WHO WE ARE
Kristen Donelle Livengood is the Parkway Playhouse Managing Director. She is also the Creator and Director of “Get the Hook”, Parkway Playhouse’s teen improv comedy troupe. Kristen enjoys teaching acting and improvisational comedy to students of all ages. Other interests include acting, improvisational comedy, singing, dancing, directing, and writing. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
“I knew that I was interested in performances when, as a young child I could become completely engrossed by someone singing on television. I discovered I was passionate about theatre when I saw The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek for a class credit in college and was rendered so speechless after seeing what theatre could be, that I changed my major the next week. I’ve been obsessed ever since.” She lives in Asheville with her husband.
Chelsea Wilson Thayer
Chelsea Wilson Thayer is the interim Director of Education at Parkway Playhouse. “I consider myself both a teacher and an artist. Having completed my Masters’ degree at New York University in Educational Theater and having trained in London and Ireland with the foremost experts in the field I feel confident in my ability to use theater as a tool to both educate and engage students while enriching their lives. I believe in theater—its’ ability to transform a community, its’ power to enlighten and redefine. I believe my passion for the art form is apparent in my work.” She, her husband, Bryan, and three children live in Bakersville.
Scenic Shop Supervisor
A man of few words, but diligent action.
Parkway Playhouse Junior Teaching Artists
Kristen Livengood holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre from UNC Greensboro where her focus was acting and directing. Since then, she has discovered a love of performing and teaching improvisational comedy and has studied with Rick Andrews (Magnet Theatre), Holly Laurent (The Second City), and Chris Trew (The New Movement). She has appeared onstage at Diana Wortham Theatre, Parkway Playhouse, Haywood Arts Regional Theatre, The Feichter Studio, and Asheville Community Theatre. Most recently, she directed The Music Man JR, James and the Giant Peach JR and Jungle Book KIDS for Parkway Playhouse Junior. She is also the founder and director of Parkway Playhouse’s high school improv comedy troupe Get The Hook.
Jenny got her start in theatre at Burnsville Elementary School when she starred as a Southern woman in a Civil War play. After the theatre bug bit, continued to act in plays in middle and high school, and worked at the Parkway Playhouse through high school and college as an intern and staff member, from 1997-2003. She attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she attained her BFA degree in Theatre Education. She then returned to her roots, to teach theatre at both Cane River and East Yancey Middle Schools, where she has been teaching 14 years.
Chelsa Wilson Thayer
“I consider myself both a teacher and an artist. Having completed my Masters’ degree at New York University in Educational Theater and having trained in London and Ireland with the foremost experts in the field I feel confident in my ability to use theater as a tool to both educate and engage students while enriching their lives. I believe in theater—its’ ability to transform a community, its’ power to enlighten and redefine. I believe my passion for the art form is apparent in my work.” She, her husband, Bryan, and three children live in Bakersville.
Erika has been working in the public school arena as a 6th grade Language Arts teacher for 12 years. Growing up, Erika spent most of her free time in middle school and high school involved in the theater, being very active with her local community theater, attending Governor’s School for Drama, and creating a touring Children’s Theater in college. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Performance of Literature (with a focus on Children’s Literature), she got a job teaching drama to adults with disabilities in the nonprofit sector in Asheville. She sought a Master’s Degree in Teaching Middle Grades Language Arts from Western Carolina University. As an educator, Erika has been named Teacher of the Year for her county, awarded National Board Certification, participated in the NC Governor’s Teacher Network, and spent a year as an Educational Policy Fellow.
Amy received her Master’s Degree in Middle Grades Science and Language Arts Education from the University of Georgia. She was a classroom teacher for almost a decade before pursuing interests in conservation education. Amy has authored inquiry-based nature art and science curriculum for PreK-3rd graders as well as K-12 forestry curriculum and pollinator curriculum for the Historic Orchard at Altapass on the Blue Ridge Parkway. She has served at Parkway Playhouse since 2013, first as a board member and volunteer, and then as a teaching artist, choreographer, and production manager for the Junior program. Always active and passionate about performing, she picked up dance again in her late 30s, taking ballet, jazz, modern, and pointe, and performed in High Country Youth Ballet’s Nutcracker production for three seasons. In 2007, she played a Kit Kat Girl in Cabaret, and she’s appeared in subsequent productions at Parkway Playhouse (9-5, Peter Pan, The King and I, Sherlock Holmes: The Curse of the Bloody Heart, Grease, You Can’t Take It with You, and Footloose).
Roberta is a graduate of Appalachian State University where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance. She has worked with Yancey County Schools as Choral Director for Cane River and East Yancey Middle Schools since 2001. Her students frequently make All-State Chorus for North Carolina.Roberta is well known in the community for her vocal stylings and has often been seen in Parkway Playhouse productions such as All Shook Up, Steele Magnolias, Little Shop of Horrors, and Seussical the Musical. She has been Music Director for such shows as Big River, NunSense and She Loves Me. Roberta is married to Rev. Bill Whiteside and serves as church musician at Vians Valley Presbyterian church, where her husband is pastor.
Board of Directors