(Teaches: Acting, Acting for the Camera)
Jessica was born and raised right here in Davenport, IA. Her first theatrical experience was at the age of five where she was cast in the locally-filmed Avati brothers movie, The Room Next Door. Jessica continued theatre throughout elementary school when she participated in Davenport Junior Theatre classes. In high school she was seen as Annie in Annie and Dainty June in Gypsy, among other roles.
She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Saint Ambrose University in Davenport with BAs in Radio/Television Production and Journalism and a minor in Theatre. While at St. Ambrose, Jessica was seen onstage in numerous roles, such as Lead Dancer and Dance Captain in Pippin, Rachel Brown in Inherit the Wind, and Young Coco and Suzanne in the world premiere performance of Creme de Coco, directed by acclaimed Broadway director Philip Wm. McKinley (Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, The Boy From Oz). Jessica is a two-time semi-finalist in the Irene Ryan National Acting Scholarship competition at the American College Theatre Festival.
Jessica was also highly involved in the St. Ambrose television station where she worked with CBS Sports, wrote for the St. Ambrose newspaper and was a member of the Student Alumni Association. After graduation, she starred as Lucy in Quake at the Gorilla Tango Theatre in Chicago, IL. She can also be seen as a principle character in the award-winning zombie comedy film, A Cadaver Christmas.
She has worked with many local theatre companies in numerous roles. She has been onstage, stage managed, sound designed and been props master at DJT, The Curtainbox Theatre Company and New Ground Theatre. Jessica is a company member of The Curtainbox Theatre Company in Davenport. Jessica has also taught Acting for the Camera classes for both children and adults at both The Curtainbox and New Ground.
Jess is thrilled to be back at DJT as an instructor. In her spare time Jessica enjoys jazz music, reading, and spending time with her guinea pigs Satchmo, Lindy and Meatball.
Diane made her stage debut at the age of 4 when she sang "Jingle Bell Rock" (solo!) at her preschool's Christmas pageant. Since then she has been nursing her passion for theatre. She studied ballet, jazz, and tap at Patty Gray's School of Dance (Ottawa, IL), attended several "Summer in the Arts" programs at both Eastern Illinois University and Northern Illinois University, acted in numerous High School productions as well as the Marquette Academy Swing Choir, and performed in Stage 212's 2007 summer production of Cats (Peru, IL).
Diane attended Western Illinois University, where she studied acting for stage and camera, vocal techniques, musical theatre (classical and belt), Commedia dell'Arte, improv, stage combat, unrehearsed Shakespeare techniques, directing and stage managing. During her four years at Western, Diane was involved with many productions (both on stage and off), favorites of which include Parade, Children of Eden, Samurai, The Glass Menagerie, The Smell of the Kill, Tartuffe and Romeo and Juliet. Prior to moving to Davenport, Diane worked as puppeteer/Tiger Lily for C.H.A.O.S's 2011 summer production of Peter Pan or Why the Crock Rocked.
Diane spent this past summer with Junior Theatre as an AmeriCorps member, and is thrilled to be returning as an AmeriCorps member and an acting instructor!
(Teaches: Creative Theatre Fun, Acting, Broadway)
Megan Fennelly is enjoying her 5th year as a Theatre Instructor at Davenport Junior Theatre. Megan teaches Creative Theatre Fun and Acting 1. Growing up, Megan started her own acting career at Junior Theatre when she was 8 years old. She started taking classes and worked her way up to the Mainstage Company where she had fun performing in such shows as Alice in Wonderland, Tom Sawyer and Stone Soup.
Megan attended Western Illinois University majoring in Early Childhood Education and adores teaching our littlest actors at Junior Theatre. Megan stays active at Junior Theatre by teaching classes, teaching at Performing Arts Camp, and instructing speciality workshops. She is also the Secretary of Davenport Junior Theatre, Inc.
When she's not busy at Junior Theatre, Megan enjoys being a busy preschool teacher, scrapbooking, catching any live theatre she can find time for, and spending time with her son, Tanner.
(Teaches: Improv, Advanced Acting)
Erik is both honored and thrilled to be serving as a teacher with the Davenport Junior Theatre staff. Born and raised in the Quad Cities, Erik grew up in Davenport where he was very involved with improvisation, drama, and show choir at Davenport North High School. After graduation, he attended the University of Northern Iowa, double-majoring in Elementary Education and Speech Communications. While at UNI, Erik stayed heavily involved in theatre, performing roles with both community as well as university theatre, and was also a founding member of UNI Playback: A Storytelling Form of Improv.
