Terra and Shane Hannon (Artistic Directors) created the Oconee Youth School of Performance in 1998 as a place where students could experience the joys and benefits of the performing arts – from singing and acting to dancing – in a creative and positive environment. Besides serving as directors and teachers at OYSP, the couple founded and serve as artistic directors of Oconee Youth Playhouse, a non-profit organization that presents 2-3 main-stage musical theater productions each year featuring casts of young local performers. Over the past 15+ years, Terra and Shane have directed more than 50 shows at OYP.

 

Terra and Shane have extensive performing backgrounds starting at an early age. Terra trained at the Davidson Fine Arts School in Augusta and grew up dancing and acting with various local groups, including the Augusta Players. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 1997 with a degree in drama and subsequently earned dance certifications through Dance Educators of America. Terra has been a featured dancer with the Jekyll Island Musical Theater Festival and spent a year touring the U.S. with the Missoula (Montana) Children’s Theatre as a performer and director. She has choreographed for the Highlands Playhouse in North Carolina and has earned Best Choreographer awards at both regional and national Access Broadway competitions. In 2014, Terra’s jazz piece “Storm” was named the highest scoring number (out of over 600 acts) at the Bravo! Regionals at the Classic Center in Athens, GA.

 

Shane began his theatrical career at age 10, playing the title role in a local production of “Oliver!” While earning a journalism degree from UGA, he was a member of UGA’s Ballroom Performance Company and had lead roles in numerous community theater shows, including the Town & Gown production of “She Loves Me,” where he met Terra, a fellow cast member. Shane has performed professionally with the Jekyll Island Musical Theater Festival and Highlands Playhouse. He now prefers directing Oconee Youth Playhouse shows with Terra, but made a few OYP stage appearances – playing the Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods and Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.

Both Terra and Shane still teach on a regular basis. Terra teaches and choreographs for the OYSP dance company as well as teaching some non-company dance classes. Shane teaches musical theater to all ages, including Pre-K/K students and coaches many of the company kids on their vocal solos and monologues. Terra and Shane live in Bogart and have three boys: Jack, Evan and Chase.

Meredith Slayden Dillard has taught dance for over 21 years, beginning at Victoria Bolen’s Dance Station West, in Knoxville, Tennessee then moving to Franklin, TN where she was the head of the Ballet Department at Ann Carroll School of Dance and now her new home at Oconee Youth School of Performance. Meredith’s training is extensive in the ballet, jazz, modern and musical theater genres.  Meredith performed with the Knoxville City Ballet, in association with the Cincinnati, Ohio Ballet, for 3 years. 

Meredith’s choreography has won many different types of awards over the past years.  Her first award was in 2001 for a Choreography and 1st Place Overall award at the competition Showstoppers and most recently (2017), her Senior Ballet piece "Lost" was awarded the Entertainment Award at the Bravo Dance Competition in Athens. She has also received other awards at Access Broadway and Bravo while teaching and choreographing at OYSP. Meredith teaches non company and company classes at OYSP and has recently starting helping with stage managing for the OYP shows. Meredith is married to Matt and they have two kids: Taylor and Slayden.

Sayward Johnson grew up dancing in Macon, Ga where she received her dance training at The Madison Studio and at Dance Arts Studio, where she was one of the founding members of the Middle Ga Youth Ballet. She spent summers at the Russian Ballet and The American Academy of Ballet in New York, where she won the highest achievement award. Sayward went to Georgia College in Milledgeville and began teaching ballet in 2001 at Studio One. She started her time as a teacher at Oconee Youth School of Performance in 2016. At OYSP, Sayward teaches ballet and pointe. She currently lives in Oconee County with her husband and two children.

Madison Morton

Rachel Townes has been music director for the OYSP musical theater company for over 10 years. She plays in the pit and is the music director for all of the musicals at OYSP's sister organization, Oconee Youth Playhouse. With OYP, Rachel has been the music director for over 40 main stage shows including most recently A Christmas Story and Hairspray. Rachel began her career with a small professional company that toured the Southeast with dinner theater shows.  After she moved to Athens to study at UGA, she became the musical director for the Department of Drama, and a freelance musician for the School of Music.  She has worked for Theater on the Square in Marietta, Gainesville Theater Alliance, and Highlands Theater in North Carolina. In addition to working with the OYSP musical theater company on all their group competition numbers, Rachel also teaches private voice and piano at the studio.

