Marlane Barnes got her MFA in Acting from the University of Texas at Austin and spent ten years in Los Angeles acting in film and television. Her credits include roles in Twilight Breaking Dawn P2, Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men, Ray Donovan, The Fosters, Masters of Sex, Rizzoli and Isles, Starz’s Now Apocalypse, NCIS-LA, iCarly, NBC’s pilot Salvation, and many independent films and pilots. She has taught Acting for the Camera at both the university and professional level and is excited to bring her skills to the actors at Flat Rock Playhouse and Studio 52.
CJ Barnwell (Head of Lighting and Visual Media) joined Flat Rock Playhouse in January 2014 as Master Electrician and in 2015, moved up to Head of Lighting and Visual Media. He has created designs for many Playhouse productions including South Pacific, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Million Dollar Quartet, and Always Patsy Cline. In 2020, CJ pivoted to a focus in visual media, with virtual productions including A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas, Nat Zegree’s Virtual Cabaret, and Studio 52's virtual student showcases. After graduating from the College of Charleston with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Technology, CJ went on to pursue various positions around the country. In the southeast, his projects include the world premiere of Curvy Widow and Brave New World at NC Stage and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with Immediate Theatre Project. See CJ's other current and upcoming projects at www.CJLights.com.
Tania Battista’s relationship with Flat Rock Playhouse began in 1997 as an Apprentice. For the following 15 years she wore many hats from performing in Main Stage performances, working as a backstage dresser, and teaching hundreds of kids in a variety of classes. She became the Director of Elementary Education and special events not long after the Education Building opened its doors. She continued to teach, direct, organize parades and special events and perform until 2014. She returned in 2019 to teach for Studio 52. Tania has a passion for working with kids and finds their playful spirits, enthusiasm, and innocent perspective on life quite infectious.
Lisa K. Bryant (Producing Artistic Director) taught her first class at Flat Rock Playhouse in 2000 under the mentorship of the unmatched and talented Betsy Bisson. From Music Theatre/Acting/Dance and Company/Conservatory instructor to Apprentice Director, Lisa has most often relished the opportunity to connect with students through the craft and merits of the performing arts. As the Producing Artistic Director for Flat Rock Playhouse, Lisa has directed numerous musicals and plays both on the Mainstage and formerly Playhouse Downtown including several YouTheatre/Studio 52 productions. Lisa holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Elon University and an MFA in Acting from The University of Central Florida. She's been a member of the Actor's Equity Association for over 20 years and has performed numerous times on stage and screen. Lisa was named FRP's Producing Artistic Director in 2014, and is honored to lead the same organization that inspired her own professional journey when she first came to 'the Rock' as a wide-eyed and eager 18 year old Apprentice.
Matthew Glover (Artistic Associate) is a Director, Choreographer, and Music Director. He became a Vagabond at age 11, performing in The Sound of Music and The Will Rogers Follies. From there, Matthew continued taking classes at FRP’s YouTheatre as well as performing in many other productions at The Rock. He received a BFA in Musical Theatre from Elon University and traveled the world performing in national tours, at regional theaters, on cruise ships, and at theme parks. As a director and choreographer, Matthew’s work has been featured on stages across the country, including FRP's recent productions of South Pacific, FRP Christmas, Aladdin, and The Little Mermaid. Matthew served as the Director of Dance at Burton, a performing arts high school in Virginia, taught as a music director and choreographer at Mill Mountain Theatre Conservatory, choreographed at Washington and Lee College, and has been a guest instructor for numerous dance companies and competitions. Matthew is grateful to be a part of the artistic community that first sparked his love of theatre and excited to give back to the next generation of artists at Studio 52.
