Experience on Stage and in the Classroom
Production Camp 1
Vanessa Keyser is a theatre teacher by day and active community theatre member at night. Along with a BFA in Theatre and an MLS, Keyser has more than 30 years of experience acting, directing, designing, and producing theatrical shows. Currently, she is on the council for Shakespeare on the Rocks, and is a co-founder of Star on the Mountain Production Company. Keyser believes that teaching theatre to kids provides them with opportunities to learn skills that can be applied to all contents and careers, including team building, communication, creativity, improvisation, and empathy. During our camp, students will have the opportunity to learn all aspects of theatre and participate in putting on a full production.
Anthony Michael Stokes
Musical Theatre Camp
Production Camp 2
Anthony Michael Stokes is a graduate of UTEP, where he received the first double B.F.A. in Music Theatre and Dance Performance in the school's history. Most recently, he was the Theatre Arts director at Coronado High School. During his first year as a high school teacher, he won the 6A District UIL One-Act Play Competition with "Dancing at Lughnasa." Other works at Coronado included the area premieres of both “Clue” (High School Edition) and “Heathers, the Musical,” as well as “A Christmas Carol,” and the immersive haunting experience “Greek Tragedy: Blood and Vengeance.” He previously worked as a theatre teacher and cheer coach at Brown Middle School where he was named the 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year. He has performed with numerous companies in town including Viva El Paso and the UTEP Dinner Theatre. He is Program Director of KIDS-N-CO.’s Musical Theatre Camp where He directed “Spark of Creation” and “Into the Woods Jr.” For KIDS-N-CO.’s mainstage season, he directed “Willy Wonka,” “Christmas Cheer,” and the Southwest premiere of
“13 the Musical,” Most recently, he directed “The 25th Annual Putnam CountySpelling Bee” and he also was a guest performer playing Sebastian in “A Little Mermaid.” Since his return to El Paso, he has worked as a guest artist with not only KIDS-N-CO., but also with Shakespeare on the Rocks, the El Paso Community College, as well as the UTEP Department of Theatre and Dance. He has worked in South Korea as a teaching performing artist, choreographer and head costume designer at Gyeonggi English Village and trained as a puppeteer with the Sesame Street Puppeteer workshop. Credits include traveling the world in 3 national tours including “The Berenstain Bears LIVE,” “Seasons of Miracles,” and the 1st national tour of “Clifford,” where he originated the roles of Charley/Mr. Partland. Other credits include Dan in “Next to Normal” (EPCC), and Othello in “Othello” (SOTR), Carnaval de Danzas (Guest Artist), and the dual roles of Hondo (puppet)/Walt (human) in the new musical “Aisle Six” (NY International Fringe Festival). He had the privilege of appearing as Arnall in Israel Horovitz's “Line,” New York city's longest running play, playing at 13th Street Rep. Mr. Stokes is a published author with his first children's book "Chromy Chronicles: Book One.” Mr. Stokes is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association.
"For some, Theatre becomes that safe space for people to truly be themselves, free of ridicule or judgment. It becomes place where they can feel free to explore possibilities. Because theatre encompasses so many facets and subjects, exposure to theatre or any of the arts for that matter is exposure to life and humanity. This summer i hope to not only create that kind of environment for students but I want this summer to be magic, I want to create theatre magic for the kids, with the kids, and for the community!"
Kinder Camp 1
Vanessa Payan is a proud public school teacher and Hogwarts alumni. Go Gryffindor. She has been teaching theatre for more than 12 years after graduating from UTEP in 2007. She credits KIDS-N-CO for starting off her wonderful career in children’s theatre and giving her the confidence to excel in the field. She is excited to be returning to kinder camp as it is her favorite camp to teach because her own offspring can join her! She has been with SISD for 10 years and has received numerous awards which include Teacher of the Year, SISD Elite 8, and 10 years of one act success which includes best show, best actors, best actresses, best stage manager, best tech, and so on. She focuses on identifying your child’s strength and using that to empower their confidence! Students can expect basic theatre vocabulary, singing, rapping, dancing, and acting!