Laura Beatty; GSOA Children’s Playhouse Music Director
Laura Beatty started with the GSOA Children’s Playhouse at the age of 11 in the ensemble of its premiere production of Annie. She now has returned to GSOA and has directed music in six shows including Shrek, Annie Get Your Gun, and Into the Woods. She also directed music in the 2014 Summer Camps Beauty and the Beast Jr. and 101 Dalmations. Laura got her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Greensboro College with a choral emphasis. She currently teaches elementary music in Hickory, North Carolina and is the pianist at Bathesda United Methodist Church in Gastonia.
Emma Hanson; GSOA Children’s Playhouse Stage Manager
Emma Moriaty relocated to the US in 2015 from Chelmsford, England. Emma grew up with theatre in the UK and started performing in Pantomime’s at age 10 later going on to teach in the same class she had attended. Emma studied theatre in Chelmsford and went on to direct and perform at several local theatres. Performances include Jo in ‘Memory of Water’, Lady Capulet in ‘Romeo & Juliet’, Shelby in ‘Steel Magnolias’ and Catherine in ‘Northanger Abby’. Locally Emma played an immigrant in CPCC’s ‘Ragtime’ and Mrs Cratchit in Theatre Charlotte’s ‘A Christimas Carol’. Directing credits include ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged’, ‘Happy Savages’, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ and ‘Rumplestiltzkin’. Emma has worked in the US for a number of years before moving, most recently continuing the position of Production Stage Manager at Stagedoor Manor in New York. At Children’s Theatre of Charlotte Emma was stage manager for the ‘Liars’ school tour. Emma worked with Sheboygan Theatre Company as a dialect coach for their production of ‘My Fair Lady’.
Ethan Parker; GSOA Children’s Playhouse Technical Director
Ethan Parker has been actively involved in local theatre for the past decade. He began working as the technical director with Gaston School of the Arts in early 2015, designing and building the set for Annie Get Your Gun. His credits in theatrical set design and construction include Into the Woods (GSOA 2015, CLT 2016), The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (GSOA 2015, 2016), The Importance of Being Earnest (GSOA 2016), West Side Story (GSOA 2016), The Addams Family: A New Musical (CLT 2016), Amahl and the Night Visitors (GSOA 2016, 2017), Pygmalion (GSOA 2017), Next to Normal (GSOA 2017), Fiddler on the Roof (GSOA 2017), The Secret Garden (GSOA 2017), Young Frankenstein (GSOA 2017) and TheMousetrap (GSOA 2018). Besides working on mainstage shows, Ethan has instructed at workshops, classes, and camps in light and audio design and engineering, set design and construction, and backstage management since 2016, as well as designing lights and sets for various recitals, classes, and camps in the local community. When not working on the technical side of theatre, Ethan enjoys performing on stage, appearing in shows such as Young Frankenstein, Fiddler on the Roof, and West Side Story. Ethan is currently a full-time paramedic, husband, and father of two.
Lauren Parker; GSOA Children’s Playhouse Artistic Director and Drama Student Group class
Lauren is a former Oetgen Theatre Scholar at Belmont Abbey College, who has over two decades of theatre experience in almost every capacity. She began acting at the age of four and has been in quite a few productions over the years. She continues acting, most recently seen as “Paulette” in Legally Blonde (CLT, 2016). Lauren also has almost a full decade of tech experience, both behind the scenes and in the house, as well as in cinematography. She began working in the Playhouse as the house stage manager in 2014. Lauren’s GSOA directorial debut was Into the Woods in 2015. Since becoming the Artistic Director of the Playhouse in December of 2015, Lauren has directed numerous shows such as The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (GSOA, 2015), Into the Woods (CLT, 2015), The Importance of Being Earnest (GSOA, 2016), West Side Story (GSOA, 2016) and The Addams Family: A New Musical (CLT, 2016). Lauren has been the drama instructor for many different ages since August 2014, which has successfully performed a small-scale show each semester. Several of Lauren’s former students have gone on to obtain star roles in local theaters & have even landed parts in films. In 2016, Lauren began co-directing GSOA’s summer drama camps. Lauren is also the founder of GSOA’s improv & travel troupe, “From the Top!”, which seeks to bring theatre into the community in venues outside of the ordinary stage.
Blair Stepp; Musical Theatre Dance Instructor
Blair Stepp is a homeschool graduate from Creekside Academy. She is currently attending Cleveland Community College seeking her Associate of Arts after which she plans to transfer to UNCG and major in Arts Administration with a minor in dance. Blair has experience in both competitive and performance dance. She began dancing at the age of four and is trained in many different dance styles including ballet, pointe, tap, lyrical, jazz, modern, hip hop, and musical theatre. She has received training from four different studios over the years and has been trained and performed at various dance conferences and The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She has danced in many productions from classical ballets to musical theatre shows. Her favorite roles include the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Odette in Swan Lake, Sarabi in The Lion King, Nessarose in Wicked, and most recently Anita in West Side Story. She has also choreographed several shows for community theater these last two years including Into the Woods, Shrek, Jungle Book, and The Addams Family. She enjoys acting in plays as well and began her acting at GSOA as Tall Alice in Alice in Wonderland Jr. a few years ago. She has been a part of numerous shows including Into the Woods, Shrek Jr., Legally Blonde Jr., West Side Story and is currently in The Addams Family.