Dedra founded PAPAS back in 2002. It started as a summer show choir camp “Singsations”. In 2015 we added an acting division and became PAPAS and also expanded our program to include competitive show choirs. Dedra has a passion for providing a creative space for students of all abilities. Dedra has her Bachelors of Music Education from Illinois State University and is also a Private Voice Instructor and freelance choreographer. She loves performing in the area. Some favorite roles include Francesca - Bridges of Madison County (Cornstock Theater), Donna - Mamma Mia (Peoria Players theater), Witch - Into the Woods (Eastlight Theater) and Woman 1 - Songs for a New World (The Waterhouse)
Celeste "Cookie" Matheson
Celeste has been performing in community theatre since she was 8. Since then, she has continued to perform, and has loved opportunities to teach and coach students. Along with theatre, her other favorite performance outlet has been Speech. In college, she competed for Illinois State University's Speech team and won the title of national champion in Prose Reading. After receiving her master's degree in communication studies, she served as the Director of Speech at the University of Northern Iowa where she coached students in competitive speech. Once she became a mother, she assisted in music directing at St. Thomas grade school in Peoria Heights. Celeste currently serves on the Board of Corn Stock Theatre as Vice President and continues to perform in the area. She is excited to share her love of performing and to help build confidence and performance skills with the students of PAPAS.
Brian, originally from Milwaukee, WI, has been involved with Peoria community theatre since 2014. He has helped build sets, assistant directed, helped on run crew, and even did his Senior Capstone for Bradley University on Peoria Players. He has subbed for PAPAS classes and designed and ran lights for their most recent production of Beauty and the Beast.
After graduating from Bradley University in 2017, Brian went on to work in professional theatre up until he moved back to Peoria at the beginning of 2023. In those six years, he worked in casting at The Telsey Group in Los Angeles, was part of the Company Management department at Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine for two seasons, worked in Marketing at MCC Theatre and in the Artistic office of Manhattan Theatre Club in New York, and most recently, for the past 3 and a half years, he was the Associate Producer in the Broadway producing office of Tom Hulce and Ira Pittelman where he worked on several productions including: Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations, Spring Awakening: 15th Anniversary Reunion Concert, Chess In Concert, and others.
Using his years of experience in the professional theatre industry, he is very excited to be on staff at Peoria Area Performing Arts Studio to teach about the business behind show business)
Jake Van Hoorn has been working in theater for 10 years and in film and television for 4. He has worked as an actor, director, stage manager, dramaturg, house manager, and casting associate, both in Peoria and Chicago. Jake currently serves on the Corn Stock for Kids Committee, recently directed and provided dramaturgy for a three-week developmental workshop of a new folk musical Burn, which was performed at Bradley University, and will be appearing as Utterson in Peoria Players’ production of Jekyll and Hyde.
Jake will be diving into scene study and exploration of text with our students
Sam is a Singer/Songwriter, Recording Artist, Freelance Choreographer and Professional Dancer based out of Nashville, TN. A graduate of Belmont University in Commercial Music, he brings us his unique blend of Urban Funk & Hip Hop to our competitive show choirs. Students love Sam for his positive outlook and fun choreography . Sam has spent the summer as a backup dancer for the Walker Hayes National Tour.