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Meet Our Teaching Artists

Benji Braswell (They, them) is so excited to be the new Director of Education and Outreach for the Civic Theatre. Jefferson High School's Theater teacher and Jefferson Players's director. Their most recent show directed at Jeff was SpongeBob the Musical. They are an 8-year certified public educator who has taught grades k-12 throughout Texas, Colorado, Illinois, and now Indiana. They are so excited to start as the Director of Education and Outreach at Civic. They feel incredibly lucky to be working alongside such passionate artists and educators who care equally about the community.

Benji has lived a life centered around theatre. Originally from West Texas, Benji was raised performing in Shakespearean productions at The Globe of the Great Southwest. They earned their undergraduate degree in theatrical directing from Columbia College Chicago while working as an actor in Chicago’s bustling theatre scene. Benji earned their Master's degree in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder where they worked as a dramaturg and teaching artist for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Benji's love for storytelling and the social impact of theatre has led them to teach all age groups throughout their career and direct multiple non-profit groups such as ArtsUnderground in Colorado and GuideRight in Chicago. Their goal is ultimately to share the joy of theatre-making with their students and inspire positive and meaningful social change in their community through storytelling.

 

 

 

Frank Allen holds a Bachelor of Education from Butler University and currently teaches English at Jefferson High School where he is the co-sponsor of the Jefferson Players. This is Frank’s first season with Civic, but he has been involved with most-every aspect of theatrical production over the last two decades. With a background in teaching English, Frank loves helping Shakespeare come alive for students; both in the classroom and on the stage.

 

Anthony (Tony) Sirk has 20 years of experience in theatre and education. He has worked for numerous colleges including Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, Point Park University, and Ball State University Department of Theatre and Dance. Tony has worked as a freelance designer across the country including an Off-Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He is the current director of Boilers Out Loud a Purdue University LGBTQ+ storytelling show and also directs at the Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette. anthonysirk.com

 

Micah Davis has been working with Civic since 2018's production of Guys and Dolls Jr., and since then her love for the Monon Theater has only grown. Graduating in 2021 from Purdue with double majors in Acting and Human Services, she's always had a soft spot for youth theatre; one of her proudest accomplishments is directing She Kills Monsters in 2022. In those rare instances she's not being theatrical, she enjoys spending quality time with her feline companions Mabel and Milo.  

Jacob Brown holds a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Saint Joseph's College. He is currently working at Purdue University in the College of Education as a Community and Mentoring Engagement Coordinator. Prior to his career at Purdue, Jacob taught for 7 years in public education as a PreK teacher and a kindergarten teacher. He has recently joined the Civic Theatre as a youth program instructor. He is excited to share his love of learning with the youth of Civic Theatre and utilize his teaching experience to offer a range of learning opportunities for all. When Jacob is not working at Purdue, he enjoys spending time with his partner Cordell, his dog Scooby, and cat Luca. He also enjoys trying new recipes in the kitchen and working in his yard. 

Kyle Brown is a Registered Behavior Technician at LittleStar ABA by day and a Civic Theatre jack-of-all-trades by night. Kyle started volunteering at Civic in 2019 by acting in the 10-Minute Play Festival and has since acted in over ten shows and staged readings since. As well as acting, Kyle recently directed the CYT show “Airness”, has assistant directed numerous times, stage managed, ran lights and sound boards, backstage managed, painted, and built sets for numerous Civic shows and events. Kyle has taught classes for Civic before and finds his strengths lie in character acting, so he is thrilled to be spreading his knowledge about building a character to younger generations. 

Daniel Condreay has been volunteering with Civic since 2022, and he is a junior at Purdue studying Psychological Sciences. He fell in love with theater and dance in high school and has continued to pursue his passion for both. Daniel has been in over 20 theater productions but has always had a special place in his heart for choreographing. He has experience choreographing show choirs, musicals, and plays and has been a dance captain for some productions. When not on stage, Daniel enjoys baking and reading graphic novels.

 

Julie Baumann  holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from DePauw University, with an eclectic background in formal classroom teaching, theatre performance, direction, and production.  She came to Civic Theatre in 2015 as the Director of Education and Outreach, designing and implementing year-round educational programming for ages 3-adult as well as fostering multiple community outreach programs.  She currently teaches music for Dayton and Hershey Elementary.  She has been directing youth theatre for over 20 years in multiple capacities.  Julie has two hilarious daughters, two grown stepsons, one very patient husband, and a cat named Hobbes.   

