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APSU Theatre and Dance Faculty Finish Off Busy Winter Break

As we head back to classes, we want to acknowledge the busy winter break that our faculty have had. Professors Talon Beeson, Deonté Warren, and Dr. Ayo Walker were all busy working over the winter break on various projects.

First up: Deonté Warren participated in a Christmas concert featuring Broadway stars. The event was live streamed from NYC in late December.

deonte singing


Dr. Ayo Walker will be presenting "Black Phoenix Rising" at the 2022 MadCo Dare to Dance Showcase, the 2022 Collegium for African Diaspora Dance Conference (CADD), and the 2022 Alabama Dance Festival. She will also be guest teaching at the new Rennie Harris University. She will be working in the Unearthing the Phenomena of Hip Hop lecture series on Decolonizing the Black Dancing Body. Click the pictures for more info!

Ayo Macdo 1Ayo Madco 2Ayo Rennie


Talon Beeson has been in the studio recording three new audio books. The first is part of the popular JTF-13 series (Witch Hunt), the next is a collection of short B-horror stories that take place in trailer parks around the world (It Came From the Trailer Park), and the last is the first of a new series published by Tantor from the author of the hit IST-1 series that Talon also narrates (Fae Wars Onslaught). They are all available on Audible. Click the photos below!

Witch Hunt Trailer Park Fae Wars



APSU Theatre & Dance Faculty Dr. Ayo Walker to be Featured in International Puppet Theatre Festival

We are very proud of APSU Theatre & Dance Faculty Dr. Ayo Walker will be performing in a production of The Bluest Eye at this years Internation Puppet Theatre Festival Jan. 28-30, 2022. You can learn more about this production, co-created and directed by Janni Younge and Margaret Laurena Kemp and adapted by Lydia Diamond from Toni Morrison’s 1970 book, at the website: HERE.  



APSU Theatre & Dance Faculty Have a Banner Summer of Professional/Scholarly Work

The Faculty and Staff of the Dept. of Theatre and Dance pride themselves on being involved in the industry and on the cutting edge of trends in the entertainment world. While the school year brings no shortage of opportunity for them, the summer of 2021 proved particularly productive as they worked locally, nationally, and internationally at the highest level. This summer the faculty has participated in summer theatre seasons, international lectures, published textbooks, performed on stage, recorded audio books, and worked on new animated series. Here is a snapshot of what they have been up to! (NOTE: This will fill out as full reports of summer activity come in.)

Talon finished last semester by directing the World Premiere of Suspense! Live, a socially distant staging of the three time Peabody and two time SOVAS (Society of Voice Arts and Sciences) nominated radio drama Suspense!  After the production, the writer, John Alsedek, asked the entire cast to star in two episodes of the last season of the show that will be airing later this year. Talon was hired to direct both episodes. 

On the heels of this project, Talon booked and started recording a new military fantasy sci-fi book series: JTF 13. So far, there are two installments of this series available with a third to be released in the next few months. You can learn more and purchase the first book in the series HERE

After the closing of the William Morris Endeavor Voice-Over department in Los Angeles, Talon was left without LA representation. However, this summer he was signed by Commercial Talent Agency in LA. He is now repped by: CTA in LA, GoVoices in Denver, and Houghton Talent in Atlanta. 

Last January, Talon booked the lead role in a new adult animated series. The pilot of that series has finished animatics and the creators have taken several meetings with large studios. In addition, this summer, he booked the role of Jitter in another animated series called Bit Wars. With a kickstarter launching soon, this series has already created buzz in LA and the creators have taken several meetings with the leading distributors of childrens animated content. You can learn more about Bit Wars on their insta HERE

Bit Wars

Finally, Talon has been cast as Father Flynn in Doubt, John the Baptist/Judas in Godspell, and he will be directing Star Spangled Girl all at the Roxy Regional Theatre. You can learn more about the Roxy Region Season HERE. 

Professor Margaret Rennerfeldt has been selected as one of ten artists to participate in the Stress/Trauma Mitigation for Frontline Healthcare Workers Project presented by Articine in collaboration with Concord Hospital.

According to Articine “The goal of the project is to create practical, high quality and efficient guided experiences via smartphone that help healthcare workers complete their stress response cycle and relieve the stress caused by an unfathomable health crisis. These experiences can be done by healthcare staff as well as the hospitalized patients they care for who are often isolated, sick and frightened.”

