Meg Heimstead has worked in theatre as an actress, director, teacher, and arts administrator for over 20 years. She has been the supervisor at Creative Arts Theatre since 2015. Prior to coming to Creative Arts, she served as the director of education and the interim artistic director at American Stage in St. Petersburg, FL. Meg has directed over 25 theatre for young audiences’ productions, including Rapunzel, The Ugly Duckling, and The Little Mermaid for Creative Arts. As a teaching artist, she has specialized in working with at-risk and underserved youth, believing that a quality arts education should be accessible to all. As an actress, Meg was last seen in A Simple Theatre’s production of Good Egg where she earned a Theatre Tampa Bay Award nomination for Best Actress. Prior to that, she performed in freeFall Theatre’s productions of In the Next Room, Miss Julie and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the world premiere production of Congratulations, Joe! at A Simple Theatre, and August: Osage County at American Stage. In 2010 Meg was named the Most Consistently Surprising Actress by Creative Loafing Tampa. Meg holds a BFA in Performance from the University of Evansville in Evansville, IN. She also attended the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Jess Glass is a professional director, performer, designer, builder, writer, and educator. She has been working in the theatre arts world since 2003. Jess has performed professionally in the great, outdoor drama, Tecumseh! (Chillicothe, OH), at Disney World, at Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio Theater (Cookin’ with Gus and Holy Cannoli), and with the touring company, American Immersion Theater, as a Murder Mystery actor throughout the state of Florida. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Theater Arts from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, with a concentration in directing. Recent directing credits include: A Christmas Carol (writer, designer and director) Holly Twinkle-Toes and The Ho-Ho Holiday Heist (writer, designer and director), Cabaret (director and designer), Picasso at the Lapin Agile (director and designer), Hands On A Hard Body (director and designer) and Catch Me If You Can (director and designer). Jess is committed to working within the arts for the betterment of the local community. She believes that arts education enriches all our lives and should be easily and openly accessible for all, regardless of their social or economic background.
Christan McLaurine is a native of Nashville, Tennessee and received his degree in Theatre and Dance from Middle Tennessee State University. He served as the education coordinator at Hattiloo Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee where he oversaw youth theatre programs in schools. He also served as the artistic director for the city of Memphis’ MPLOY summer program which gave youths the opportunity to work various jobs in theatre by creating/performing multiple shows. As a traveling teaching artist for The Rev (Auburn, New York) and New Stage Theatre (Jackson, Mississippi), he was able to bring performing arts to schools and communities throughout their respective regions. He has worn many theatrical hats including performer, director, choreographer, designer, and stage manager. Some of his favorite performance moments include In the Heights (Ovations Dance Academy), Madagascar: The Musical (New Stage), Our Town (New Stage), Heathers: The Musical (Street Theatre), Once on This Island Jr. (Director/Hattiloo).
Abrien W. Nelson is a professional singer and actor with over 10 years of experience. Born in Germany to a military couple, he has always expressed an interest in the arts. Abrien started his on-stage career in Columbia, Maryland with the Drama Learning Center. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater with a concentration in vocal studies from Jacksonville University. Favorite university productions include Casablanca, In the Heights, Into the Woods, Axe Your Mother, Legally Blonde, Urinetown, and Aida. In addition to his collegiate roles, Abrien was also seen in Sister Act (Theatre Jacksonville), Love! Valour! Compassion!, and Native Gardens (The 5 & Dime Theatre). Stage managing credits include Players by the Sea’s production of Caroline, or Change. Abrien has experience working on television with VH1 in My True Crime Story and spent one year working in collegiate admissions before joining the Creative Arts Theatre team. Abrien is uber excited to be a part of the City of Tampa and share his gifts with the community!
Ashley Whiting works as a performer, writer, and voice actress on (and off) stage and screen. She made a career in entertainment as an animation and online content producer in Los Angeles, transitioned to musicals and landed at Creative Arts Theatre after bicycle touring around Florida with the Agile Rascal Bicycle Touring Theatre. Ashley wrote and performed several characters in Creative Art’s first ever virtual show, Sidekicks, played Charlie in The Magic Fish tour, and designed Dust Cloud’s costume in The Girl Who Swallowed a Cactus. She earned a BFA in Writing for Film and TV from Emerson College, trained in musical improv at The Magnet Theatre in NYC and created ESL (English as a Second Language) theatrical experiences at English Musicals Korea. Ashley is also the voice of many animated characters in the Cardioville and Star Stuff Stories universes.