Following college graduation, Erik relocated to Kansas City to work in radio and pursue further training in improvisation and stage acting at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. While there, Erik studied and performed with the University Improvisational Group, The Barn Players in Mission, KS, and the Blue Springs City Theatre in Blue Springs, MO. Some of his favorite roles while there include Kip in Wonder of The World, Paul in Moon Over Buffalo, and Marcus Lycus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
After living in the Kansas City area for four years, Erik moved back to Iowa for family, and taught preschool children here in Davenport. Locally, he has been involved with The Quad City Music Guild, as well as New Ground Theatre. His overall experience encompasses a strong background in education, as well as improvisation, directing, acting, and set design.
When not teaching, Erik enjoys listening to music, reading, writing, watching movies, and attending as much live theatre as he can.
Kelly is enjoying her third year living in the Quad Cities after moving here from Macomb, where she graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor's in Musical Theatre. While attending college, she danced and choreographed for their modern dance company in addition to performing in plays and musicals. In addition to modern, Kelly has trained in ballet, tap, and jazz.
She spends the majority of her time performing for the District Theatre. You may have recently seen her in Rent and Hair. She also frequently appears on the Circa '21 stage in both Mainstage shows and kids shows. Other professional credits include working for Festival 56 in Princeton, IL and Western Illinois' professional summer music theatre.
This isn't Kelly's first time passing on her theatre knowledge to youngsters. During her three years in the Quad Cities, she has taught other children's theatre camps and children's dance classes. Her most recent being Junior Theatre's Spring Camp where she had a blast teaching the Musical Theatre class!
In her free time (when she can spare it), she enjoys painting, playing the piano, attempting to play her guitar, and all of the shopping. She's very excited to be teaching Junior Theatre's summer classes and camps!
Daniel DP Sheridan
Performing Arts Supervisor & Artistic Director, Instructor
(Teaches: Mask, Spectrum Theatre)
Daniel is proud to have grown up in Davenport. He comes from a family of two parents, four younger sisters, two brothers and a couple cats. He is not afraid to say that he is used to constant negotiation and patience. A graduate of West High School, he was a longtime member of Davenport Junior Theatre (1994-2001). At Junior Theatre, he was a mainstage performer, teacher and on the Junior Staff. He would continue to come back and teach at Junior Theatre during college.
Daniel received his B.A. in Theatre from St. Ambrose University. While at St. Ambrose, Daniel had the chance to practice in theatre as an actor, designer and director. During his tenure, he spent a semester abroad at the University of London Queen Mary studying performance art. He also spent a couple summers directing and acting at Theatre L'Homme Dieu in Alexandria, Minnesota. Daniel was fortunate enough to win the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship through the American College Theatre Festival and move on to the final round at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, where he competed against 13 of the nation's finest student actors for various scholarships. He was also a professional performer at ComedySportz (Rock Island) for five years.
Daniel then focused back on performance at the University of Connecticut, where he earned his MFA in Acting. While there for three years, he studied Vocal Technique (Linklater, Fitzmaurice, Houseman, Stern), LeCoq Movement, Suzuki, Comedia, Clown, Shakespeare, and a variety of acting styles.
As an MFA student, Daniel was a company member of the Connecticut Repertory Theatre and was seen in many productions. He also worked in the Connecticut Repertory Theatre's management office for three years.
Daniel spent the summer of 2007 at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Studying alongside 13 other students who were selected out of the nation's top 15 MFA acting universities, he had the chance to work with national and international theatre artists. One of those artists, Andrew Wade (former head of voice for the Royal Shakespeare Company for 12 years), has come to Junior Theatre as a guest instructor.
Daniel directed Hamlet at the Antioch Classical Theatre Company, just outside San Francisco. He has directed multiple productions for the Curtainbox Theatre Company (Davenport, Iowa) including Three Viewings and Danny and the Deep Blue Sea. He also was seen onstage in Glengarry Glen Ross. Daniel is a company member with the Curtainbox.
At Junior Theatre, Daniel has directed Bunnicula, The Adventures of Aesop, Alice in Wonderland and most recently the 30-hour Play Project: All I Really Need to Know I Learned by Being in a Bad Play. He has acted as a designer (lights, sounds, scenic, tech director, etc.) on many shows at Junior Theatre and in the community.
Recently, Daniel directed Jack Frost Saves Christmas at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse. He also directed the world-premiere of the children's musical Dakota Jones and the Search for Atlantis in the Fall of 2011 at the St. Ambrose University Theatre Department.
Daniel is currently the Artistic Director of Davenport Junior Theatre and the Performing Arts Supervisor for Davenport Parks and Recreation. Daniel also loves finding time as an instructor whenever he can. However, with a growing Junior Theatre program those opportunities have been far and few between, which is a good thing!
