Our faculty consists of trained, dedicated instructors.
Heather is from Cleveland, OH. She moved to Asheville to attend UNCA where she played soccer (Go Bulldogs!) and graduated with honors with a BA in Psychology. Heather started the Asheville Performing Arts Academy in 2004 in order to bring theatrical training to the children of the Asheville area. Since then she has directed over 100 productions and won many awards including the Freddy G. Award for Teaching Excellence. Heather has also been Irish Dancing since the age of 4. Her Irish Dance program is a part of the award-winning Drake School of Irish Dance.
Taylor Aldrich is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a BFA in Drama. She has been trained in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, and Modern for a little over 20 years. Taylor has performed with several regional theaters across the country, and currently performing locally. She has been teaching academy acting and prep. dance at APAA since 2015, as well as directing several shows throughout the year.
Bradshaw is a native of Morganton, NC. He studied theatre at Mars Hill University. He has worked with Children’s theatres throughout the East Coast. He has been in many theatre productions with Asheville area companies. Some of his favorite roles include: Albin/Zaza in La Cage Aux Folles, Frank N Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Gomez Addams in The Addams Family, William Barfy in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Ellard Simms in The Foreigner, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, Adam/Noah in Children of Eden, and Dickon in The Secret Garden. Bradshaw has also taught several theatre classes with local theatre companies. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, gardening, crafting, and Goodwill Hunting. He is so excited to join the APAA team!
Zach Knox has been playing the piano from the moment he was tall enough to reach the keys. A native of Austin, TX, Zach has performed all over the country in theaters, music venues, schools, weddings and corporate events. After studying music and philosophy at Southwestern University at Georgetown, Zach made a living as a Music Director and bandleader for several of Austin’s theatre institutions including KidsActing, River City Pops, Austin Summer Musical for Children, and much more. Zach is honored and excited to bring his musical exuberance to APAA where he teaches music theory. He is an enthusiastic teacher who places importance on opening the world of music to children to inspire their dreams and preserve their innocence. Before he and his thespian wife Jai arrived in Asheville, Zach taught elementary school music in Houston, TX.
Hailing from Black Mountain, Alyssa couldn’t be more excited to be joining the APAA family as the Prep Academy Acting teacher! She received her degree in Theatre in 2010 from The University of Vermont and most recently returned to school at UNCA to study Theatre Arts education. She has previously worked as a teaching artist with Creative Action, a program based out of Austin, TX that is designed to help implement social change through the creative arts. She has been active in the theatre world both on and off of the stage for most of her life and has come to the conclusion that teaching and working with children is her truest passion. Some of her favorite shows that she has worked on include The Miss Firecracker Contest, Degas C’est Moi, and Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.
Karen Rigsby is a graduate of UNC Asheville with a BA in Theatre, with a K-12 teaching license in Theatre and Elementary Education. Karen has worked with APAA since 2011 in various forms; stage managing, directing, and all levels of acting. Karen is also entering her 8th year teaching drama at Claxton Elementary. This year, Karen is excited to be working as the educational consultant and Junior Theatre Festival organizer.
Native to Waynesville, NC, Cord has worked as a professional dancer since the age of 14. He began working professionally as a choreographer at the age of 19 when he choreographed his first full-length musical “Kiss Me, Kate.” Since then he has worked on over 30 professional shows as choreographer and director. Many of which have gained him several awards including Best Choreography for an Original Show. Cord has been teaching dance and theatre for the last 10 years working in companies all across the country from coast to coast. He served as Dance Captain for the tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in his early 20s then returned to the area where he realized his calling for teaching. He is thrilled to be a part of the amazing team at Asheville Performing Arts Academy.
Amanda has been with the Asheville Performing Arts Academy since 2012. She started off as an Academy student during her sophomore year of high school and then became the technical theatre intern from 2013-2015. While the intern, Amanda stage managed the Academy and Youth Community Theatre shows. She is now a student at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance pursuing her BFA in Design and Production with a concentration in Stage Management.