Hartford Stage Education aims to provide students of all ages throughout Connecticut with innovative, quality theatrical opportunities and education programs that challenge and inspire. Our programs use theatre techniques to build community and citizenship, to promote a passion for literacy and create expression, and to encourage life-long learning.
The education department at Hartford Stage serves more than 19,000 students and adults each year. Our programs include student matinees, in-school theatre residencies, teen performance opportunities, theatre classes for students (ages 3-18) and adults, afterschool programs and professional development courses.
The education department is committed to serving students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds; nurturing the next generation of artists and theatre professionals; developing a new audience of theatre-goers; and being a leader in providing in-school, theatre-based programs that promote creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking.
Meet the Staff
Click on staff name for headshot and bio.
Jennifer Roberts, Director of Education
Nina Pinchin, Associate Director of Education
Robert Reader, Education Programs Manager
Emely Larson, Studio Manager
Erin Frederick, Education Enrollment and Marketing Coordinator
Aurelia Clunie, Education Programs Associate for Student Audiences
Krista DeVellis, Resident Teaching Artist
Natalie Pertz, Resident Teaching Artist
Director of Education
Jennifer Roberts is in her seventh year at Hartford Stage, having previously held the position of Education Associate for Literary and In-School Programs. Before coming to Hartford Stage, she worked as the Resident Teaching Artist at George Street Playhouse and served as the Artistic Director of the Papermill Children’s Theatre in Lincoln, New Hampshire. Her work as a director and playwright has been recognized by the Austin Circle of Theatres and the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. Her essay on the future of theatre and education, “Changing the How”, was published in the November 2008 issue of TCG’s American Theatre magazine. She received a Masters degree of Fine Arts in Drama and Theatre for Youth from the University of Texas at Austin.
Associate Director of Education
Nina is responsible for overseeing department curricula for all programs, recruiting and training teaching artists, implementing professional development, and assisting the Director of Education in forming new partnerships and increasing Hartford Stage’s visibility in the community. In her artistic work, Nina has directed the Hartford Stage Young Company in Breakdancing Shakespeare productions of The Tempest, Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors, and Antony and Cleopatra. Other local directing projects include productions at Central Connecticut State University, Anna Maria College, Classical Magnet High School, Hebrew High School of New England, the Hartford Public Library, and Hartford Stage’s Write On! festival. She has also directed at Chicago’s Bailiwick Rep., the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, the Vital and Access Theatres in New York, and the Studio Space at Portland Stage Company. Assisting credits include working alongside director John Dillon and playwright Ariel Dorfman on the world premiere of Picasso’s Closet and with Josh Fox – director of the Academy Award nominated documentary Gasland – on his debut film Memorial Day. Nina received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence and her BA from Bowdoin College. She is a member of the Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab, and an associate member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Nina also teaches evening courses at Capital Community College and Anna Maria College in Paxton MA where she is advisor to the Drama and Improv clubs.
Education Programs Manager
Robert holds a BA in Drama from Ithaca College and has had extensive teaching experience in New York and Massachusetts. Before joining the Hartford Stage Education Department, Robert was a Teacher Assistant in Special Education program at Geneva Middle School in New York State. For over 25 years, he has served in the capacity of instructor and choreographer for numerous award-winning high school marching bands and color guard programs. Since 1992, a member of the Massachusetts Judges Association and the New York Federation of Contest Judges, Robert has been a national adjudicator representing Winter Guard International for a variety of programs that incorporate creativity, instruction and educational values. At Hartford Stage, Robert administers all aspects of the education department, working closely with schools and teachers to facilitate outreach and in-theatre programming. He is co-founder and currently Executive Director for the Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus. He is the recipient of the 2012 Barry Award for outstanding service and dedication to Hartford Stage.
Education Enrollment and Marketing Coordinator
Erin Frederick holds a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from Ithaca College and an M.S. in Arts Administration at Drexel University.. Having performed at various theaters across the country, Erin comes to Hartford Stage from the Philadelphia area, where she worked as a director and theatre educator with the Walnut Street Theatre, Theatre Horizon, and local area school districts and municipalities. Erin is also the Producing Artistic Director of Tudor Theatrical Productions, a touring company that produces annual Shakespeare in the Park productions. Directing credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Love’s Labours Lost, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, Seussical, and Once Upon a Mattress. Acting credits include Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, Hamlet, Pericles, A Christmas Carol, The Barber of Seville, Parade, and The Berenstain Bears: Family Matters. Erin has taught Shakespeare, acting, interactive Theatre, and dialect courses to students of all ages, and she specializes in using theatre as a means of building social engagement for young people with special physical, neurological, and social needs.
