Drama Department



Leslie Hodnett; GSOA Drama Instructor

Leslie Hodnett directed her first play forty years ago when she was fifteen.  She was the youngest Director of musicals at the Little Theatre of Gastonia in 1978 and served there until 2015 as a past President of the Board of Directors, Member of the Board of Directors, Artistic Director, Costume Designer, Set Designer and Director of the Summer Workshops and LTG Youth Guild.  Her favorite regular season shows were Children of Eden, Godspell, The Secret Garden and Narnia. She has directed at First Methodist Church Theatre and the Gaston School of the Arts and costumed for area high schools for the last thirty years.  Her proudest achievement at LTG was the formation of the Youth Guild which produced 13 the Musical, You’re and Good Man Charlie Brown and Cats the Musical. Leslie was born in Alexandria, Virginia and has been a Gaston County resident since 1967.  Leslie graduated from Gaston Day School and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from UNC Chapel Hill. She worked as a Business Valuation Specialist at the Investment Banking Departments of Interstate Johnson Lane and Philpott Ball and Company for fifteen years before she retired to focus on her five children. As a long-time advocate of public schools, Leslie served as President of several area PTAs and was awarded the Gaston County Volunteer of the Year, the WSOC Nine Who Care Award and the Governor’s Volunteer Award for her work in the Accelerated Reading Program at Sherwood Elementary.  Leslie lives in Gastonia with her husband Michael Hodnett of Hodnett Law, PA, a firm specializing in Family Law.  Her youngest children are Kieran, a Senior at UNCCH majoring in Computer Science and German and Aynslee, who is a Sophomore with a Presidential Merit Scholarship at The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY majoring in Painting.

Jake Nicks; GSOA Drama Instructor

Jake has been volunteering and performing in local community theatre for the past ten years. He got his start at South Point High School under the direction of Chuck Stowe, and was part of the Jekyll and Hyde cast that won the Blumey Award for Best Musical in 2012. He has been the stage manager and an assistant director for the Encore Theatre Company Youth Guild each summer, where he enjoys volunteering his time helping youth build a passion for theatre. He most recently served as Production Assistant for You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, at Stuart Cramer High School in March.

When performing, some of his favorite roles have been Horton in Seussical the Musical at South Point High School, Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Little Theater of Gastonia, and his role singing “Beautiful City” in Godspell as an Abbey Player. Jake has appeared on stage with Belmont Abbey College, the Little Theater of Gastonia, Encore Theatre Company, and most recently the Kings Mountain Little Theatre. Jake also enjoys spending his time volunteering at the Gaston Campus of Elevation Church. With many years of experience in singing, acting, stage management, and tech theatre, he cannot wait to share his knowledge and passion with the kids at GSOA!