Arden Drama School: Get to Know our Teaching Artists!

January 12, 2017

The award-winning Arden Drama School program includes some of Philadelphia’s finest theatre professionals. Learn more about our Teaching Artists for 2017’s Winter Session. 

Madison Auch graduated from The University of the Arts in 2014 with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre, and has since been working in Philadelphia as an actor, musician, and teaching artist. Madison worked as the Assistant Director for the Arden’s production of A Year With Frog And Toad, and recent acting credits include Martha understudy in The Secret Garden (Arden), Alcyone understudy in Metamorphoses (Arden), Scheherazade in The Arabian Nights, and Ilse in Spring Awakening. She is also a co-founder of In Cahoots Theatre Company, and is currently in the process of creating a new musical adaptation of a classic children’s story. In the past few years, Madison has taught students ranging in age from preschool through late high school, and enjoys being able to teach skill development and encourage creativity in acting, music, and movement. Having grown up as a military kid, Madison was exposed to many different theatre organizations and companies across the country, and believes that the arts were essential in the development of her creativity, social skills, and imagination. She is thrilled to be able to introduce and develop these skills through games, activities, and performances in the next generation of artists. Madison believes strongly in the transformative power of theatre, and aims to cultivate an enthusiasm for art and storytelling throughout all of her classes. (Classes: Musical Theatre K-2 (Lead teacher), Musical Theatre Jam: Frog and Toad K-2)

Terry Brennan is the artistic director of Tribe of Fools theatre company. He has directed the critically acclaimed Antihero, Two Street, and Armageddon at the Mushroom Village as well as appearing in Zombies… with Guns. In 2015 Terry led Tribe of Fools to the finals on TruTV’s hit show Fake Off season 2. He has been on 5 national tours with Enchantment Theatre Company and served as company road manager for 3 years. He has also worked with The Arden Theatre Company, BRAT Productions, Simpatico Theatre Project, The Berserker Residents, EgoPo Productions, and Curio Theatre Company.  He is an acrobat and parkour athlete and a certified parkour instructor through PPK Academy. Terry currently teaches parkour and children’s circus classes at the Philadelphia School for Circus Arts. (Classes: Acting 9-12: Process and Performance)

Tara Demmy is a Philadelphia-based comedian, theatre artist, arts administrator, and teacher. She has trained in comedic improvisation at Second City Chicago, the Upright Citizens Brigade NYC, and Philly Improv Theater where she performs regularly. Tara graduated from Helikos: International School of Theater Creation in Florence, Italy where she trained in Lecoq movement-based theatre under the direction of Giovanni Fusetti. She teaches at Arden Theatre Company, Wolf Performing Arts Center, St. Peter’s School, and Philly Improv Theater – as well as working as an improv director and teaching workshops in clowning. She is a company member with Tribe of Fools, a Philadelphia-based physical theatre company. She is a writer and performer with Philly sketch group Mani Pedi. (Classes: Improv 101)

Jordan Dobson is a junior at Temple University where he studies Musical Theatre and Acting.  Aside from his academics, Jordan assists in teaching the dance audition for Temple’s Musical Theatre auditions.  He also served as the dance captain for The Merry Widow at the Boyer College of Music and Dance.  He has performed with the Arden Theatre Company, Act II Playhouse, Mauckingbird Theatre Company, and other Philadelphia companies.  Favorite roles include: “Paul” in Kiss Me Kate, “Melchior” in Spring Awakening, and “Charlie” in Brigadoon. Jordan’s strong dance background has allowed him to teach and choreograph for many students in the Philadelphia area.  Jordan is very excited to be back teaching at the Arden this season! (Musical Theatre K-2, Musical Theatre Dance K-2 and 3-5)

Emily Fernandez is so excited to be teaching at Arden Drama School for the Winter Session! After receiving a BFA in Acting from University of the Arts, she stuck around and is a proud Philly-based artist. She loves being able to help her students find their unique voice through exploration of their boundless imaginations. 

(Classes: Acting K-2: Section 2
MLK Play in a Day)


Gina Giachero is excited to be back teaching at the Arden! She has been involved in musical theater education for over 10 years and has worked with students from 1st grade to college level. She is a freelance music director and accompanist in the Philly area, working with numerous companies such as 11th Hour Theatre Company, Upper Darby Summer Stage, The Walnut Street Theatre, and more. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Temple University.  Along with being a harpist, she is proud mama of her 7 year old son, Milo, who helps keep in her the loop of what’s “hip to the scene” with the kids these days. Milo continues to be embarrassed by his mom when she uses words like “hip to the scene.” (Classes: Musical Theatre 6-8: Fundamentals Musical Theatre 9-12: Technique)