Professor Rennerfeldt contributed a somatic movement experience video to be included in the project.

Articine is a 501c3 nonprofit that connects artists and medical professionals to create and implement collaborative wellness experiences for people across New England.  

Articine’s innovative programming delivers tailored curriculum to staff, healthcare students and medical residents. The health and medicine paradigm often excludes the lived human experience in diagnosis and treatment. Art brings this missing and vital piece to capture the whole person, creating agency and power in the patient. Articine applies crucial conversations to medicine including personhood, physicality, self-expression and mindfulness.

Committed to the practice of supporting healthy lifestyles for all populations through arts-based workshops, performances and initiatives between medical professionals and artists that support the growing field of lifestyle and narrative medicine. Using arts-based learning objectives and evidence-based medicine, Articine will impact the wellbeing of people through customized experiences and innovative care solutions. 

Margaret SECC

Margaret Embody

A huge welcome to our newest faculty member Deonté Warren. To learn more about Deontés background, click HERE.

Deonté taught two music theatre preparatory courses for young performers. One for the Nashville Rep at The YMCA's Camp Widjiwagan and the other for Playhouse on Park in Hartford, CT.

He participated in a panel for The Grammy's MusiCares Vocal Wellness Series where they discussed the importance of creating space for singers across the gender spectrum and the ins and outs of gender-affirming voice care.

He also co-presented with the incomparable Gwen Walker from Penn State's music theatre voice team on gender-affirming voice care in the voice studio. In this webinar, they spoke with other members of the Musical Theatre Educators' Alliance about the science and best practices involved when working with singers across the gender spectrum. Deonté was also invited to join the advisory board for Musical Theatre Educators' Alliance-Voice.

This summer Deonté completed his Master of Music in Music Theatre Vocal Pedagogy at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI.

Coming off such a busy and accomplished summer, Deonté is looking forward to starting his career in higher education at Austin Peay with so many enthusiastic, skilled, and knowledgeable educators! What an honor to be a part of this team!

Deonté FunDeonté GraduationVocal Wellness

Darren's ten-minute play, In a Tree, was selected to be a part of the 2021 From the Bluegrass Online Festival, June 10 – 12th, with Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

In February, the APSU Department of Theatre and Dance, with the support of the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, began a college collaboration with The Farm Theater in New York City.  At that time students began talking with Brooklyn-based  playwright Jake Brasch to inspire a new work by the playwright.   August 14th through 17th, Professors Talon Beeson and Darren Michael will be escorting seven Theatre and Dance students to New York City for the first public reading of the new script and will be participating in a workshop to develop the script further.  In October, APSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance will host Farm Theater’s Artistic Director Padriac Lillis and playwright Jake Brasch for a staged reading of a revised script of the new play.  The year-long process to give the students the opportunity to work on a new play from the very beginnings to its full production sometime in the next season in New York City. 

During his Spring sabbatical, Professor Darren Michael completed his play Ajax Descending, a retelling and adaptation of Sophocles’ Ajax.  The play will have a public reading sometime during the 2021 – 2022 academic year.

Professor Darren Michael has signed a contract with Roxy Regional Theatre to play Roy Cohn in their Spring 2022 production of ANGELS IN AMERICA, Part 1 and will direct the Roxy’s production of CONSTELLATIONS by Nick Payne in February 2022.

Noel spent the summer on personal painting projects, continuing to master the use of oil paints in canvas work. In the past year, Noel has received a show at a local gallery and continues to create and sell his paintings. 

Noel Courthouse Painting

More info coming soon!
More info coming soon!
More info coming soon!
More info coming soon!
More info coming soon!



Sebastian L. Fenton (2024)

Sebastian (BFA Music Theatre) is performing in Cabaret with Pull-Tight Players arts in a sold out run in Franklin, TN.

Sebastian Cabaret

Logan Reed (2021)

Logan (BFA Acting) is performing in A Year with Frog and Toad at Woodstock arts in Woodstock, GA.

Frog and Toad

Treston Henderson (2020)

Fresh off the national tour of Ain't Too Proud, Treston (BFA Music Theatre) performed in the Music Circus production of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical in Davis, CA.