Education Programs Associate for Student Audiences
Aurelia Clunie holds a Bachelors of Science from Northwestern University. There, she was a Mary Margaret Lynn and a Peggy Dow scholar, and served as a founding member and Artistic Director of Spectrum Theater Company. Prior to joining Hartford Stage staff, Aurelia worked as an actress and teaching artist in the Greater Chicago Area. Acting credits include Living Green (Victory Gardens Biograph Theater), The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights (u/s Writers’ Theatre), Sketchbook 9: What I Am Supposed to Be and Sketchbook 12: [fər] women (Collaboraction). Assistant directing credits include Porgy and Bess and Sizwe Banzi is Dead (University of Chicago’s Court Theatre). Aurelia was a founding member and performer/facilitator with For Youth Inquiry: Performing Health Collective. FYI uses participatory theater to promote comprehensive sexual health education among Chicago youth. Other participatory performance credits include her solo piece Who/Where is Sarah Bartmann?, and the Collaboraction ensemble at Luftwerk’s Luminous Fields installation in Millennium Park. As a teaching artist, Aurelia has worked with Changing Worlds, Evanston/Skokie School District 65, and the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Aurelia has taught storytelling, devising, Creative Drama, and Shakespeare performance to youth from pre-school through high school.
Emely has taught in the Connecticut area for many years - teaching such classes as Comedy Improv, Accents and Dialects, Audition Workshops as well as providing acting coaching to students of all ages and levels. Some of her students have gone onto study at Stamford University, Eastern CT State University and one student has appeared in the film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Emely has also directed several productions including The Hobbit, Bang Bang You’re Dead, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Under Jekyll’s Hyde, Sally Cotter and the Prisoner of Ala Katraz and How I Became a Pirate. As a performer, Emely has appeared in many productions with area theatres such as Hartford Stage, Hartford Children’s Theatre, The Spirit of Broadway, Capital Classics Shakespeare Festival and Newington Mainstage. Emely is a highly trained professional, having earned her BFA from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, and also works as lead singer for her band "Hardwood."
Resident Teaching Artist
Krista DeVellis is a performing and teaching artist with a talent for making objects come to life. She is a graduate of Skidmore College with a bachelor of science in Theater. As an educational outreach intern for the Puppet Showplace Theatre in Brookline, MA she assisted in teaching puppetry workshops and communicated with local schools for educational opportunities. While at the Accademia Dell’Arte in Arezzo Italy, she studied various physical aspects of theatre, including mask, acrobatics, and puppetry. Krista has also worked as an Assistant in the Costume Shop for Skidmore’s Theatre Department. Her costuming work includes assistant designing for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Back County Crimes. She has appeared onstage at Skidmore in their productions of Back County Crimes, The Highwayman, and Ludlow. In her free time, she enjoys playing banjo, reading plays, and drawing.
Resident Teaching Artist
Natalie Pertz holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre and communication arts from Gannon University. There, she graduated Summa Cum Laude and as outreach coordinator for Gannon’s Alpha Psi Omega, organized a theatrical after-school program at The Erie MLK Center. In addition to her undergraduate study, Natalie has trained at The Eugene O’Neill National Theater Institute, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC (TO NYC), and The Globe Education Center in London, England. Under TO NYC, Natalie received her level-one joker certification. In March 2014, Natalie led a day of elementary theatre workshops at Nueva Vida, a girl’s school, in Merida, Mexico. Favorite acting credits include The Sound of Music (Maria), Spring Awakening (Ilse), The Children’s Hour (Karen), and Tintypes (Emma Goldman). Following graduation, Natalie spent the 2014-2015 season working as an Education Apprentice at Hartford Stage. As a teaching artist, Natalie has taught pre-school through high school students in multiple states and schools districts such as The Syracuse City School District, The Erie School District, and Hartford Public Schools. Prior to returning to Hartford Stage, Natalie was a teaching fellow at Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse, NY. During her tenure there, Natalie taught and supervised the implementation of STEAM curriculum as a full-time enrichment teacher to students from pre-kindergarten through 6th grade.
Morningstar Education Apprentice
Andy Germuga is a New York State certified teacher with a B.S. in Educational Theatre from NYU Steinhardt. For the past year, he served as the Education Administration Apprentice at Olney Theatre Center in Maryland, where, among other projects, he expanded the theatre’s Arts Integration Collaborative Playwriting Program with area elementary schools, created in-depth Teacher Tool Kits for the National Players touring company’s 66th tour, and helped support an increase in Student Matinee programming. He has also served as a long term drama substitute for the Rochester City School District’s School for the Arts and has appeared onstage in New York in such shows as Transylvania Beach, Kentucky and Alice: The Looking Glass Girl.
Morningstar Education Apprentice
Cassandra Spadory is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she received a B.A. in Theater and an M.Ed. in Elementary Education. Cassandra’s theater credits include Casanova, Machinal, Urinetown, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Comedy of Errors and The Burial at Thebes. Cassandra also found a love for education while studying at UMass. Her teaching experience includes student teaching at Deerfield Elementary (5th grade) and Northampton Elementary (2nd grade), as well as working with intellectually disabled adults for the North Haven Transition Partnership and working as a performance intern for The Foote School summer theater program. Cassandra is thrilled to finally combine her two loves of theater and education by helping students tap into their imagination and learn how to trust themselves through play.