Cordell Ford holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University and has been working for the Lafayette School Corporation since 2021. He recently joined the Civic Theatre family this past season in All Shook Up, but has had a passion for theatre since he was a student. Cordell has been a part of many shows both onstage and behind the scenes. He is excited to use his experience as an educator and love of the theatre to help inspire young performers! When he is not at the theatre or busy teaching, he enjoys spending time with his partner, Jacob, their dog, Scooby, and cat, Luca.

Kennedy Houser is currently in nursing school at St. Elizabeth School of Nursing. She has been involved in theater on and off stage ever since she was little. She started at CYT last year as a counselor for Moana Jr., and has since assisted with 2023’s Spring Break Camp and this past summer’s “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.”  She directed for the 2022-23 season at Clinton County Youth Theater. She did 6 years in dance and went to Chicago National Dance Association convention during those years. When she’s not in the theater, she coaches girls’ basketball. Both on the court and on stage, she works to help youth grow their passion while also teaching lifelong skills. 

Liam Kelley is in his tenth year of being a Civic Volunteer and has participated in 30 productions overall, 21 having been with Civic Theatre. He has been onstage, backstage, and in the booth as well as Assistant Directing for Godspell Jr. coming this season! He is thrilled to be able to share his knowledge of the workings of a show with young thespians to use for their theatrical journeys

T.J. Rosa is a life-long volunteer at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette. She has been a teaching artist at Civic for the past 8 years, and is entering her 4th year as a 4th grade teacher at West Lafayette Intermediate School. She loves everything about theatre, but has a special spot in her heart for the technical side of the art, having stage managed and directed over a dozen main stage and youth productions in the past 10 years. TJ's favorite color is yellow and her favorite thing to do is sing and dance with her friends.

Brian Tyrrell, director of Love/Sick at Civic Theatre, February 2024, is a retired theatre professor, Equity actor and Purdue Theatre graduate, MFA and MA. For six years he was the Playwriting Awards Chair for the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival. He is the co-founder of the Northwest Playwrights Alliance at the Seattle Repertory Theatre. His most recent directing credits include Shaw’s Saint Joan and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, both at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.

Rachel Wallace (she/her) has been involved with theater throughout her life both on and off stage. She has been performing at Civic since 2016 and volunteering with Civic Youth Theater since 2018. Her efforts at Civic Youth include helping with educational classes, directing youth shows (Flora and Ulysses, Walk Two Moons, and A.D. on Frozen Jr. as well as Still Life With Iris) and volunteering during shows. Outside of Civic, Rachel is a Registered Behavioral Technician at Cornerstone Autism Center. In addition to providing ABA therapy to kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder for the past 4 years, she has also worked as a preschool teacher, a nanny, and worked in varying roles in multiple classrooms for the past 10+ years. Rachel is currently completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and ABA at Purdue University Global, intending to pursue a Master’s Degree in a related ABA or educational field afterwards. She is a strong advocate for inclusivity both in and out of educational settings, and believes deeply that theater should be a safe place for all folks. Rachel lives in West Lafayette and shares her life with her teenager, her dog, her person, and her circle of supportive family and friends.  

Emily Candelario-Rosa (She/her) has been teaching youth in one way or another for almost 20 years, whether it was with the Girl Scouts, as a camp instructor, or as a fight choreographer. You may recognize her as the Civic Theatre Office Manager, frequently behind the Box Office or darting around Civic. Emily, originally from North Carolina, wears several hats in the theatre world. Armed with degrees in Technical Theatre and Scenic Painting, she’s been a Props Designer at the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte (NC), Costume Designer at Summer Stock Stage (IN), Scenic Designer at Theatre 71 (NY), and Master Combat Instructor and Choreographer (Stage Door Manor, NY). Emily has loved showing kiddos the magic of theatre and wants to emphasize that it's never too late to learn something new. She lives in Lafayette with her wife Bai and their 3 kitties (Jackie Chan, James Bond, and Bruce Lee) and their dog Harrison Ford. 

Interested in being a CYT teaching artist?
Reach out to Benji!

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