Faculty 2016-17

WYART prides itself in bringing the highest level of professional artists and teachers from central Ohio and throughout the US to guide our students.  You will find exceptionally well-qualified professionals are teaching at the Playhouse.

Kirsten Upchurch*,Upchurch, Kirsten 2016 HeadshotTheatre Education Director

Kirsten has been working with Weathervane Playhouse on and off for over 15 years. Kirsten began her career at Weathervane Playhouse. She began volunteering  as a backstage hand, usher, concessions and anything she could be involved with here at Weathervane which eventually landed her her 1st job as an Assistant Director for The Children’s Workshop theater at Weathervane in 1996 at the age of 16. She then went on to earn her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance from Texas Christian University. She continued to follow her dreams and earned her Master’s of Fine Arts in Performance from Florida Atlantic University in 2005. Kirsten has performed with companies such as Palm Beach Drama Works, The Women’s Theatre Project, Hampstead Stage Company, The Alliance Theatre Lab, Rosebriar Shakespeare Co, Miami Edge Theatre. She was the founding Theatre Director of Artistic Soul Studios, an adjunct professor of Acting for Florida Atlantic University, and has been a Dialect Coach for the National Tours of Jekyll & Hyde(2014-15) & Flashdance (2016-17). Kirsten has held the following positions with Weathervane Playhouse over her tenure: General Manager, WYART Director, Production Manager, Production Stage Manager, Master electrician, Stage Hand, Props Master, Scenic Painter. Kirsten has toured as the Production Stage Manager for the Broadway National Tour of Jekyll & Hyde (2014-15)and The National & Canada, & New Zealand Tour of Flashdance the Musical (2015-16). Her favorite experiences include playing Lina Lamont in Weathervane’s 2012 production of Singin’ in the Rain,Directing a condensed version of The Merry Wives of Windsor for Rosebriar Shakespeare in 2007, and landing her first Broadway National Tour as a Swing Tech for Godspell. Kirsten is excited to be sharing her experiences, and passion with WYART students, families and our community.

*Kirsten Upchurch is a member of The Actor’s Equity Association.

Hollie Klem, Instructor Acting 3: The Business of Actingd4cb1e_0740cf2ec9864a0a99b04a96ece7b2b1

Starting at a young age, Ohio native, Hollie Klem has been an avid member of the art community. Her awarded fine art has been displayed in venues such as Webster Hall NY, Chelsea Hotel Gallery, NY and most recently found a home at Jade Gallery, OH. Founding Artistic Director of Haberdasher Threatre Inc, Klem has produced over 20 productions and events, while also teaching and directing. Her teaching credits include Passport to Broadway alongside Tony award winning directors, The Development School for Youth’s All Star Project along side prevalent main stream film actors and private schools around the greater New York City area . Klems favorite directing credits include Alice In Wonderland, The Maderati, Leak, The Wonderful Remix of Oz, A Christmas Carol and her devised directorial work in La Selva, the amazon jungle of Ecuador.

Tonya Kraner, Dance for Musical Theatre Levels 1-3


Tonya Kraner is well versed in choreographing, teaching and performing many different styles of dance including Tap, Hip Hop/Street Jazz, Musical Theatre, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, and Tumbling as well as foundations in Mixed Swing Styles, Clogging and Lyrical Signing utilizing ASL.

Ms. Kraner has trained and performed with many dance legens including Dianne Walker, Jimmy Slyde, Robert Reed, The Tap Dogs, Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, Cris Judd, Eddie Garcia, Sheila Barker, Tyce D’Orio, Mia Michaels, Mikhail Barychnikov, and Twyla Tharp. Ms. Kraner works as an instructor at The Ballet Academy in Newark, as an instructor for Susan’s Tap-n-Toe Studio in Lancaster where she also directs TNT Dance Team, and as an adjunct professor of dance and exercise for Ohio University. She worked previously at Weathervane Playhouse as the 2016 Resident Choreographer. She is thrilled to return to Weathervane as a WYART dance instructor!

Layne Roate, Instructor: Improv!, Backstage Workshop: Directing


Layne is an accomplished actor, who is very familiar to our Weathervane Playhouse audiences. You may have seen him as Prof. Harold Hill in our 2016 production of
The Music Man, or as Mark in our 2015 production of Rent. Layne studied with The Young Americans, and has been seen making headlines at companies such as: The Warehouse Theatre, Dare to Defy Productions, and Weathervane Playhouse. We are extremely excited for Layne’s creativity and expertise to found our first ever Sketch Improv Troupe!

