Meet Our Lead Instructors
Jennifer Keating – Artistic and Executive Director
Jennifer began acting when she enrolled in “The Peter Pan Players” of Worcester at age 7. For the next 10 years, she received specialized musical theatre, dance and improvisation training with the popular group, and performed in over 50 productions, as well as being in a touring company. At the age of 15, she began choreographing and ultimately directing the theatre company at her high school. She graduated with a degree in theatre from UMass Amherst, all the while still directing at her high school. She then traveled with professional touring companies, performed in summer stock productions, and eventually landed in NYC, where she worked for Disney Theatricals (“The Lion King”) and MTV during the day, while she continued her acting career in the evening. Roles that she has played (many of them multiple times) are Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” Luisa in “The Fantasticks,” Kim MacAfee in “Bye Bye Birdie,” Esther in “Meet Me In St. Louis,” The Artful Dodger in “Oliver!” and Luna in Columbia University’s Short Film “Luna,” among many others! She has directed MainStage productions at UMass Dartmouth, and was the drama teacher at Good Company Tutorials for five years- which is where she was introduced to the wonderful world of homeschoolers! illuminate is truly a dream come true for her, which she founded in 2013. She recently appeared in a music video for Kelce Mclernon’s single, “Mirrors,” and was selected as a national spokesperson for Noom. She is Secretary of the Attleboro Cultural Council, and is a member of the TDI Attleboro Downtown Partnership.
Jennifer has three children, two of which have been homeschooled their entire lives. She is grateful to them for being patient with her as she has moments of ‘creative outbursts’ at home, resulting in a half-hour choreography lesson or script-writing session, or some other dramatic endeavor 🙂 Her children are only happy to take part in these moments, and are budding performers themselves, active at illuminate as interns, outreach team members, and performers.
Melissa Lamb – Stage Manager and Tech Dept. Instructor
Melissa Lamb is a graduate of WPI with a degree in Chemistry and Theatre Technology. While at WPI, she worked in every aspect of technical theatre, with a concentration in stage management. She was also a member of Lens and Lights, which provided sound, lighting, and projection for concerts and other on campus performances.
Since leaving WPI, Melissa has worked with a variety of community theatre groups, including an assistant management position at The Vineyard Playhouse, a professional theatre company located on Martha’s Vineyard. She also worked with The Gazebo Players of Medfield where she was the stage manger for Helen Keller and Brighton Beach Memoirs, and worked as the Producer for their annual outdoor Shakespeare summer shows. This is Melissa’s sixth year with illuminate, and is excited to be sharing her love of theatre with the next generation.
Colleen Sutcliffe – Production Manager, Acting Instructor
Colleen Sutcliffe is a classically trained vocalist, performer, educator, trained massage therapist and certified personal trainer. She grew up in a musical and theatrical family and had countless experiences in the arts. She began acting, singing and directing in her childhood and continued performing throughout her school years eventually leading her to pursue a degree in Theatre Arts in College. After college, she worked as the Theatre Director for Somerset High School and as a cantor for a local church. Colleen always felt a connection between wellness and the arts and so she also attained certification as a massage therapist and personal trainer. During her college years, she continued to hone her craft as an actor where she was nominated for an Irene Ryan Acting Award for her portrayal of Pearl in The Scarlet Letter .
After many years of concentrating on performance, she received additional training and experience in technical theatre, scenic design, directing and education and she discovered a love and appreciation for all that goes into the “magic” of theatre. Colleen has served as the Mainstage Production Manager for Illuminate since 2019. She teaches various classes and this Spring she had the pleasure of Directing our staged reading of Radium Girls.
Lynn Dubeau, President + Acting Instructor
More on Lynn coming soon!
Cassie Hanudel – Music Department Instructor
Cassandra Hanudel earned her B.M in music education from Gordon College in 2004 and her M.M.Ed. in music education from the University of Hartford in 2010. She taught music in the Needham Public Schools for 10 years, directing choirs and teaching general music, and was the choral director at Pollard Middle School for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade choruses as well as the award winning Treble Choir. Under Mrs. Hanudel’s direction the Treble Choir traveled and performed everywhere from Washington D.C. to New York City, won numerous gold medals at state festivals, and was invited to perform at Symphony Hall, Mechanics Hall, and the 2009 NAfME Eastern Division Conference in Providence, RI.