Carole King Musical

Aubrie Lauren (2023)

Aubrie (BFA Music Theatre) recently performed in Jersey Boys at the Croswell Opera House in Adrian, MI. 

Jersey Boys

Kelly Barrios (2019)

Kelly (BFA Dance) is a dance instructor at Acro Dance Express and recently had students performing in the Revolution dance recital.


Lucas Blair (2021) and Katie Rose Maynard (2024)

Lucas (BFA Music Theatre 2021) and Katie (current BFA Dance senior) recently performed in Bonnie and Clyde at Mountain Movers Theatre Company.

Bonnie and Clyde 

Noah Puckett - 2023

Noah (BFA Acting) is directing Murdered to Death for Renaissance Players.

Murdered to Death

Ansley Arthur (2022), Ashley Birnbaum (2023),  & Alex Vanburen (2023)

These three recent Music Theatre grads were just featured in the show County Fair at Roxy Regional Theatre. 

County Fair

Lexi Putter - 2020

Lexi Putter (BFA Acting 2020) is active in the improv scene in Chicago, recently performing at Second City!

Lexi Putter Second City


APSU Theatre & Dance Design Students Attend Stained Glass Workshop with Scenic Artist Angelique Powers

Recently a group of APSU Theatre & Dance students had the opportunity to attend an intensive weekend workshop with professional scenic artist Angeliqe Powers here in our own scene shop! Some amazing work was done and a new skill was learned. Just another example of the great hands on work with working guest artists that happens here at APSU Theatre & Dance.

glass 2glass 3glass 1

APSU Theatre & Dance Senior Alyssa Amos Featured in the Latest Student Spotlight

Senior BA Design Student Alyssa Amos has been featured in the latest APSU student spotlight. Alyssa is a double major in Business and Theatre. She has been extremely active in the department and we can't wait to see where her career takes her! Congrats Alyssa!

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Recent APSU Music Theatre Alum Treston Henderson (MT 2019) Books First National Tour of "Ain't Too Proud"

We are thrilled to announce that Treston Henderson (BFA Music Theatre 2019) recently booked the first national tour of the Broadway hit Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations. Treston has recently relocated to NYC where he started rehearsal for this production. You can learn more about Treston on his website at https://www.trestonjhenderson.com/.

Aint Too Proud to Beg Cast

Alum Michael Mason (2015) Wins Design Competition


Michael Mason, A 2015 graduate of the Theatre & Dance Department, recently won the scenic design competition for region 3 (Midwest) of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. He is in his first year in the MFA design program at Illinois State University. Michael won with his design for ISU’s production of Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau. In April, Michael will present his design at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to compete for the national prize.




Film by Austin Peay student, alum nominated for international Christian festival

“Found at the Steps,” a film created by Austin Peay State University student Kaitlyn Williams and alum Lane Lewis, has been accepted and nominated for Best Short Film at the 2020 International Christian Music and Film Festival in Orlando, Florida, and was in the top 15 films nominated for Best Short Film.



Musical Theatre Alum Treston Henderson (2020) and current Musical Theatre student Hannah Clark (2021) cast in a virtual performance of Sticks and Stones featuring Audra McDonald

Congrats to current Musical Theatre student Hannah Clark (2021) and Musical Theatre alum Treston Henderson on being cast in a benefit performance of the new musical Sticks and Stones featuring Audra McDonald and several other Broadway stars. Treston was part of the original reading of this new musical  by grammy winning composer John McDaniel and lyricist/librettist Scott Logsdon. Now, in this virtual highlight performance for charity, he will be joined by Hannah Clark. You can read more about this peformance HERE.  


APSU Theatre & Dance Alum Michael Mason, BFA Design 2015, Receives Prestigious Eric R. Baber Fellowship at Illinois State University. 

APSU Theatre & Dance is proud to announce that alum Michael Mason (BFA Design 2015) has received the prestigious Eric R. Baber Fellowship. This grant is to nurture excellence in individual performers in Fine Arts, through emphasis on studio approach, rather than training for teaching. This does not preclude grant fellows from engaging in music or art education work, but the main thrust of the grant should be to help develop top-notch individual performers, and enhance ISU’s prestige as a place where the finest musicians and artists study and perform. Accepting this grant implies a good-faith effort by faculty members to seek out and help attract two outstanding young performers each year in music, art, or theatre. These should be persons who obviously have potential to become well-recognized professional career performers, accepted for admission to ISU Graduate School as a master’s degree student and be a performing or studio artist. Exceptional talent is the basis for the award. Congratulations to Michael!


