Leadership and staff
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Judy Matetzschk-Campbell – Founder and Artistic Director

Judy Matetzschk-Campbell has directed and produced over 60 productions for young audiences since completing her Ph.D. in 1996. Matetzschk-Campbell holds an M.F.A. in Directing for Young Audiences as well as a Ph.D. in Dramatic Text Criticism from the University of Texas at Austin. While at UT Austin, Matetzschk-Campbell taught undergraduate classes in Dramatic Activities for the Elementary Classroom, a course designed to help pre-service teachers learn to use theatre as a teaching tool in their future classrooms. Her work with teachers also includes serving as a Primary Instructor for The Southeast Center for Education in Theatre at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where for ten summers she worked with teachers returning to school for advanced degrees and professional development credit. While at UT Austin Judy also served for four years as the Youth Season Coordinator where she coordinated communication between the Theatre Department and area teachers, organizing large groups of students to see UT’s extensive theatre for young audience productions in the B. Iden Payne Theatre on campus. 

Matetzschk-Campbell’s research specialization for her dissertation focused on New Play Development for Young Audiences and featured as her case study the three-year development of the award-winning play, The Yellow Boat by David Saar. Her work with Saar led to many other professional opportunities such as work on new plays with Metro Theatre Company, ChildsPlay, and the Children's Theatre of Sioux Falls among others. Her specialization in new play dramaturgy also resulted in her service as a dramaturg for the IUPUI Bonderman New Play Symposium for over 20 years. 

Before founding Pollyanna Theatre in 2000, Matetzschk-Campbell served as Director of Project InterAct at Zachary Scott Theatre Center for seven seasons where she directed ZACH’s outreach efforts to the schools and directed plays specifically written and designed to tour into Central Texas schools. Plays directed and produced by Matetzschk-Campbell for Project InterAct were performed for an average of 54,000 children each school year. Most of those days found her in the van with her cast and on an elementary school campus. Since founding Pollyanna Theatre Company, Matetzschk-Campbell has been responsible for both the artistic leadership of the company and all administrative oversight which includes Board Recruiting, Fundraising, Grant writing and reporting, contracting, accounts payable and accounts receivable. Campbell coordinates the work of the company’s Resident Designers, Resident Actors, and a team of administrators and interns totaling approx. 30 individuals per season. With a mission that includes the commissioning, developing, and producing of new plays for young audiences, Matetzschk-Campbell is responsible for developing each script that Pollyanna produces. Her work includes commissions by Sandy Asher, Lou Clark, Nick Kryah, Bethany Lynn Corey, Jonathan Graham, Holly Hepp-Galvan and many others.

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Andrew Perry, Stage Manager

Andrew Perry has been the Company Stage Manager for Pollyanna Theatre since 2007 and has been a part of well over 50 full productions. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Stage Management from TX State University San Marcos and has worked professionally in Austin for over fifteen years. He is also a sound designer, playwright, singer/songwriter, and plays ukulele along with lead vocals for the band Last Visible Dog.

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Bethany Harbaugh, Artistic Associate

Bethany earned her BFA in Theatre from Texas State University. Before joining Pollyanna, Bethany worked briefly at Walt Disney World in their Entertainment and Operations Departments. When she's not at a Pollyanna rehearsal or performance, you can find her tooling around town as a professional tour guide. Bethany joined Pollyanna over ten seasons ago and has appeared in countless Pollyanna Mainstage and Play & Play productions.  Most recently, Bethany has been assisting our Company Stage Manager and Artistic Director in a wide variety of organizational and stage management tasks.  Basically, Bethany is our Company Savior.

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Kelly Hasandras, Choreographer & Movement Specialist

Kelly Hasandras is a director, visual artist, dancer, actor, improviser and choreographer for stage and film.  In 2017, Kelly was nominated for Best Choreographer in Austin by the Austin Chronicle. Her choreography credits include Pollyanna Theater Company, Glass Half Full Theater Company, Hidden Room Theater Company, BodyShift Dance, VSA Texas, Austin Parks and Recreation Department, the Hideout Improv Theater, 20th Century Fox, CAKE films, Brandon Reich Productions, and Natalie George Productions.  Kelly is passionate about bringing the power of movement to people. She believes that through movement we can tell a powerful story and feel good doing it. 

Administrative Staff

Margo Blevins, Patron Communication Coordinator

Margo Blevins has been part of Pollyanna since moving to Austin in 2012. 