Jordan Richey currently teaches voice at OYSP where she grew up as a long-time member of both OYSP's dance and musical theater company. Jordan also performed in many shows at Oconee Youth Playhouse, including Ariel in The Little Mermaid and also the title role in Elton John's musical Aida. Since high school, she has done several shows with Town & Gown Players as well as a mainstage production of Sweeney Todd at UGA. Jordan is currently a member of the award-winning UGA Hodgson Singers Choir and works as worship leader at Oconee River Church. She is also the Alumni Coordinator for UGA's American Choral Director's Association. Jordan is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Education in Special Education & a Music Minor in Voice.  After undergraduate school, she plans to pursue a Masters in Speech-Language Pathology, and use her background and training in music to become both a certified Speech Therapist and Voice Therapist.  By doing this, she hopes to help students with mental and behavioral disabilities that cause them to have speech impediments or social disabilities.

Margot Hitchcock is a Watkinsville-native who graduated from the University of Georgia in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education. Growing up, she competed as a member of the OYSP dance & musical theatre companies and has participated in nearly 20 OYP shows since middle school. Margot has served as a guest choreographer throughout the Athens/Oconee community for almost a decade, and also works as a fitness professional at Above Barre, Tilt Cycling, and Athens Health & Fitness. She has had the privilege of teaching numerous classes at OYSP since 2008, and she is excited to return in the fall to teach Production, Voice, and Conditioning.

Lucy Haskill is an Athens native and a graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelors in Communications and a minor in Theater. After graduating, she moved to California to continue her theater studies at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts which boasts alumni the likes of Robert Redford, Grace Kelly, Danny Devito and Jessica Chastain. She graduated at the top of her class and was offered a spot in the elite Academy Company. Lucy has worked in the film and television industry for the past five years on both sides of the camera. She was a Casting Associate for Television Development for three years in Los Angeles before moving back to Athens to pursue the booming film industry in Atlanta. She has worked on several projects since moving back to Athens including the upcoming film The Leisure Seeker starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland and her recent stint as Nadine McCluskey on CMT's mini-series Sun Records. Lucy is an active member of the Athens theater community and currently teaches Production and Acting at the Oconee Youth School of Performance.

Megan Hodgson is a junior at the University of Georgia and has been involved with OYP/OYSP for the past 15 years. She took her first musical theater and dance classes at OYSP at the age of 4. Megan did her first OYP show at age 6 and after that did over 20 more shows with OYP. Some of her favorite roles were Ursula in Little Mermaid, Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka and Lucy Van Pelt in Snoopy. She was participated in both OYSP's musical theater and dance company and competed in 11 Access Broadway competitions and won the triple-threat award Jr. Ms. Access Broadway in 2011.  During her sophomore year in high school, Megan began assisting with musical theater classes and now teaches musical theater and hip hop to a variety of ages. Megan is currently involved in a dance crew, Prelude Dance Ensemble at UGA where she dances and choreographs in a variety of dance styles. She also serves as a worship leader at her church, Living Hope Church. Megan is an aspiring middle school teacher majoring in the field of education and hopes to make the difference in the lives of adolescent children. She credits her time at OYSP to her career path because of her love and her passion for teaching the students at the studio.

Kaitlyn Gilmore is a soprano in her final year of undergraduate study at the University of Georgia, pursuing a degree in Vocal Performance and certificate in Music Business. She is an active member of many musical ensembles at UGA, including the Hodgson Singers, UGA Opera Ensemble, and numerous other choirs. Originally from Augusta, Georgia, Kaitlyn grew up in the city’s lively theatre and music community, where she performed with the Augusta Players and Augusta Players Youth Theatre. Today, she continues to perform in her undergraduate studies and seeks to share her passion for music with others through teaching and collaboration. At Oconee Youth School of Performance, Kaitlyn enjoys teaching private voice and musical technique to children and teens of all ages and skill levels.

Terra and Shane Hannon (Artistic Directors) created the Oconee Youth School of Performance in 1998 as a place where students could experience the joys and benefits of the performing arts – from singing and acting to dancing – in a creative and positive environment. Besides serving as directors and teachers at OYSP, the couple founded and serve as artistic directors of Oconee Youth Playhouse, a non-profit organization that presents 2-3 main-stage musical theater productions each year featuring casts of young local performers. Over the past 15+ years, Terra and Shane have directed more than 50 shows at OYP.

 

Terra and Shane have extensive performing backgrounds starting at an early age. Terra trained at the Davidson Fine Arts School in Augusta and grew up dancing and acting with various local groups, including the Augusta Players. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 1997 with a degree in drama and subsequently earned dance certifications through Dance Educators of America. Terra has been a featured dancer with the Jekyll Island Musical Theater Festival and spent a year touring the U.S. with the Missoula (Montana) Children’s Theatre as a performer and director. She has choreographed for the Highlands Playhouse in North Carolina and has earned Best Choreographer awards at both regional and national Access Broadway competitions. In 2014, Terra’s jazz piece “Storm” was named the highest scoring number (out of over 600 acts) at the Bravo! Regionals at the Classic Center in Athens, GA.