During her time at Gordon, Mrs. Hanudel studied voice and vocal pedagogy and sang with the College Choir and various other chamber ensembles. She has also performed with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and has taught voice privately for nearly 20 years. Since 2014 Mrs. Hanudel has been home with her children and has maintained an active voice studio, focusing on vocal pedagogy and performance techniques with high school students. She has been directing choirs at Illuminate since the Spring of 2020 and is excited to share her love of singing with the students here. A homeschooling Mom herself, she is also grateful that her own children are given so many opportunities to create and perform with their peers not only in music classes but within all the diverse course offerings.
Jason Lamb – Tech Director and Tech Department Instructor
Jason Lamb, a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, was introduced to theater production his freshman year and has been involved ever since. During his time at WPI he was the President of Lens and Lights, WPI’s lighting, sound and projection club. He has worked on numerous productions as the Master Electrician, Lighting Designer, Master Carpenter and Technical Director. Jason actively participated in and served as the President for The Gazebo Players of Medfield. Jason has recently joined AWIP and is delighted be running Master Classes in Lighting and Set Construction. While not working on productions Jason finds himself immersed in the activities of his four busy children and his career as an IT Director. This is Jason’s sixth year with the company.
Kerryanne Cummins – Creative Arts Instructor
Kerryanne is a dynamic educator with a wealth of experience! With a background as a preschool teacher, nanny, director and teacher of an afterschool program, enrichment classes, homeschool Co-op classes and serving as Co-Director and teacher of The West Bridgewater STEAM camp, she brings hands-on expertise to the classroom. As a homeschool mom for 12 years, she understands the importance of individualized learning and fosters a nurturing environment where young minds can explore science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics with boundless curiosity and creativity. Join Kerryanne on an exciting journey of discovery and innovation!
Laura Jenkins – Musical Director for Mainstage Productions
Laura Jenkins is a singer, voice teacher, musical director and choral conductor. She has a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Massachusetts. She had the pleasure of directing three previous Mainstage shows with A Work In Progress Productions (Illuminate): The Wiz, Mary Poppins, and White Christmas. She also conducted High Notes choirs and taught vocal techniques classes. She is currently directing Hello, Dolly! at Barrington Christian Academy, where she was the choral and musical director for three years. She maintains a private voice studio out of her home as well as serves as a worship team musician at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Providence. She has appeared locally with the Providence Singers. Previously, she was a voice faculty member at the Springfield Community Music School. She has also appeared with the Arcadia Players, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, the Pioneer Valley Symphony, Commonwealth Opera and the Keene Chorale and Orchestra.
Aimiejeanne Given – Dance Department Instructor
Aimiejeanne Given is an alumni and college student who is set to graduate in 2026. She joined Illuminate in the year 2020 with “The Wizard of Oz.” She slowly started helping with dance classes and continued to run her own even after she finished Illuminate as a student with “Shrek” in 2022. She has been dancing since she was seven, doing diverse styles that include ballet, jazz, hip hop, musical theater, tap, modern, and contemporary. She gained a love for choreographing with her sister long ago and has used that passion to help with main stages. As well as being the main choreographer for “Frozen Jr.” Her favorite thing to see is a dance coming together and the kids enjoying it.
Amber Bourne – Music Department Instructor + Puppet Instructor
Amber is the mother of 3 with a love for teaching children. She has over 15 years of experience in caring for and educating in classroom, church, and home settings. Her favorite accomplishments include creating the Olaf puppet for Illuminate’s Frozen jr. Production, creating and directing a shadow play, making puppets, and watching her students perform.
Amber strives to make learning fun. She is of the belief that every child, given the right environment, encouragement, and fun, can thrive. Her goal is to meet children where they are and push them to grow and shine with confidence. With whole brain learning, lots of giggles, and her infectious energy, your child is sure to love her!
Sandy Churchill- Creative Writing + Art Department Instructor
Sandy Churchill has taught visual arts classes for the past 22 years, in a variety of settings, spanning enrichment programs, library events, homeschool coops, and birthday parties. Her programs included acrylic painting, oil pastels, charcoal, fiber arts, watercolor, and mixed media. This class will feature the incorporation of acrylic paint, charcoal, Sharpie, oil pastel, chalk pastel, and watercolor. Different projects will feature three or more types of media comprising a unified project. Come join us for an afternoon of creativity in a relaxed and supportive environment!
Gwen McGovern – Dance Department Instructor and MainStage Choreographer
Gwen McGovern is a Massachusetts based dancer, teacher and choreographer who has been dancing since the age of 3 at New England Dance Academy under Stephanie Kemp, Hope Specht and Jill D’Aguanno. After graduating high school, Gwen moved to New York City and studied at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy under Lars Rosager, Janine Aloisi, Oren Korenblum and many more renowned choreographers. She studied there for a year before moving home and studying at Dean College under Todd Shanks and Kristina Berger. She now teaches at New England Dance Academy in North Attleboro and Shooting Stars School of Dance in Seekonk and most recently became a member of Fourth Dimension Tap Company outside of Boston, MA. She is so excited to share her knowledge and experience with Illuminate and is excited for a great season!