Lauren Rogers Hopkins received her B.F.A in Music Theatre from Elon University. Originally from Hendersonville, NC, she grew up at Flat Rock Playhouse in the YouTheatre program and later worked for the theatre as an educator, choreographer, and the summer Apprentice director. In New York, Lauren was the tap assistant to Germaine Salsberg at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway and performed with Germaine’s tap group, Les Femmes, around NYC. For the past five years, Lauren was the studio director, performance program director, tap coordinator, and tap choreographer for Bluffton School of dance in Bluffton, SC. Her choreography won Entertainment Awards & Critics Choice Awards at Onstage New York, and she was nominated for the MTA Choreography Showcase at LA Dance Magic. As a performer, Lauren is a member of the Actor's Equity Association. Some of her favorite credits include Jennyanydots in Cats, Sarah in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Tammy in Hairspray and Silly Girl in Disney’s Beauty and The Beast. Lauren is currently a Professor of Dance at Converse College, leading classes in Beginning & Intermediate Tap, Musical Theatre Dance I & II, and Beginning Jazz, among others. She also directs and choreographs for the Dance Concert and is the resident choreographer for the Department of Theatre & Dance. She is so excited to be back at one of her most favorite places on earth, doing what she loves the most!
Anna Kimmell (Director of Education) is an actor, educator, and theatre artist from Atlanta, GA. A former 2007 Flat Rock Apprentice, Anna has also performed in regional productions at RI's Theatre by the Sea, CO's Lake Dillon Theatre, VA's Mill Mountain Theatre, AR's Arkansas Repertory Theatre, GA's Georgia Shakespeare and Theatre of the Stars, and on The Wizard of OZ National Tour, to name a few. As an educator, Anna specializes in musical theatre, acting, and dance curricula for students of all ages. She served as the Director of Education at Mill Mountain Theatre from 2013-2016 and Arkansas Repertory Theatre from 2016-2020, where she developed year-round theatrical training programs for all ages, designed and led theatre outreach initiatives, and directed and choreographed main stage, black box, and touring children's productions. Anna has also led theatre dance courses at Hollins University and the University of Central Arkansas and a series of theatre workshops for rural elementary students in Los Andes, Chile. Learn more at annakimmell.com.
Dennis C. Maulden has served since 1985 as the Resident Scene Designer at Flat Rock Playhouse, the State Theatre of North Carolina where he also serves as Apprentice Administrator. He has headed design programs at the University of Florida and the University of South Carolina, where he also was Departmental Director of Graduate Studies. Maulden, a scene designer since 1970, has designed in other university, community, and regional theatres as well as in New York. In addition to a long list of theatre classics, he considers himself privileged to have designed many premiere productions of straight plays, musicals, and operas. He received his MFA in Design from UNC-Greensboro in 1977 and is a member of USA, NY Local #829.
Bill Muñoz has been fortunate throughout his professional career (31 years and counting) to be an active member in three distinct Unions: Actor’s Equity Association, Screen Actor’s Guild (aka SAG/AFTRA) and IATSE, the Union for stagehands. He has also had the opportunity to teach at Western Carolina University and, most recently, at UNC-Asheville. Acting on stage, stage managing productions, working on film and TV, being a fight choreographer, teaching workshops and doing voice-over work have helped Bill stay current in this ever-changing industry. His philosophy of being a success in “the business” is to be able to make a living, maintain a level life-work balance and never lose passion for your work.
TJ Simba-Medel is Jersey all day, every day. He holds a BA in Theater Arts from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. As a 2015 Second City Chicago Bob Curry Fellow, he performed on Second City Mainstages, worked as a Diversity and Inclusion Facilitator for Second City Works, and is the first Filipino faculty member for The Second City Training Center in Chicago. Medel has devised works with The Neo-Futurists Theater (A Story Told in 7 Fights), Theater Unspeakable (Superman 2050, The American Revolution, Moonshot, The Sacajewea Project), and Chicago Slam Works House Ensemble (One Day When We’re All Robots, Have a Great Summer). Medel has performed in festivals such as the Detroit Improv Festival, Chicago Sketchfest, Chicago Improv Festival, Chicago Fringe Festival, Second City Los Angeles Diversity Festival, Montreal Fringefest, Toronto Combustion Festival, Manila Improv Festival, NBC’s Breakout Comedy Festival, and CBS’s Comedy Showcase. His television credits include numerous commercials, web series, and FOX’s Empire. As an educator, TJ has taught with Silk Road Rising, Chicago Improv Productions, Chicago Poetry Center, Urban Gateways, and the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. He is a former member of the legendary All Asian Improv Group Stir Friday Night and is the Founder of the Improvised Spoken Word Group PREACH!