Jason Speicher, Instructor: Stage Combat, Acting for Commercials

J.Speicher Headshot

Jason Speicher is the Artistic Director of Patient Zero Theatre Company in Columbus. He has been an ensemble member and manager of The Raconteur Theatre Company, and holds an Advanced Actor Combatant Certification from the Society of American Fight Directors. His fight choreography for the Actor’s Theatre of Columbus has been critically acclaimed. We are extremely excited he has decided to share his talents with WYART!




14192709_1184966851560023_3054878907940284841_nStephen Hanna, Instructor: Acting 2 

Stephen is a native to Columbus, OH. A graduate of Reynoldsburg High School. Stephen has earned his bachelors degree from the University of Phoenix while working as a professional theatre artisan around Columbus. His recent acting credits include 9 seasons with Actor’s Theatre,  Jacob in Columbus Civic Theatre’s production of Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, Renfield in SRO’s production of Dracula. Stephen has also been an acclaimed director with Rosebriar Shakespeare Theatre, as well as a stage manager with several  companies. Stephen is excited to bring his working knowledge and experience to WYART.

Jordon Phillips, Instructor: Acting 1

jordon-phillips-headshotJordon Phillips is incredibly excited to be returning to WYART as an Instructor! A WYART and Weathervane Almuni, Jordon performed on the Weathervane MainStage during the 2011-2014 seasons, favorite credits include, Artful Dodger (Oliver!), Christopher Wren (Mousetrap), and Patsy (Spamalot)
   Jordon has also performed across the nation for the Emmy Award winning educational program, “FoodPlay!” (2013-2015) as Johnny Junkfood, teaching children the benefits of healthy living, nutrition and how to juggle, as well as national television programs, “Supah Ninjas” (Nickelodeon) and “American Speed” (CMT). He has just returned to Ohio after performing this summer in the great state of Alaska as, Ed Burns (Legends&Lies).
A Virginia native, Jordon currently lives in Johnstown, Ohio where he discovered his love of performance through WYART and Weathervane, he is thankful and excited to return to his theatre home to share his passion with the WYART family and community!

Erika Twining Wills, Guest Instructor, Co-Instructor Musical Theatre Performance

Erika Twining Headshot

Former Theatre Education Director of WYART will continue on with us as a part time faculty member! A current student herself, Erika has a BA in Dance from the University of the Arts. She is an acclaimed director & choreographer, an accomplished performer, and an inspirational teacher.We are extremely excited for her to continue to share her knowledge and talents with our students as she completes her studies in Physical Therapy.


Jessica Wiseman, Co-Intstructor Musical Theatre Performance,

Jessica is in her 11th year as an educator and currently teaches vocal music at Liberty Middle School.  During the course of her career she has taught instrumental music, drama, musical theater, music theory, and broadcast journalism.  She also teachers private music lessons.  In her free time Jessica enjoys reading, running, and spending time with her dog Charlie and cat Grace.  She is excited to be joining the Weathervane staff this fall!




Dayton Willison, Instructor: Backstage: Costume Design, Puppetry, Introduction to Theatre

Dayton Willison is so glad to be joining the theatre teaching staff at Weathervane Playhouse. A graduate of Ohio university Dayton has been teaching all different elements of theater all around the state of Ohio. He has been an Teacher in residency at CATCO in Columbus, Ohio Valley Summer Theatre in Athens, Hocking College and Stuarts Oprea house in Nelsonville and the Decorative Arts Center in Lancaster just to name a few.






Kyle RichardsonTechnical Director Winter 2017.1965690_10203153063488317_69740412_o

Kyle Richardson has worked with the Weathervane Playhouse mainstage 2015 & 2016. His past credits include: Technical Director for Dial M for Murder, Nice Work if You Can Get it, The Music Man, Baskerville, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,  as a Carpenter for End Station Theatre Company in 2014 & Weathervane Playhouse’s production of Jekyll & Hyde, and as the TD/Master Carpenter for WYART’s The Addam’s Family. Kyle has also built his own house! He is excited to be a part of WYART this fall.



Kerbie Minor, Guest Kerbie Minor smInstructor

Kerbie Minor is elated to be joining WYART for the first time as a teacher. She received her BA in theatre and French from Bowling Green State University. After graduation she worked at Weathervane Playhouse as a costume intern and an actress before traveling to France to teach English for a year. She had the honor of costume designing WYART’s Legally Blonde the Musical Jr last year after working with Weathervane for a second season. She hopes to inspire the younger generation to foster a lifelong love of the arts.