Miriam Belli – Acting + Music Dept Instructor; Musical Director for Middle School Mainstage
Miriam is a high school graduate and illuminate alumnus. She was homeschooled for her whole K-12 education and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree. After doing a few homeschool plays, her family found illuminate in 2018 and Miriam joined the cast of Newsies. She instantly fell in love with theatre and has been active in the company ever since. In her 5 years as a student at illuminate, she was involved in all 7 mainstage productions, 5 junior productions, every choir, three spring plays (and many many other classes and workshops, etc.), and was on Salt+Light for three years. She interned in the music, acting, and creative departments, eventually doing things like co-writing the junior productions and assistant-conducting the choirs.
Miriam assistant music directed Annie Jr. at illuminate in 2021 and music directed Frozen Jr. in 2023. She has also received private voice and piano lessons and studied for two summers at Csehy Summer School of Music. Some of her favorite roles include Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, both Dorothy and Glinda in The Wizard of Oz, Princess Fiona in Shrek the Musical, Porthos in The Three Musketeers, Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain, and Juror #8 in 12 Angry Jurors. This is Miriam’s 3rd year on staff at illuminate, and she will be instructing in the music and acting departments. She loves all areas of the arts and is so excited to help students find the same joy she finds in using our unique gifts to tell stories!
Cara Sherrod – Acting Dept Instructor; Junior Production Director
Cara is an illuminate alumni, and is really excited to be back to teach this year. Cara has almost 9 years of experience working with kids in various settings and plans to get a degree in theater education. During her time as a student at illuminate, Cara served as both an intern and student teacher. She was in three mainstage shows and several spring plays and assistant directed 2 Junior productions and a spring play. Cara is excited to share her love of theater and the creative arts with the students at illuminate.
Nicole Jolley – Creative Arts Department
Growing up in the Adirondacks Mountains of Up State New York ,Nicole spent a lot of time volunteering with the local chamber of Commerce working on town events for the children. Starting at the age of 12, she ran a local summer reading program at the local public library, which she also later worked at. Nicole is a graduate of Howard G Sackett Technical Center, in Glenfield NY with a certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has 25+ years working with preschool to middle school aged children as well as special education children. In the last few years Nicole has found a love for making and creating, from cosplay as well as historical reenactment.
Making several masks, outfits and props from different characters to attend PAX Boston, where a video game creator was blown away by the attention to detail. Photos from one event were published in the CPU magazine that covered PAX East that year. She has also volunteered at Plymouth Plantation helping open up Plantation for that year as well as working on some of the outfits the reenactors wear. Now a mother of two daughters who have found their people at Illuminate. She was happy to help with the different productions. She has so far worked on painting set pieces and crafting headpieces, while assisting with costume changes during Singing in the Rain. On Frozen Jr, she created wigs and helped with making Sven come to life. Nicole is a Disney Nut and loves working with children. Always looking to help wherever she can.
Hannah Enos – Music Instructor, Luminators Coach, Puppetry Instructor
Hannah Enos is a RI-based musician and educator. She began her formal music training at 7 years old and has managed a private piano studio for over 14 years. She is the oldest of 11 adopted kids and finds an odd amount of peace in the chaos that comes with being around lots of kids (maybe that’s why she’s a teacher).
Hannah comes to Illuminate after having taken a drama class with Jen over at another group some 16+ years ago. Having heard about their newly-minted puppetry program last fall, Hannah dove head first into assisting with teaching the intro to puppets class as well as lead-coaching the select puppetry group The Luminators, which recorded several TV episodes.
She’s now all-in with teaching both puppet classes as well as music theory and violin classes. She takes joy in getting to introduce the whimsy and colorfulness of music to kids as a music teacher and educator in the arts. In her free time Hannah enjoys playing board games, hiking, finding the best bubble tea shop in every city she visits, learning a new instrument every other month, and playing keys in her friend’s band LYNDI
Jack Bennett – Acting Instructor
Jack Bennett is a high school graduate and an alumni of Illuminate. He is currently at Johnson & Wales University working on his bachelor’s degree. He has always loved theatre since he was little, and has over 10 years of experience, from drama classes and being apart of many different plays and shows. He joined Illuminate in 2020 and he found an even greater appreciation for theatre. His most recent role with Illuminate was Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain, and he also assistant directed the middle school mainstage of Frozen Jr. He is excited to be able to teach and direct in the acting department with Illuminate, and help students grow in their confidence and abilities.