Rising APSU Theatre & Dance Senior Bree Presson, BFA Acting 2021, Receives Undergraduate Research Enrichment Funding To Study Intimacy Direction in Theatre, Dance, and Film settings

APSU Theatre & Dance is proud to announce that rising senior Bree Presson (BFA Acting 2021) has received an Undergraduate Research Enrichment Funding award in the amount of $3000 to study the impact and importance of Intimacy Direction in Theatre, Dance, and Film settingsThe award is funded through the APSU Office of Student Research and Innovation. We are very proud of Bree as she beings to study such an important and exciting area of the theatrical world. Congrats Bree!

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Recent APSU Theatre & Dance Grad Alexandria Heide, BFA Dance 2020, Receives Position at Respected Dance Studio

APSU Theatre & Dance is proud to announce that recent graduate Alexandria Heide (BFA Dance 2020) has received a position at the Dance Academy of Michigan. Alex will be serving as a dance educator and mentor to students as well as, choreographing, and doing administrative work. We are very proud of Alex as she heads out into the world during a very difficult time. Congrats Alex!

The Dance Academy of Michigan




Recent APSU Theatre & Dance Grad Corey Finley, BA Acting 2020, Receives One Year Acting Internship at Top Atlanta Theatre

APSU Theatre & Dance is proud to announce that recent graduate Corey Finley (BA Acting 2020) has received a one year acting internship at the prestigious Actors Express theatre in Atlanta. Actors Express is one of the top theatres in Atlanta and is helmed by award winning director Freddie Ashley. Freddie was recently at APSU to direct the world premiere of 5 Savory Dishes by John Patrick Shanley as part of the Theatre & Dance Acuff Year. 



APSU Theatre & Dance Alum Jerry Winsett Featured in Film Festival Short and Highly Anticipated Feature Film 

APSU Theatre & Dance is very proud of Alum Jerry Winsett on his recent short film that has been featured in the Riverrun Film Festival, Cucalorus Film Festival, and SXSW Virtual Film Festival. He is also featured in the upcoming feature film Drought that is one of the top ten most anticipated films in the upcoming Vail Film Festival. You can read more about the film and the festival HERE. You can watch the short film film here:


Jerry has been featured in many films and TV shows over the years including Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri among many others.

You can learn and watch more about on his website at: www.jerrywinsett.com.

APSU Alums Briar Moroschak and Megan DeWald Nominated and current student Treston Henderson for Five Nashville First Night Awards 

Briar Moroschak (Musical Theatre - 2017) was recently nominated for three Nashville First Night awards for her work at Street Theatre. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her potrayal of Clara in A Light in the Piazza, Most Promising Actor, and Best Actress for her potrayal of Christine in Be More Chill. In addition, Megan DeWald (Acting/Directing - 2016) was nominated for Best Actress for her role in Maidens. Treston Henderson (Musical Theatre - 2020) was nominated for most promising actor.

trio pic

APSU Partners with Farm Theatre NYC to present World Premiere of play by Jake Brasch

Our Tempest Poster

At the end of the summer, APSU Theatre & Dance students went to NYC to workshop a new play by playwright Jake Brasch in collaboration with Farm Theatre NYC. This week (Nov. 5-6), APSU students will be presenting a staged reading of this play directed by Darren Michael. The playwright will also be on hand for a talkback after the performances. Read more about the event here:

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APSU Dept. Theatre & Dance, Featured on BroadwayWorld.com in Anticipation of the World Premiere of Five New John Patrick Shanley Plays


As the 2019-2020 APSU Theatre & Dance Acuff season ramps up, APSU Theatre & Dance gets ready to play host to Oscar/Tony/Pulitzer winning playwright John Patrick Shanley and Suzi/Tony winning Atlanta based director Freddie Ashley. Mr. Ashley will be giving a public Q&A on October 26th before the premiere of the new John Patrick Shanley plays entitled 5 Savory Dishes on November 21-24. Mr. Shanley will be on hand for a week in February for workshops and public events. For more information, check out this article on BroadwayWorld.com!

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