Education & Community Engagement


Learn more about the teachers who bring our programming to life IN YOUR SCHOOL






Programs: Playwriting 360° and First Draft

BRENDAN BOURQUE-SHEIL is a Houston-based playwright and storyteller with a BA in English from Texas State University. His first full-length play, The Book of  Maggie, premiered at Stages Repertory Theatre, in 2016 and was called "one of the most refreshing original works to come out of Houston in some time," by He's a regular contributor to Bootown's monthly live show Grown Up Storytime, and KPFT's So What's Your Story. In addition to teaching for the Alley Theatre's Department of Education and Community Engagement, he teaches playwriting at Houston's High School of Performing and Visual Arts.

 scott gibbs





Programs: Improvisation, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Staging STEM.

SCOTT GIBBS is a professional actor working in commercial, voiceover, and theatre from Houston, Texas. He has been a Teaching Artist with the Alley Theatre for 4 years and holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Centenary College Of Louisiana. His professional experience as an educator has focused on Physical Comedy, Commedia dell'arte, and Improvisation. Scott's regional teaching credits include: Charleston Stage (SC), Seaside Repertory Theatre (FL), Merry Go Round Playhouse (NY); and locally: Main Street Theatre, Page Parkes Talent Agency, and Alley Theatre Summer Conservatory.







Programs: Shakespeare, Aristotle, Theatre Through the Ages, Commedia Dell'Arte, Monologue 360°, Voice 360°, and Movement 360°.

PHILIP HAYS is an actor, director, and educator in Houston, Texas. He has been a Teaching Artist for the Alley for several years and has also led workshops in commedia dell’arte and Shakespeare for schools in Texas, Italy, and the Czech Republic. He is a company member of Horse Head Theater Co. (Houston Press MASTERMIND Award 2016), for which he co-conceived and performed the one-man immersive show The Whale; or, Moby-Dick (“Best New Play,” Houston Press Theatre Awards). He is also an Artistic Company Member of the Classical Theatre Company, for whom he has directed his own adaptations of Aristophanes’ The Birds and Ubu Roi, as well as new adaptations of Doctor Faustus and A Christmas Carol. Philip has previously been an Artistic Associate with the Prague Shakespeare Company, where he performed in over twelve productions, and directed, co-wrote, and performed in both his original commedia dell'arte-meets-Grand Guignol take on John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi and the new play The Murder of Gonzago, loosely based on Hamlet. Philip is a graduate of the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance and has studied commedia dell'arte at the Scuola Internazionale dell'Attore Comico.

 josh inocencio






Programs: Theatre Through the Ages, Shakespeare 360°, Aristotle, First Draft

JOSH INOCENCIO is a Houston-based playwright and performer. After finishing his Master’s in Theatre Studies at Florida State University, he returned to Houston to tour his solo play, Purple Eyes, across Texas. He has performed at ProyectoTeatro, the University of Houston, and South Texas College in partnership with UT-RGV. His next appearance will be the world premiere of Purple Eyes at Stages Repertory Theatre in February 2018. Currently, Josh is working on a trilogy entitled Splintered in Three—and the second play, The Little Edelweiss; or, An Immigrant’s Fairytale finished as a semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwright’s Conference. Last summer, Josh trained under Migdalia Cruz at the Maria Irene Fornés Playwriting Workshop in Chicago. He’s thrilled to teach creative writing, theatre history, and Shakespeare as an Alley Theatre teaching artist!

 Vincent Johnson





Programs: Slam Poets @ Alley Theatre

VINCENT "BLACKBLUEZ"  JOHNSON began his journey as a slam poet in 2007. The art form married two of his favorite things: acting and writing poetry.  He has competed on seven slam teams and has coached other slam poets for two years. His mission is to put the expressive artform of slam into many hearts across the nation. He is thrilled to be teaching Slam Poetry to middle and high schools with the Alley Theatre ECE Department.