Charles Andrew – Screenwriting Instructor
Charles Andrew escaped the cornfields of the Midwest after college to pursue theatre in New York City. A graduate of an acclaimed acting conservatory, he spent the next ten years performing in theatre, short films and voiceovers, and founded the award-winning New York sketch-comedy group LunchBox Voodoo. As a writer, he first focused on copywriting before branching into essays, prose, and eventually, screenwriting.
Charles Andrew is currently represented by a boutique management company in LA and is working with a sales agent and Hollywood producer to shop two series and a feature film.
Leah Mahiri – Art Department Instructor
Leah Mahiri is a mother, artist, writer, and teacher. She has a BA in Art from California State University, Sacramento. She also has a certificate from Rhode Island School of Design in Children’s Book Illustration. Leah has over 20 years of experience working with children. She has worked as a nanny, in church groups, in home school groups, and most currently is also the art teacher at Grace Baptist Christian Academy.
Leah loves sharing her love of art with students, and hopes to encourage and inspire them in their own creativity.
Barry Arruda – Music Department Instructor
More on Barry coming soon!
Meet Our Student Instructors
Eleni LaFond – Art Department Instructor
Eleni is a junior in High School and the oldest of 4 homeschooled kids who found their way to AWIP/illuminate over 9 years ago. She started out singing in high notes and taking summer workshops. During her time with illuminate she has acted in three Jr Productions and interned in one and then joined the set design and backstage crew for Newsies and Beauty and the Beast. She found her way into the media department doing marquee boards for Newsies, BB, Shrek, SITR and various Jr. productions. She has also been involved in costume design for Beauty and the Beast and OZ, Shrek, SITR and Frozen Jr. She has acted in three staged readings and two mainstages. In the last two years she took the lead on set painting for Shrek, SITR and Frozen Jr. She has also designed over a dozen logos for various productions, events and the company as a whole since 2020. She has also been involved in Salt + Light, one of illuminate’s outreach teams. She is excited to reach the next generation of illuminate kids and share her love of the arts with them. She is looking forward to teaching at illuminate this semester and helping with mainstage set painting.
Skylar McWilliams – Dance Department Instructor
Skylar McWilliams has been dancing ever since the age of two. She took part in competitive dancing for a few years and learned lots of different techniques to help her move forward into teaching. Her first students she taught always made her smile and laugh, from then on she wanted to continue. Not only does she have an interest in dance, but she has and interest for acting and has been since the age of seven. Every single play had been performed with the wonderful people of Illuminate. She can’t wait to continue teaching and learning!
Evelyn (“Evie”) Roca – Art + Acting Dept Instructor
Evie is a Sophomore in high school, and has been with illuminate since it began when she was four. She explored all sorts of hobbies through AWIP/illuminate – from dancing, acting, and singing, to writing, art, and puppetry, she found that what she loved the most was helping. From ages 6 – 10, she helped clean Tolman for the shows, and worked as an usher. At 11, she helped paint the sets and create the props for the MainStage production “Beauty and the Beast.” At 12, she started interning, taking part in the writing of the junior productions. From then on, she interned for most of the junior productions as a script writer and acting coach, while also interning for art classes. She began teaching at 13, serving as a substitute teacher for Eleni LaFond, and at 14, began teaching classes of her very own. Whether she’s in the background or center stage, Evie continues to serve illuminate as much as she can.
Michael Lamb – TIP Crew Coach and Set Design Instructor
Mike, a sophomore in high school, has been with illuminate for 7 years. Mike, along with his three siblings, has been homeschooled and has been in the local homeschool community since childhood. Working alongside his family, Mike has played an important part in the production of illuminate shows. He has been involved with tip crew and set building since he joined, has worked as an intern both backstage and in the stagecraft classes, and has recently started as an instructor for the Tip Crew. Mike has hands-on experience working with set construction and enjoys teaching young students the skills they need to be successful members of the set crew.