 

Sherri Walker Cline, Motley Crew Media, Media Relations Manager

Sherri Walker Cline joined the Pollyanna Theatre Company crew in 2018.

Playwrights

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Holly Hepp-Galvan

Holly is proud to be working on her eighth play with Pollyanna! Based in New York City, Holly writes plays for both children and adults.  She holds an M.F.A. in Playwriting from CUNY Hunter College and is a faculty member for the Lincoln Center Scholars program where she teaches courses in Playwriting, Creative Dramatics, and Theatre for Youth.

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Nicholas Kryah

Nicholas Kryah, Resident Artist with Metro Theater Company (St. Louis) for thirty-seven years, is an actor, director, designer, playwright and jack-of-all-trades. His plays include an adaptation of Beowulf, which toured nationally; A Short Hike on a Long Trail, which recounts his adventures on the Appalachian Trail; and Iceman, which opened at the Kennedy Center in 2000. Nick was honored to be a Write Now! finalist in 2013 with his play Birdsong and again in 2017 with My Name is Loofa Tutu. His play EVERYTHING IS ROUND was part of Pollyanna’s 2018-2019 season.

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Last Visible Dog 

Last Visible Dog is an eclectic-sound pop band formed in 2015 based in Austin, TX. THROUGH THE SLUMBER-GLASS is the first full production written by the group. Their first EP, Speak, was released in 2018 and can be found online everywhere where digital music is sold. Members have also been in the Austin bands The Rough Riders and bobbie.

Resident Designers

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Natalie George

Natalie George is an award-winning designer, producer, and director based in Austin, TX. She is the Executive Director of Natalie George Productions (NGP), a full service event and production company focused on creating experiences and entertainment in the thriving cultural climate of Austin and beyond. In its third year of business, NGP was awarded “Best of 2017” Critics’ Pick by The Austin Chronicle.  Find out more at www.nataliegeorgeproductions.com

Actors

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Michelle Alexander

Michelle is an Austin Native who prides herself on doing theatre. She loves the joy it brings to people of all ages when we get to tell stories. She is an educator as well and on the right day really enjoy teaching! She has performed on several stages around Austin, and is happy to make her debut with Pollyanna Theatre. 

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Mackenzie Allen

Mackenzie Allen is a senior at St. Edward’s University. She is pursuing her B.A in Theatre Arts with a minor in Musical Theatre. She is excited to work with Pollyanna Theatre!  

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Julius Alums

About me you ask? I’m an actor's actor with a wide range of talent and an even wider range of humbleness. I’ve been performing on stage for over a decade since I was age 12 in middle school. I perform mainly stand up and improvisational comedy and now shifting my career path to seriously acting on stage with the Pollyanna Theater Company. It is truly an honor to be a part of such a great group of amazing actors, writers, directors, and crew members who work tirelessly to improve and execute each performance to entertain, teach, and inspire the youth. I also like long walks on the beach and candlelit dinners while listening to Neil Diamonds greatest hits. Call me.

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Chase Brewer 

Chase Brewer is a graduate of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Austin credits: 

"Orestes/Thucydides" Deus Ex Machina (Whirligig Productions), "Knave of Hearts" Alice in Wonderland (Underbelly Theatre), "Leroy" A Bright New Boise (Hyde Park Theatre), "Mickey" Punkplay (Cap T Theatre), "Brad" The Rocky Horror Show (Doctuh Mistah Productions), and “Peter” The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

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Lucky Cantu

Lucky Cantu, age 11, is excited to make her debut with the Pollyanna Theatre. Since the age of 3, she has been working with and performing in local theatres and school productions and is currently in Murchison Middle School's Advanced Theatre Production. She has been in the Zach Theatre PPC Apprentice program and performed various roles in KidsActing productions from the Wicked Witch to Aladdin and Miss Hannigan. She was recently Lise in The Magic Fire with Different Stages which was nominated for Best Ensemble by the Austin Critics Table Awards. Having done stage, commercials, and film, she is happiest with a live audience and is most excited when the work shares a meaningful message about who we are and where we come from.

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Yvonne Flores

Yvonne Flores is very proud to have been in Pollyanna Theatre's production of THE TEXAS CHILI QUEENS, and will continue her run with the production in November. She has previously been involved in community theatre along with Different Stages and Teatro Vivo. She also hopes to continue to be a part of the Polly Theater company for she has much respect for all their hard and incredible work. Viva Teatro!