Alley ECE, Resident Community Artist

Programs: Shakespeare, Aristotle, Improvisation

DAVID KERSNAR is a founding ensemble member of the Tony Award winning Lookingglass Theatre Company and has performed, designed and directed with the company since 1988. Kersnar also appeared with the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Remains, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Actor’s Gang and the Touchstone Theatre. Kersnar has served as Lookingglass Artistic Director, founded and directed Lookingglass Education & Community Programs, and served as Master Teacher. Currently Kersnar is directing his own adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under The Seas for Lookingglass. Other directing and writing credits include productions at Next Theatre, Chicago Lyric Opera, Chicago Symphony, Lively Arts and Chicago Children’s Theatre. Kersnar has served as a Theatre Arts professor at such universities as Northwestern University, DePaul University, Roosevelt University and Monterey Peninsula College. Kersnar co-founded and produced over 40 films and plays nationally and internationally with Shaking the Tree Interactive Productions, which uses theatrical problem-solving techniques in business environments. Film and television credits include U.S. Marshals, Since You’ve Been Gone, Early Edition, and Turks. David holds a BS in theatre/performance studies and a MFA in directing from Northwestern University.






Alley ECE, Curriculum and Teaching Artist Manager

JENNY LAMB comes to Houston from Chicago via California where she just received her MFA in Ensemble Based Physical Theatre from Dell’Arte International.  She is co-founder of Li’l Buds Theatre (Chicago, IL), an accomplished actress, singer/songwriter and plays the ukulele.  As Curriculum and TA Manager, Jenny will be working on curriculum, both revising and improving on the existing programs and creating exciting and innovative new opportunities, as well as training and expanding the Teaching Artist team so that the Alley ECE remains at the highest level of arts and arts integration training for all ages.

 Brendon Lara





Programs: Staging STEM

BRENDoN LARA is a teaching artist, actor, improviser and director born and raised in Houston, TX. He has taught with the Alley Theatre in its Staging STEM and Summer Playmakers programs, and is joining the Alley's youth theatre touring production of Oskar and the Last Straw in the fall. Brendon is also the Director of Education at CSz Houston, home of ComedySportz, where he teaches and designs curriculum for the Houston School of Improv. Brendon holds a BFA in Theatre from the University of Houston, and has trained in improvisational comedy at the legendary iO Theatre in Chicago.

 Dayne Lathrop





Programs: Staging STEM

DAYNE LATHROP is a graduate of Sam Houston State University, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre. Dayne has two years of experience with the Alley Theatre as a Teaching Artist, utilizing his training in specific areas of theatre to help aid in his execution of the curriculum. He has also had previous experience with teaching at the YMCA.






Alley ECE, School Programs Manager

ESME LEJEUNE is excited to join the Alley Theatre family after four years of teaching high school technical theatre in San Antonio, TX. She has an MA in playwriting from Royal Holloway, University of London, and a BS in Communication Studies and BA in Theatre/Dance from the University of Texas at Austin. Teaming up with Jenny Lamb, she will be organizing and revitalizing our relationships with Partner Schools and the Alley's online digital classroom resource - Alley Re-Sourced.






Alley ECE, Community Programs Coordinator

Programs: Staging STEM, Improvisation, First Draft

MARA MCGHEE is a theatrical actor, director, producer, improvisor, and educator. She has a BFA in Acting Performance, and a MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. She used her experience and education to co-found the Milwaukee-area theatre company All In Productions, which is still performing and thriving today. One of her favorite projects is TIM: The Improvised Musical, where she got to make up stories, songs, dances with her fun and funny friends.  Mara is currently the Community Programs Coordinator for the Alley Theatre ECE department, where she manages the Play Makers Camp, and helps create programs such as First Draft which helps teenagers and adults find and create their personal narrative. She also runs the Tours and Workshops program for the Alley. She is most excited to give people an opportunity to find and cultivate their passions, just like she got to do at a young age.






Programs: First Draft, Slam Poets @ Alley Theatre, and Voice 360°.