 

Shane began his theatrical career at age 10, playing the title role in a local production of “Oliver!” While earning a journalism degree from UGA, he was a member of UGA’s Ballroom Performance Company and had lead roles in numerous community theater shows, including the Town & Gown production of “She Loves Me,” where he met Terra, a fellow cast member. Shane has performed professionally with the Jekyll Island Musical Theater Festival and Highlands Playhouse. He now prefers directing Oconee Youth Playhouse shows with Terra, but made a few OYP stage appearances – playing the Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods and Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.

Both Terra and Shane still teach on a regular basis. Terra teaches and choreographs for the OYSP dance company as well as teaching some non-company dance classes. Shane teaches musical theater to all ages, including Pre-K/K students and coaches many of the company kids on their vocal solos and monologues. Terra and Shane live in Bogart and have three boys: Jack, Evan and Chase.

Meredith Slayden Dillard has taught dance for over 21 years, beginning at Victoria Bolen’s Dance Station West, in Knoxville, Tennessee then moving to Franklin, TN where she was the head of the Ballet Department at Ann Carroll School of Dance and now her new home at Oconee Youth School of Performance. Meredith’s training is extensive in the ballet, jazz, modern and musical theater genres.  Meredith performed with the Knoxville City Ballet, in association with the Cincinnati, Ohio Ballet, for 3 years. 

Meredith’s choreography has won many different types of awards over the past years.  Her first award was in 2001 for a Choreography and 1st Place Overall award at the competition Showstoppers and most recently (2017), her Senior Ballet piece "Lost" was awarded the Entertainment Award at the Bravo Dance Competition in Athens. She has also received other awards at Access Broadway and Bravo while teaching and choreographing at OYSP. Meredith teaches non company and company classes at OYSP and has recently starting helping with stage managing for the OYP shows. Meredith is married to Matt and they have two kids: Taylor and Slayden.

Sayward Johnson grew up dancing in Macon, Ga where she received her dance training at The Madison Studio and at Dance Arts Studio, where she was one of the founding members of the Middle Ga Youth Ballet. She spent summers at the Russian Ballet and The American Academy of Ballet in New York, where she won the highest achievement award. Sayward went to Georgia College in Milledgeville and began teaching ballet in 2001 at Studio One. At OYSP, Sayward teaches ballet and pointe. She currently lives in Oconee County with her husband and two children.

Kaylee Marchitto is a life-long dancer who grew up dancing in Marietta, GA. She is currently a second year marketing major at the University of Georgia. Kaylee started dancing at Rhythm Dance Center at the age of 3 and danced in their performing company for over ten years. She was trained intensely in jazz, tap, contemporary, hip-hop, ballet, lyrical, and musical theatre. She has been teaching and assisting classes for three years in hip-hop, contemporary, and tap. Kaylee choreographs for the award-winning OYSP dance company and teaches weekly classes at the studio.  

Hillary Sanders is a life-long dancer and grew up dancing in Columbus, GA. She joined the OYSP teaching staff in 2005 while attending the University of Georgia where she performed with the Tap Dawgs. Hillary has taught many different genres of dance and choreographed numerous award-winning dances for OYSP. At the most recent Bravo Regionals at the Classic Center in Athens, Hillary's tap piece "We're in the Money" won first place overall of all Junior Line Dances. Hillary is also an 8th grade teacher at Malcom Bridge Middle School and the Varsity cheerleading and gymnastics coach at North Oconee High School. In 2016, Hillary used her tumbling and cheerleading training to assist in the choreography for Oconee Youth Playhouse's summer musical, Bring It On.

Rachel Townes has been music director for the OYSP musical theater company for over 10 years. She plays in the pit and is the music director for all of the musicals at OYSP's sister organization, Oconee Youth Playhouse. With OYP, Rachel has been the music director for over 40 main stage shows including most recently A Christmas Story and Hairspray. Rachel began her career with a small professional company that toured the Southeast with dinner theater shows.  After she moved to Athens to study at UGA, she became the musical director for the Department of Drama, and a freelance musician for the School of Music.  She has worked for Theater on the Square in Marietta, Gainesville Theater Alliance, and Highlands Theater in North Carolina. In addition to working with the OYSP musical theater company on all their group competition numbers, Rachel also teaches private voice and piano at the studio.

