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’.
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.