Meet Our Master Class Guest Instructors
Juri Love – Master Class Instructor for Film, Podcasting, Photography, Journalism
Juri Love was born and raised in Japan and was greeted by the Japanese crown prince and princess, now emperor and empress, when she was sent to the U.S.A. as an emissary at age 18. She now resides in Foxboro, MA. She has two children, Jaden and Jayla, and is thriving in her life as a single mom and entrepreneur. She is also an award-winning TV/Film producer, journalist, musician, model, actress, and podcaster who uses her platform to bring awareness to people suffering from similar social issues she endured. Juri was the president/founder of a non-profit called Genuine Voices which taught music to juvenile offenders in the detention program. As an actress, she appeared in the Oscar-nominated film “Don’t Look Up” as a Japanese Reporter along with her son Jaden Onwuakor. As an author, her book “A Gift from Adversity” was #1 on Amazon’s New Release in 3 categories in 2020. Her podcast, with the same title, is attracting guests from all over the world sharing adversities, tools to overcome, and a gift that came from it.As a musician, she received a scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. After graduation, she toured nationally with the singer from The B-52’s Kate Pierson and has played piano in many venues and high-profile political events. Website: jurilove.com – Instagram @juripanda – IMDb:https://www.imdb.com/name/nm11050145/
Nicole DeRosa – Writing, Acting, and Overall Workshop Instructor
Nicole received her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Theatre from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. She has worked as an actor and teacher and looked forward to becoming a writer of children’s books to combine her passion for the arts and education – which culminated in her first book being published, called “The Ribbit Exhibit.” She has taught acting and theatre at the YMCA, with Drama Kids International Academy, and her own Freeze Pop Productions, which is an all-girls course combining theatre arts with history, poetry, and more. She has also taught master classes at John Robert Powers. She has acted in many professional productions, including “Steel Magnolias,” “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” “Dancing at Lughnasa” and many more. Her film experience includes “Me, Myself and Irene,” “Strikingly Single,” and “The Union,” as well as many commercials (Harley Davidson, Countrywide Bank, Dunkin Donuts, and Cinemax to name a few). She most recently co-wrote the acclaimed “Leaving a Mark” children’s book with Dorian Murray, also known as #DStrong. Her most valued role is that of mother of three children; Nicholas, Olivia and Noelle. Raising them has been one of her life’s greatest accomplishments.
Annaliese Curry – Film+Media Instructor
Annaliese is an actor and filmmaker. Growing up she was involved with theatre and the arts. In 2021 she found her passion and outlet within the film industry. As an actor her experience ranges from doing things such as working background on an HBO series to principal roles in several short films and an indie feature film. In addition to acting, she has found a love for working behind the camera. Having directed, produced, written, and cast four short films. Two of those films being award winning 48 hour films. Some of her other experience includes production assistant work, and being a film festival judge for GMIFF. As an alumni of Illuminate she is excited to come back, and share her passion for acting and filmmaking with the students here.
Meet Our Staff
Stephanie LaFond, Costume Designer and Bookkeeper
Stephanie is a graduate of WPI and of the UWisconsin at Madison with a BS/MS in Civil Engineering as well as a Professional Engineer. As a homeschooling mom of 4 she turned her attention to aiding illuminate with its needs, joining the staff in 2017 as our bookkeeper. Her family are all very active in the illuminate community, taking classes, working on and in productions, interning and teaching.
The granddaughter of two professional seamstresses, she is a predominantly self-taught sewer who loves creating unique items for illuminate productions. She created original costume designs for her first production with AWIP (now illuminate): Beauty & the Beast 2019, and “The Wizard of Oz” livestream. She also created many original pieces for our production of Shrek and our most recent middle school production of Frozen Jr, which included a split second, on-stage dress transformation. She is looking forward to new, on-stage costume challenges in the coming year and sharing her love of costume design with the illuminate community.
Katherine Sherrod, General Manager and Set Designer
Katherine has always loved music. She grew up taking piano lessons and singing, as well as learning a few other instruments as a child. She was in chorus, performed in musicals and served as a cantor and song leader for kids at her church during high school. She received a BS in Spanish and Elementary Education from Regis College, where she was an active member of the Glee Club. They even toured in Greece and France during her time there. She went on to earn a Masters in Special Education from Simmons College and spent years working with children with autism both in classroom and home settings before staying home with her own kids. She would much rather be in the background supporting others now than in the spotlight!
Katherine is mom to 5 kids, ranging in age from 5-19! She has homeschooled for over 14 years now. She was very excited to find our company in 2018 after her oldest expressed an interest in drama and music. Three of her kids immediately found classes and productions and loved being part of them, with the 4th soon to follow and the youngest jumping in as soon as he was old enough! The following year, Katherine joined the team as a bookkeeping assistant and has continued to use her organizational and office skills to further the mission of the company over the years, growing into the current role of General Manager. In the past 2 years, she began to use her creative skills to assist with the dragon in Shrek and set decorating in Shrek and Singin’ in the Rain and then designed the set for Frozen, Jr. in 2023. She is excited to continue to use her gifts in both the creative and administrative roles!