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Eva McQuade

Eva has appeared on stage and screen with recent productions including her very first solo show: Lady Macbeth & Her Pal Megan (Shrewd Productions), playing June 21 through July 6, 2019. Last: An Extinction Comedy (The Vortex Rep), The Noisy Neighbors or Il Campiello (Different Stages); Real Women Have Curves (Teatro Vivo), If Wishes Were Fishes (Pollyanna Theatre Co), Carmen (Generic Ensemble Co), Around the World in 80 Days (Penfold Theatre Co.), My Big Fat Bahookie (Renaissance Austin/The Vortex Rep - B. Iden Payne nomination), Aye, No! (Teatro Vivo - B. Iden Payne nomination), The Language Archive (Different Stages - received a B. Iden Payne Award for her portrayal of Emma). Eva is so grateful to all her friends and family for encouragement and support, especially Adrian.

The Board

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Margaret Walsh

Margaret first joined the Board of Pollyanna Theatre Company in 2012 and is currently serving as President of the Board.  While participating in the 2011 class Leadership Texas, Margaret was challenged to become more involved in her local community.  That experience led her to take an active role in the Board after having been a long time patron of their work. 

Margaret and her family went to their first Pollyanna production with their pre-school daughter.  She is now in high school but still talks of memories from many shows she has attended over the years.  It is reassuring to know that Pollyanna not only has a lasting affect but always leaves a message of hope and inspiration with their audience.

Professionally, Margaret is a Director of Process Engineering with Dell EMC services.  She has interests in RV travel, fashion, and entertaining.

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Kiran Dix

Kiran has spent nearly 30 years participating in and supporting Austin’s vibrant arts community, beginning with its music scene, which led her to theater and the performing arts. She had a slight detour into commercial property management along the way. Prior to this, she was Volunteer Coordinator at the LBJ Library and Museum, working with school groups of all ages. For the last 10 years, she worked in the Finance Dept. of the Long Center for the Performing Arts where she was introduced to the passion and magic of Pollyanna Theatre, a “Resident Company” of the organization. Witnessing the diversity of children attending, and how their smiles radiated after each performance, she became a devout fan of Judy Matetzschk-Campbell and the Pollyanna mission. After leaving the Long Center in September 2018, she was thrilled to be asked by Judy to serve as a member of the Pollyanna Board of Directors, because she strongly believes in its message and commitment to Austin’s under-served youth community. Seeing the joy and wonder on a child’s face after experiencing “Pollyanna,” melts her heart - a memory created for that child lasting a lifetime!

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Jayne Samuels

Jayne is an Executive Producer with the Hartmann Studios, a global marketing and event company.  Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Jayne trained as a ballet dancer when she was young and performed as a professional contemporary dancer for 15 years prior to her career in production. Jayne is passionate about the arts and social justice.  Since moving to Austin, Jayne has been an advocate for SAFE, CASA, and works with St. Christopher's Church to further outreach collaborations with organizations in Austin and Central Texas.

Jayne believes that arts programs are essential in teaching children how to understand and appreciate the diverse world around them.  Through arts education and programming, children learn compassion, self-discipline, self-esteem, and empathy for all people. It paramount that children of all socioeconomic backgrounds have equal exposure to arts programs on a regular basis. Jayne was introduced to the Pollyanna Theatre Company when she took her son to see his first play.  She joined the board to help further the company's mission to 'improve the solid academic foundation of high at-risk children through enrichment programs designed to support their general education and the curriculum.'

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Laura Guli

Laura is a Licensed Psychologist in Austin, TX, who specializes in working with children and their families. She earned a PhD in School Psychology from the University of Texas in 2004, and a Bachelors in English from the University of Virginia in in 1991.  Laura has been working with children directly for over 25 years, first as a psychologist, and before this as a theater and art teacher for elementary students in international schools where she directed a number of shows. Laura is the author of the Social Competence Intervention Program (SCIP), a widely used creative-drama based group intervention that teaches social skills to children on the autism spectrum. Her dissertation on this topic was nominated for an APA award and published in the peer-reviewed journal Arts in Psychotherapy in 2013.  Laura is also the playwright and lyricist of Sunflower: The Story of Amalie and Vincent, an original musical that addresses the issues of mental health, bullying and self-esteem in adolescents. Laura is passionate about the arts, and is also an award-winning published poet who has also been a featured reader at a number of venues in Austin. She simply loves theatre and is happy to have joined the Pollyanna Theatre team in 2020 to further support and help enrich the lives of children in the Austin, TX area!

Christine Sill

Kathy Collins