JASMINNE MENDEZ is poet, educator, performer and award winning author. Her first multi-genre memoir Island of Dreams (Floricanto Press, 2013) was awarded Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book by the International Latino Book Awards in 2015. She has performed in numerous venues across town including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, The Alley Theatre, MECA and numerous others. Her work has been published in national and international literary journals. She is a Macondo and Canto Mundo Fellow and a VONA Alumni. She is currently an MFA creative writing candidate at Pacific Lutheran University at the Rainier Writer's Workshop. She is really excited to be teaching performance poetry and personal narrative with the diverse students of the Houston community. 

 Emily Neves





Programs: Staging STEM

EMILY NEVES is in her second year as a Teaching Artist for Applied Theatre at the Alley. She has been acting for more than twenty years and began acting professionally ten years ago, also at the Alley Theatre. Emily delights in the opportunity to combine her love of teaching with her love of theatre in the Staging STEM program.






Programs: Staging STEM

MICHELLE OGLETREE is happy to return to the Alley Theatre! Alley Theatre credits include All The Way and The Old Friends. Last year Michelle costarred in the pilot season of WGN America’s new television drama Underground, starring Christopher Meloni and Journée Smollet. This season she will return as Guest Star! The Ensemble Theatre credits include By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, Knock Me a Kiss, Lotto: Experience the Dream, Jitney, and Gee’s Bend. She has toured the city performing in several shows with The Ensemble Theatre’s Touring Education Company. Other theatre credits include Failure: A Love Story and Dollhouse (Stages Repertory Theatre), Miss Julie (Classical Theatre Company), God and Death (The Back Porch Players), Bug (Theatre Southwest), Fragmentation I and II (Driven Theatre Company).







Alley ECE, Interim Staging STEM Coordinator

Programs: Staging STEM

ALLY OLIPHINT received a BA in Theatre from Southwestern University. She served as an education intern at ZACH Theatre in Austin, TX and later became one of their Teaching Artists. After she graduated in 2016, she moved back to Houston and has worked as an Alley Theatre TA for the past year. Ally has recently acted in multiple shows at Unity Theatre and continues to audition around Houston.






Programs: Staging STEM

CARIAN PARKER is thrilled to be working her second year as a Teaching Artist with the Alley Theatre. She has previously taught at Stages Repertory Theatre for the Young Actors Conservatory. She has worked two years for a local preschool. She is also a Houston actress and is excited to bring Staging STEM to many different classrooms this year!  






Programs: Slam Poets @ Alley Theatre

RAIN is a published author, national slam poet/spoken word artist, playwright and actress. She has written several poetry-based commercials for KHOU Channel 11; her most recent one for their “HOPE after HARVEY" Campaign. Her most notable accolade is a Super Bowl commercial that she performed which also earned airtime during the GRAMMY's. This poem won the 2016 Eye on Excellence Award as well as a nomination for the Lone Star State Emmys. Over the last 8 years she has performed in various venues locally and state to state and has held lead roles in various plays. She’s very active in the community as an artist, host and promoter where The Houston Chronicle reviewed her as one of Houston's most talented artist. She currently attends the University of Houston where she's majoring in Mass Communication. 







Alley ECE, Staging STEM Manager

JASMINE THOMAS is our Staging STEM Manager and the Resident Teaching Artist in our Arts Integration Network programming. Through our AIN programs, she builds relationships with teachers- offering professional development and mentorship to create fully arts integrated core classrooms. Before finding the Alley, Jasmine worked as an actress, private tutor and online consultant for ESL teachers nationwide in New York City. Jasmine graduated from Southwestern University with a degree in Theatre Arts and Communication Studies and is a Teach For America alum, c/o 2012. Jasmine loves combining her loves of education and theatre with the Alley ECE! 






Programs: Staging STEM and the Arts Integration Network

WHITNEY ZANGARINE has been happily working with the Alley since fall 2013 as both an actor and a Teaching Artist for the Staging STEM Program. Recently, she has also begun training area teachers as a part of the Alley's Professional Development Program.  She graduated from The University of Texas (Austin) in 2009, where she received her BA in Theatre and Dance. In addition to teaching, Whitney also acts regularly (stage and film) in the Houston area.