(Teaches: Acting, Creative Theatre Fun, Broadway, Advanced Acting)
Jessica is a graduate of St. Ambrose University Theatre Department, where she earned a B.A. in Theatre. During her time at St. Ambrose, Jessica was fortunate enough to work with acclaimed Broadway director, Phil Wm. McKinley (Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, The Boy From Oz) in the world premiere of William Luce's Creme De Coco. For her work in Coco, Jessica was nominated for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. The following year, Jessica was a semi-finalist acting partner for the same acting competition.
After graduating, she headed out west to the tiny town of Blue Lake, CA where she studied with the world-renowned Dell'Arte Company of California. During her time there she studied a new form of physical theatre developed by Richard Schechner and taught by Paula Murray Cole. The style, known as RASAboxes, consists of Antonin Artaud's theory that an actor can become an "athlete of the emotions", and the Eastern Indian aesthetic study of emotions known as Rasa, or flavor.
Jessica considers herself an actor first and foremost. However, she has much experience in all aspects of the theatre including design, direction, stage management and production. Some previous roles include Susie in Wit (directed by Mr. McKinley), Sgt. Dryvinski in MEGAFAULT (Sy-Fy channel), Woman in Neil LaBute's Pulitzer Prize-winning Bash and Sister James in John Patrick Shanley's Doubt. She is also a company member with the Curtainbox Theatre Company.
Jessica has been active with Junior Theatre since 2008, acting as a camp counselor, class instructor, workshop leader and director.
Jessica is a lover of art, nature and people, and hopes to radiate positivity to all those around her. To learn more about Jessica, check out her website.
(Teaches: Acting, Character Craze, Broadway, Advanced Acting)
Thomas Alan Taylor was born and raised in the Quad Cities, and has returned to leave a theatrical imprint on the community. While attending only a few Davenport Junior Theatre classes and camps in his youth, he was active in shows at 1st Presbyterian Church and Central High School (where he also loved show choir and athletics).
Thomas’s core foundation in theatre was enhanced by his studies at the University of Iowa, his focus being in Acting and Directing. While studying, Thomas appeared in five World Premieres including Akarui (winner of the IRAM Award for outstanding production), directed by Brandon Bruce and written by Jen Silverman, How Catherine D___ Got Her Expression by Lisa Leaverton, and the title role in the original musical The Boy in Black, just to name a few. He also directed Eva Adderley’s 10-minute play "The Prospector" and the reading of The Boathouse (recently a top 5 finisher in the Sanguine Theatre Company’s Project Playwright in New York). His studies and collaborations with the faculty and students of the U of I will always remain a shining light no matter where his career takes him.
Since college, Thomas has worked locally as an actor (Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse), stage manager and props designer (DJT), costume coordinator (1st Presbyterian Church) and Assistant Artistic Director of the Genesis Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Thomas currently instructs multiple classes at DJT, as well as working as a stage manager and director on the mainstage productions. Between these three activities he is quite often seen around the theatre.
Brent Tubbs has lived, breathed, and eaten improv for the last 12 years. Brent got his start in acting in the third grade with Davenport Junior Theatre, and he is thrilled to be back teaching and speaking in the third person with them. He was introduced to improv in high school by the nationally renowned improv group, ComedySportz. Brent performed with them every weekend for two years before moving to California, where he began a theatre arts degree at Fresno State.
Upon arriving in Fresno, he trained and started an improv troupe, named “Improver Behavior”, The name grew and Brent began teaching improv to local high schools in the Fresno and Clovis area. The demand from high schools was so high that Brent and two colleagues started a company called “ImprovWorkshop.net” and taught to nearly every high school in the Fresno area.
Brent packed up again to move to Los Angeles where he graduated from The Second City Improv Conservatory L.A.. Upon completion of the improv conservatory, Brent performed with various improv groups at different theatres around L.A., including Comedy Sportz L.A. He became a staple performer with a headlining group at Second City called “Cross, Ross, and Tubbs”, where he performed
every Tuesday night for a year and a half, and got to perform at the Chicago Improv Festival.
Brent was then lucky enough to be cast in a world-famous theatre company called “The Reduced Shakespeare Company”. Brent has performed and toured all across the country and throughout Holland and Belgium with the RSC. While traveling with the RSC, Brent taught improv workshops to college and high school students across all three countries including the international school of Brussels in Belgium.
Since Leaving L.A., he has started another improv group in Lodi, California called Changing Faces Improv; was a member with ComedySportz Sacramento; and has now gone back to his roots performing with ComedySportz Quad Cities. Outside of improv, Brent has also written a young adult novel called “TUSA” which can be found on Lulu.com. He has a beautiful family with three amazing children: Parker, Taylor, and Cooper, and a very supportive, talented, and beautiful wife Sara.