Kevin Blackburn (Mr. Kevin): Producer/Owner
Kevin has spent his entire adult life working with children in many different capacities within the community. From working with high risk juvenile offenders as a Juvenile Probation Officer to staying at home for the last 10 years. For the last 5 years he has taught many children in his community confidence, strength and coordination, and self defense through Jiu Jitsu. Kevin and his wife Shelly are parents of children that love to perform and know the joy theatre brings to children and the many skills it teaches.
Michelle Giannini (Ms. Michelle): Advising Artistic Director
Michelle has spent the past decade teaching and directing elementary, middle, and high school theatre classes and productions in the triangle, as well as most recently serving as the assistant principal of a K-8th Grade school. With degrees in Dramatic Art, Elementary Education, and a graduate degree in School Administration, Michelle is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring together her loves of theatre and watching children grow as individuals to help them discover their gifts, find their passions, make new friendships, and gain skills that will stay with them forever.
Melissa Dunn (Ms. Melissa): Company Manager, Acting Instructor, Show Director
Melissa is an avid theatre lover and a passionate artist. Her love of performing on stage began as a child while growing up in Florida. She graduated from Florida State University, where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Theatre, with a minor in Education. Since then, Melissa has worked in a variety of areas throughout the entertainment industry, from stage managing for the Florida State Fair to coordinating for Marquee Events at Universal Orlando Resort. Melissa also has experience teaching and directing children’s theatre in both a school and community theatre setting.
Katie Clarke (Ms. Katie): Show Director, Acting Instructor
Katie graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Education, and many hours spent in the theater. Since she was student herself, Katie has spent her summers directing middle school children in musical productions at the Cardinal Gibbons High School Musical Theatre Camps and the TAP Summer Theatre Camps. She currently spends her days teaching 4th Grade at St. Michael School and directs and teaches at TAP in the evenings! As an actor, director, and teacher, Katie is passionate about the way in which theatre empowers children with a voice and a confidence to be themselves, and to appreciate and respect the uniqueness in others.
Dylan Bailey (Mr. Dylan): Show Director, Acting Instructor
Having graduated from ECU with a BFA in Theatre Arts and a concentration in Theatre for Youth, Dylan brings to TAP a wealth of knowledge and expertise in everything from Theatre for Young Audiences to playwriting, to theatre for special needs children to Musical Theatre. His passion lies in TYA, performing for young audiences as a way to engage them in live theatre.
Kat Mowat Murphy (Ms. Kat): Dance Instructor
Kathryn Mowat Murphy (Kat) has been in the theater and dance world for over 25 years, a professional Broadway dancer, actor and singer. She has been training dancers, actors and general population for years and has a loyal NYC and NC following.
Some of Kathryn's career highlights--Broadway and Equity National tours which include: Pal Joey (2008 revival), Fosse, Chicago, Sweet Charity with Wayne Cilento and A Chorus Line (Cassie and Sheila) with Mitzi Hamilton. Some regional Equity Productions as associate choreographer and performer include: Chicago, Bye bye Birdie, A Chorus Line, Sister Act, Steel Pier. TV: NBC “Saturday Night Live”, Nickelodeon’s “I Carly”. Kat has been a faculty member at New York’s Premier Professional Dance studio STEPS ON BROADWAY since 2000. Kat teaches Jazz, Contemporary, and Theater Dance. She is also a guest Faculty at the school at Steps children’s program. Since 2015 she has been a judge at Dancers Inc competition. For the last 3 years Kat has been a choreographer for winning and top place finalists in the prestigious YAGP and ADC IDC competitions. Kat also teaches acting classes for beginning to advanced level actors.
Karen Maney (Ms. Karen): Music Director, Piano and Voice Teacher
Karen has worked in musical theater in the Asheville and Raleigh areas as a music director, pit conductor, rehearsal accompanist, singing coach, pit keyboardist, and music teacher for community and professional theater as well as children's workshops and bootcamps. Her formal training is a BSEd in Music Education with a choral conducting focus and Suzuki Music Teacher Training in both piano and voice. Karen works with young singers to safely develop their vocal technique and musicianship skills that they can apply to musical theater pursuits as well as to many other singing styles.
Laura Delauney (Ms. Laura): Music Director, Music Class Instructor
Laura is a lifelong musician, passionate educator, and lover of musical theater. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of Richmond and a Master of Arts in Teaching from UNC-Chapel Hill. Laura has taught in schools and led choirs of all ages in the Triangle since 2003. She is the Founding Director of Cary-Apex Youth Choir, established in 2018. Her educational philosophy is rooted in growth mindset, opportunities for students at every level, and a belief that the arts are essential to the human experience.
Emily Freer (Ms. Emily): Acting Instructor
Emily is a Raleigh-based actress and teaching artist. She graduated with her BFA in Musical Theatre from William Peace University and teaches around the area at places such as Cary Arts Center, Raleigh Little Theatre, The Justice Theatre Project, Seed Art Share, and here at TAP! She is passionate about creating an environment for students to have fun, be safe, and learn about the world of theatre.
Gillian Wensell (Ms. Gillian): Acting Instructor
Gillian graduated from Queens University of Charlotte with a degree in Early Childhood Education and Theatre. During her time in Charlotte she sought out many teaching and acting opportunities. She worked with elementary schools as a volunteer in the classroom and even dressed as Cinderella for character visits! When not in schools, she worked with the Charlotte Make A Wish chapter and performed at Carowinds Amusement Park. Gillian has always enjoyed working with students, especially when a script or stage is involved! She has discovered that giving children the chance to embrace their creativity and imagination is the best way to learn with them and watch them grow.
Lauren Ragsdale (Ms. Lauren): Acting Instructor, Administrative Assistant
Originally from Tennessee, Lauren moved to the Triangle a few years ago for college, and continues to stay in the Raleigh area and perform. A recent graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, she earned B.A. degrees in both Dramatic Arts and Music with a specialization in Vocal Performance. Lauren's recent collaborations include Theatre Raleigh, Theatre in the Park, Kenan Theatre Company, Burning Coal Theatre, and UNC Opera. She has also served as the Musical Director for Center Theatre Company in Chapel Hill, before starting at TAP. She loves working with kids and watching them make their own personal connections with theatre in order to create a lifelong passion.
Ms. Laura Delauney
Ms. Kat Mowat Murphy
Ms. Katie Clarke
Ms. Melissa Dunn
Mr. Dylan Bailey