Staff Information

Lynn M. Hamilton – Owner, Director

Lynn is an actress, director, author, international conference speaker, wife, and mother of four. She is the owner of ACT and president & founder of the Academy of Community Theatre (ACT II). She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire where she earned membership in the National Collegiate Players. Lynn has over 35 years of experience in stage and radio, including voice work for Focus on the Family. She has also been a guest on numerous television and radio broadcasts around the country.  Though she will always love acting, teaching and directing have captured her heart. Some of the favorite shows that she’s directed include A Christmas Carol, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Legend of Robin Hood, and Little Women.

Vanessa Rankin – Studio Director

Vanessa is a playwright, teacher, wife, and mother. She earned her B.A. from CU Boulder and her M.P.A from UCCS. She has created magic in the entertainment departments of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Six Flags Elitch Gardens. She loves acting and some of her favorite past productions include, The Baseball Show (Heritage Square Music Hall), Nunsense (Breckenridge Backstage), and Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge (Denver Victorian). She was nominated for a 2007 Denver Post, Ovation Award and Marlowe Award, for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy, for her role as Sue Lawson in, Not Now Darling! (Miner’s Alley Playhouse), and was part of the cast for the 2010 Ovation Award nomination for Best Comedy, Getting Married (Germinal Stage). She is committed to volunteering, having been a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters, a Disney VoluntEAR and she served in the Peace Corps, Armenia. She is very excited to return to the ACT team!

Madison Falkenstine – Studio Director, ACT II Director

Madison is delighted to be teaching at ACT and ACT II! She has an extensive theatrical background and holds a Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is a sought-after classical soloist and was a recipient of both the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Scholarship and the Beverly Fernauld Scholarship for Excellence in Voice. Madison has performed at the professional level in many theaters across Colorado. Some of her favorite roles include The White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland (for which she was awarded the Gazette’s Best of the Springs Award in 2016), Frenchie in Grease, and Annelle in Steel Magnolias. She is passionate about fostering a desire for excellence in her students and aspires to give each of them the tools to succeed. When not teaching or performing, Madison enjoys hiking, reading, and caring for her large collection of houseplants.

Elyse Jett Clark – Dance Instructor & ACT II Choreographer

Elyse began dancing at the young age of four and has been dancing ever since. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual and Performing Arts from the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs in 2011. Elyse has been a dance instructor for ten years and has directed numerous dance productions including How the Grinch Stole ChristmasThe Lion King, and The Christmas Letter! She has won awards at statewide dance competitions, including Best Choreography, Entertainment Awards, and Best Costume. She loves sharing her passion for theatre and dance with her students and is excited to be working with ACT & ACT II! 

Shayla Mellen – Musical Theatre & Dance Instructor

Shayla Mellen is currently a Dance Performance major at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs working toward her Bachelor’s degree. She transferred from Casper College after receiving her Associates of Arts in Dance Performance on a full-tuition scholarship. She has been dancing since the age of 2 and dance and theatre are her absolute passion. She has been in many musicals and plays, such as Mary Poppins, The Wedding Singer, Six Characters in Search of an Author, an adaptation of Charlotte’s Web through dance, and What You Mean to Me. She currently teaches at the YMCA teaching Ballet, Tap, and Musical Theatre, and has also taught Jazz and Hip Hop. She was also recently the Assistant Choreographer for Vista Ridge High School’s production of Footloose. She is very excited to be joining the team at ACT and can’t wait to start classes this summer!

Bob Rais – Acting, Shakespeare & Improv Instructor

Bob is thrilled to be joining the Academy of Children’s Theatre! Bob is currently a lecturer with The Department of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Robert is a trained actor and a member of Actor’s Equity Association, The Screen Actor’s Guild, and The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. He specializes in comedic theatre training derived from his work at The Second City, Carnivores In Action, and Burnt Toast. He has worked as an actor and director at The Signature Theatre (NYC), The Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Theatreworks (Colorado Springs), Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, Tennessee Repertory Theater, and many more. Some of Bob’s favorite roles are, Falstaff-Merry Wives of Windsor, Scrooge-A Christmas Carol, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, John Adams-1776, Hook-Peter Pan, and Herod-Jesus Christ Superstar.

Sarah Embree – Acting and Musical Theatre Instructor

Sarah is thrilled to be teaming up again with ACT! She received a Bachelor of Arts in Technical Theatre and Design from Winthrop University and has worked professionally as a director, actress, and designer of the stage for over 20 years.  Some of her most memorable roles include Mary Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, Shelby in Steel Magnolias, and Maria in Sound of Music. She also has experience in film, commercials, and radio voice-over work. She received both a Kennedy Center of the Arts award and a Caroline Award for her lead actress role as Ruth in Blithe Spirit.  Some of her favorite directorial memories include Into the Woods, Hello Dolly and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Alaina Stroble – Musical Theatre & Acting Instructor

Alaina Stroble was born and raised in the Colorado Springs area and started dancing and singing at a young age. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater with a Minor in Dance along with many years of professional and collegiate performing experience. At her university, she also worked in directing, choreographing, and stage managing student and faculty productions. Alaina is excited to join ACT and seeks to foster a love for excellence and expression in the talented youth of this city.

Ron Hardman

Ron Hardman – ACT II Set Designer

The Industrial Arts have always been a part of Ron’s life. In fact, standing next to his father’s workbench as he built a piece of furniture is one of his earliest memories. His father was a teacher for 36 years, with much of his career invested in shop classes like woodworking, metal working, and drafting, and Ron spent most days in the shop after school with him. That love of woodworking, metalworking, and design has continued throughout Ron’s adult life. He has worked in nearly every area of construction, and creates commissioned pieces at the workbench and forge. Ron also runs Kilroy’s Workshop, a private school just east of Colorado Springs that teaches kids these same hands-on skills. He thoroughly enjoys building the main stage theatre sets for ACT II, and is now teaching a small group of interested students to do the same. To check out his set building classes, visit http://www.kilroysworkshop.com.  His favorite set to work on is — the next one! In addition to building sets, teaching, and building commissioned pieces, Ron also writes books and magazine articles.

Cold Olaf
Drama - Pirates
Sven Ice for Sale
Singing in the Rain
Pirate
School Kid
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