TJ Harris is excited to return to Arden Drama School for his 3rd year as a teaching artist. TJ is a Philadelphia-based musician, theatre artist, and educator. He received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Mansfield University where he studied the trombone and instrumental music studies. A recent graduate of the Arden Professional Apprenticeship at Arden Theatre Company, TJ just celebrated his Philadelphia music directorial debut in this past Fringe Festival with Bryant Edward’s The Vs. Series, music directing, arranging, and playing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the fight round entitled Miley vs. Mozart: An Epic Poperatic Smackdown. TJ recently closed The Carols with 1812 productions, a new holiday musical, for which he was the Music Director and played a limping piano-player named Teddy. TJ is looking forward to serving as the Assistant Director of the Arden’s upcoming production of Gypsy. In addition to the Arden’s educational programs, TJ also serves as the Stage Manager and Fall Play Director for the Bala Cynwyd Middle School theatre program in the Lower Merion School District. TJ enjoys using songs, musical underscores, and movement to enhance his students’ theatrical experiences. A pianist and trombonist for over 15 years, TJ has also served as a musician for groups such as 11th Hour Theatre Company, Philly Performance Network, Quintessence Theatre, Philly Heart and Soul, and the New Voices Cabaret. TJ is looking forward to writing and telling new stories and making lively music with all of his Arden Drama School students. (Classes: Musical Theatre 3-5 Bookworms)

Matthew Mastronardi first came to the Arden as the Assistant Director to Anne Kauffman for the world premiere production of The Flea and the Professor. Soon after, he was hired as a teaching artist here at the Arden, and has been working as such for nearly six years now. Matthew has also taught for Drexel University, Walnut Street Theatre, 11th Hour Theatre Company, People’s Light, and Wilma Theater. While not teaching, he is a Philadelphia based actor/musician. He was last seen at the Walnut Street Theatre in A Child’s Christmas in Wales, where he also served as the music and vocal director for the production. Some of his favorite acting credits include: Ted in Peter and the Starcatcher (Walnut Street Theatre), Barber/Housekeeper/Cellist in Man of La Mancha (Act II Playhouse), Bunthorne in Patience (Theater at Monmouth), Mr. Fezziwig/Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol (Walnut Street Theatre), and Sir Hugh Evans in The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare in Clark Park) just to name a few. Soon Matthew will fly to Italy to appear in another production of The Merry Wives of Windsor with Teatro delle Due, this time as Sir John Falstaff. While in Italy, he will also help conduct workshops about the production and Shakespeare to local high school students. Matthew holds a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from the University of the Arts. And he is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association. (Classes: MT Jam 3-5: Frog and Toad)

Maura Roche is a scenic designer, scenic painter, craftsperson, teaching artist, and marketing professional in the arts and culture sector of Philadelphia. Regional scenic design work includes designs for Theater Horizon (Lobby Hero, Into the Woods, Circle Mirror Transformation, Spring Awakening, I Am My Own Wife, …Spelling Bee, and more),11th Hour Theatre Company (See What I Wanna See, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, The Bomb-itty of Errors, The Winter Wonderettes, Altar Boyz), Act II Playhouse (Behind the Music: Holiday Tunes, Murray the Elf, On the Road Again, Mark Twain Unplugged, Making Spirits Bright, and more), Walnut Street Theater (Ethel), Ursinus College (God, Death Knocks) and others. With a passion for teaching and education, Maura helped develop and grow the Autism Education Outreach Program at Theatre Horizon, has taught for over 5 years with the Arden for All program in Philadelphia and Camden public schools, and for a number of theatre and arts summer camp programs throughout the past 10 years. Now, Maura spends her weekdays as the Marketing Manager at the Franklin Institute—painting, creating, and teaching in her free time. In a class with Maura, expect to collaboratively discover creative solutions to challenges, to let your imagination take flight, and to explore the ways in which you can bring a vision in your head to life! (Classes: Puppet Making K-2, and 3-5)

Jenna Stelmok is a Philadelphia-based freelance artist with a diverse background in theatre, spanning both performance and production work. She holds a B.A. in Theatre Performance from Northeastern University and has lived in Philly since 2012. Jenna has been the Acti
ng for K-2 teacher since 2013 (formerly Storycrafters). In addition to the Arden, Jenna teaches acting and playwriting for other organizations such as The Walnut, Philly Young Playwrights, and St. Peter’s School. She also works as a writer and production/stage manager, is a hiker, musician, soap and candle maker, and loves practicing yoga. All of these experiences blend together to make Acting for K-2 one of her favorite classes from start to finish. Working with students to develop actor tools, write plays, craft design elements, and come together to create a finished project is a fantastic experience, and one that she looks forward to sharing! (Classes: Acting K-2: Section 1)

Arden Drama School’s Winter Session begins Jan. 14 thru March 4, 2017. Want to learn more about Arden Drama School and all of our programming for grades  PreK-12? Visit us online at

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