Jordan Richey currently teaches voice at OYSP where she grew up as a long-time member of both OYSP's dance and musical theater company. Jordan also performed in many shows at Oconee Youth Playhouse, including Ariel in The Little Mermaid and also the title role in Elton John's musical Aida. Since high school, she has done several shows with Town & Gown Players as well as a mainstage production of Sweeney Todd at UGA. Jordan is currently a member of the award-winning UGA Hodgson Singers Choir and works as worship leader at Oconee River Church. She is also the Alumni Coordinator for UGA's American Choral Director's Association. Jordan is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Education in Special Education & a Music Minor in Voice.  After undergraduate school, she plans to pursue a Masters in Speech-Language Pathology, and use her background and training in music to become both a certified Speech Therapist and Voice Therapist.  By doing this, she hopes to help students with mental and behavioral disabilities that cause them to have speech impediments or social disabilities.

Jocelyn Allen is currently a senior at the University of Georgia and is an Exercise and Sports Science major. She started her journey in dance at the age of five at Southern Dance Connection in Lawrenceville, GA and finished it at Studio 23 in Roswell, GA in 2016. Throughout the years, she has had the privilege to attend many conventions to learn and train from amazing artists that have inspired her to dance. She has been able to be a part of two amazing shows, Cherrise Wakeham’s show “SHE” and Jon Carr’s show “Mutual Core”. She started her dance teaching career at Elite Studios in Sandy Springs, GA and taught jazz, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, and musical theatre. Jocelyn teaches hip hop, contemporary, and lyrical. Jocelyn is looking forward to a great year at OYSP.  

Lucy Haskill is an Athens native and a graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelors in Communications and a minor in Theater. After graduating, she moved to California to continue her theater studies at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts which boasts alumni the likes of Robert Redford, Grace Kelly, Danny Devito and Jessica Chastain. She graduated at the top of her class and was offered a spot in the elite Academy Company. Lucy has worked in the film and television industry for the past five years on both sides of the camera. She was a Casting Associate for Television Development for three years in Los Angeles before moving back to Athens to pursue the booming film industry in Atlanta. She has worked on several projects since moving back to Athens including the upcoming film The Leisure Seeker starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland and her recent stint as Nadine McCluskey on CMT's mini-series Sun Records. Lucy is an active member of the Athens theater community and has taught acting and production classes at OYSP. 

Jordan Osborne is a social work major at the University of Georgia. She is so excited to be working at the studio this year! Jordan began taking classes at OYSP in the first grade, joined the dance and musical theater companies in the fourth grade, and spent multiple hours a week at the studio all the way through her senior year. Her time at OYSP consisted of countless hours working on technique, preparing for competitions and recitals, and making life lasting friendships. During Jordan's senior year, she began assistant teaching at OYSP, helping in four classes a week. Jordan is currently a member of UGA’s Ballroom Performance Group, which she says has allowed her to make friends with people who couldn’t stop dancing once they got to college and explore different avenues of dancing. Jordan looks forward to a great year at OYSP and says "thanks for letting me hang around a little longer!"

Caylee Morrell is a Health Promotions major at UGA with a minor in Dance. Caylee studied the art of dance and theater for eleven years as a member of the OYSP dance and musical theater companies. She is very excited to continue her journey as a dance teacher with the studio that introduced her to her love of dance. Caylee has worked in the past as a dance technique teacher for Oconee Gymnastics and a substitute dance teacher for OYSP. During her senior year, she was able to assist in recreating a jazz piece that debuted at Access Broadway. Oconee Youth School of Performance has a very big place in her heart, and she can not wait to continue her journey here!

Chase Brantley grew up in Madison County and found OYP and OYSP at an early age and also found his passion for the performing arts. Chase was a long-time member of both OYSP's dance and musical theater companies until he graduated from Athens Academy. Several years out of college, he's continuing to grow and perform as an actor and dancer.  He has studied abroad at an international theater school south of Paris. His courses included Le Jeu, Neutral & Character Mask, Greek Tragedy, Bouffon, Melodrama, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Character, and Clown.

        Before moving to France, he taught stage combat for over 3 years in NC and GA. Chase trained at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, MA and took several weekend intensives with the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) in Atlanta, GA.  Chase holds a B.A. in Theater Performance from Sewanee: The University of the South.  His performance credits included: École Philippe Gaulier Greek Tragedy and Shakespeare/Chekhov showcases, Camp Merrie Woode, Shakespeare and Co, Lexington Children's Theater, and The Sewanee Theater. Chase teaches acting and workshop classes at OYSP and looks forward to being home and sharing what he has learned overseas. Chase is the founder of Moonlight Theater Company in Athens.

Oconee Youth School of Performance

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1050 Jamestown Blvd.

Watkinsville GA 30677

706.769.2677

oconeeyouth@gmail.com