Teaching Artists

Raven’s team of Teaching Artists work in conjunction with the classroom teachers at our Partner Schools to teach theatre in the classroom. This dedicated group of theatre professionals is managed by Raven’s Educational Outreach Director, Kelli Strickland.

Current Teaching Artists

Anthony Peeples

Anthony Peeples is currently a Chicago based actor and teaching artist who has worked with Raven Theatre Chicago for the past five years. At Raven, Anthony works as a teaching artist in the Chicago Public Schools conducting theatre workshops and residencies over various grade levels. Anthony is one of many teachers for Raven Theatre’s Artist Training classes. He also serves as director for Raven’s summer camp theatre youth program having just directed the 2009 Summer Camp production of “Isabella e La Bestia” a Commedia Dell’Arte Beauty and the Beast. His Chicago acting credits include eta Creative Arts Foundation, Next Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Victory Gardens, Studio One Dance Theatre, EMPAACT, Raven Theatre and First Folio Shakespeare. Regional acting credits include The Cleveland Play House, The Phoenix Theatre Circle for Children, CATCO, Actors’ Theatre, The Red Herring Ensemble, and The St. Louis Black Rep. were he preformed numerous school matinees and post show seminars for several St. Louis Public School students. Anthony holds a B.A. in Theatre and Spanish from The Ohio State University were he studied movement, acting and directing with Marcel Marceau, Anne Bogart and members of The SITI Company. Anthony has also taught, toured, performed, choreographed and directed as a staff member for The Ohio State University: Department of Theatre, The Phoenix Theatre for Children in Columbus, Ohio and the Cleveland Play House also in his native Ohio.

Ricky Harris

Ricky has works as a teaching artist with many organizations in the city of Chicago: Raven Theatre,  Victory Gardens Theater, The Boys & Girls Club and the Auditorium Theatres Hands Together Hearts to Arts Summer Camp.  Ricky is also a music and theater instructor at the Beverly Arts Center on the city’s southside.  Ricky is a proud member of The Barrel of Monkeys Children's Theatre of Chicago where he not only teaches within their school programs but participates in their weekly Monday night show, That’s Weird Grandma!  As an actor  Ricky has been in many plays and musicals throughout the area.  He was recently seen in Raven Theatre's The Cherry Orchard.

Amy Malcolm

Amy Malcolm teaches and directs everything from acting skills to Shakespeare to improv. She has taught/directed with companies including Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, The Viola Project (a Shakespeare camp for girls), DreamBig, and Raven. She has also taught commercial acting and modeling to pre-teens and acting to teens at the Chicago Performing Arts Academy in downtown Chicago. As a performer, Amy has appeared at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, Lifeline Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Quest Theatre Ensemble and First Folio.

Mechelle Moe

Mechelle Moe is a founding member of The Hypocrites, and has appeared on many stages throughout Chicago. She most recently appeared in TimeLine's Jeff nominated production of Not Enough Air as well as their productions of Children's Hour and Paradise Lost. In 2003, Mechelle was awarded a Joseph Jefferson Citation and After Dark Award for her performance in Sophie Treadwell's Machinal. She also works as a teaching artist for Lookingglass, Court, Raven and Lifeline theaters.

Julie Ganey

Julie Ganey is a Chicago based actor, improviser, writer, director and teacher. As an actor, she has worked with Victory Gardens, Northlight, Goodman, Chicago Dramatists, Noble Fool and Drury Lane, among others. She is a member of 2nd Story, where she regularly performs her original work, and has been featured on NPR’s WBEZ.  Her solo shows The Half-Life of Magic and Love Thy Neighbor…till it hurts have been produced by Fillet of Solo and Next Theatre. Through Wavelength, an award winning comedy ensemble that performs for educators, Julie has created and led workshops for teachers and executives nationwide on communication skills and improvisation. She has also served as Outreach Director at Next Theatre, where she has led community members in the creation of civic-based theatre projects that explore social issues. In addition, Julie has designed lots of programs for kids, on everything from violence prevention to etiquette. Her bullying prevention program, Stand Up on the Schoolyard, has been presented to students and educators within the Chicago Public School system and across the country.

Kelvin Roston, Jr.

Kelvin is an actor/singer/musician from St. Louis. He recently appeared as Jackie Wilson in The Black Ensemble Theatre's reprise of “My Heart is Crying, Crying: The Jackie Wilson Story,” also has appeared at Court Theater in both “Porgy and Bess", and in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”. Roston’s other credits include work at Congo Square Theatre (in “The Nativity” and “Saint James Infirmary”), and at Writers’ Theatre (“The Old Settler”). Kelvin has worked as a teaching artist with Raven Theatre, Pegasus Players and Chicago Dramatists in their outreach programs.

Jason Sperling

Jason works as an actor, singer, teacher, and director around Chicago.  He is an original company member of Barrel of Monkeys, a children’s writing and theater program, and has worked with them for over thirteen years.  Jason created and teaches the drama program at St. Juliana school, now in its fifth year, and directs there as well and he is currently on faculty at Chicago High School for the Arts;  in addition to his work as a teaching artist at Raven Theatre, he has taught and directed with the CAST program in Oak Park for five years; he is a poet/educator with the Chicago Park District/Chicago Humanities Festival’s Words@Play program, and he has also taught and music directed for Beverly Arts Center and Prologue Theatre.  Additionally, Jason has directed and music directed with Elmhurst Children’s Theatre, and directed the student-authored sketch comedy show at Chicago Improv Festival’s Summer Theatre Camp in 2009.  He has worked as a performer at theatres including Marriott, Drury Lane, Apple Tree, Northlight and Ravinia, and can often be seen in BOM’s hit show That’s Weird, Grandma, now in its ninth year at the Neo-Futurist Theatre (www.barrelofmonkeys.org).

Emily Mannakee

A Fine Arts major in college, Emily has exercised her passion for the arts—dance and theatre in particular—through work over the course of the last seven years at Picture Us Different dance studio in Park Ridge and her former business Dancing Soles, as a performer and choreographer.  Currently a fifth grade teacher at Hayt Elementary, Emily fulfills her love for dance and the stage through numerous choreography opportunities at assemblies, plays and dance programs for the school and community.