Jennifer Aycock (Owner, Director)
Originally from Memphis, Jennifer holds a B.F.A. in Theatre performance from Auburn University and an M.A.T. from Harding University. After graduating from Auburn, she toured internationally with Missoula Children’s Theatre as a tour actor/director, then moving on to California Theatre Center where she continued her love of teaching young actors.
Upon returning to Memphis in 2007, Jennifer taught and directed for Playhouse on the Square’s Summer Conservatory and After School Acting Programs as well as New Day Children’s Theatre, a place she still holds dear to her heart. She created her own programs across the greater Memphis area focusing on the revitalization of theatre programs on the elementary level and beyond using improvisation, story theatre, voice, breath, energy, and the tools of an actor.
She is a member of Alpha Si Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society, and Alpha Chi. Shows under her direction have received a number of nominations and honors through the Orpheum’s High School Musical Theatre Awards. If you’re lucky, you can still catch a of glimpse of her on stage using the skills she teaches at one of the many local Memphis theatres.
Jennifer is in her 9th year as the Director of Theatre Arts at Harding Academy and resides in East Memphis with her husband Brian, four-year-old daughter Audrey, and their toy poodle Laya. Her family enjoys eating local, traveling, and working hard. They are so excited to be continuing this magical Sunfish journey with all of you!
Eliana Mabe (Teaching Artist/Assistant Director)
Eliana is a senior at Rhodes College from Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is a Media Studies major with a concentration in Film Studies and a double minor in Theatre and Religious Studies. Eliana started acting when she was four years old and has loved the performing arts ever since. Her 10-minute original play Show-and-Tell was a winner of the New South Young Playwrights Festival in the summer of 2020. She now directs and writes theatrical scripts under the penname neurawtic. This past summer she worked at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in the training intensive program, soaking in as much theatre making as possible in the beautiful Berkshires. She is the president of Rhodes Theatre Guild and co-president for Rhodes’ Latinx Student Association. Eliana is ecstatic to be able to teach with SunFish Children’s Theatre and loves to share the empowerment of storytelling! IG: @neurawtic
McKenzie Brewer (Teaching Artist)
McKenzie Brewer is an actress located in the Memphis area. She began acting when she was just 5 years old so she has always aspired to teach younger generations the beauty of theatre. Her professional experience includes a plethora of classes and events spanning from L.A. to Atlanta, such as the Celebrity Apprentice 2015, in which she won overall best actor for her age group. McKenzie plans to eventually move to New York and work professionally on or off Broadway. She is incredibly excited to join Sunfish’s team for the spring semester and to be a guiding light for young actors!
Emma Johnson (Teaching Artist)
Originally from Paducah, KY, Emma graduated Magna Cum Laude from The University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Vocal Music Performance in May 2022. She has been performing and training since the age of seven, being heavily involved in Western Kentucky’s local theater scene. Some of her favorite stage credits include Sister Act (Sister Mary Robert), Bye Bye Birdie (Rosie Alvarez), The Addams Family (Wednesday Addams), and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Miss Dorothy Brown).
At Ole Miss she was involved in Concert Singers, Women’s Glee, Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, The Living Music Resource, The Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, and was vice president for the Alpha Omega Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity.
Emma is a member of the UM Who’s Who Class of 2021-2022 and was awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate Opera award and the Outstanding Undergraduate Singer of the year for the Ole Miss Music Department. Her favorite stage credits at Ole Miss include The Light in the Piazza (Clara Johnson) and State of Grace (Felicity).
Emma has worked for the past year in Huntsville, AL, at Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater and Academy as a lead teaching artist, touring actor, and private voice instructor. When she isn’t in the classroom, she can be found on stage at Playhouse on the Square in Midtown. She is so excited to be back in the Mid-south area, continuing to share the magic of music and theater with the future generation!
Hannah Jackson (Teaching Artist)
Hannah Jackson attends the University of Memphis, majoring in Spanish with three minors in Education, English, and Non-Profit Management. Planning to one day be an educator, she hopes to teach PK to SK as well as Spanish and English to all school ages. Hannah is a former student of Jennifer Aycock, and for the past two years she has worked closely with many children’s ministry’s and schools, fulfilling her passion and love of leading and teaching children. Her junior year of high school she found her passion through a program in which teens read and write with a preschool-aged child twice a week, Streets Ministries. It was here she learned she has a heart for enlightening young minds and leading them to see the importance of self-expression inside the classroom and out. She cannot wait to teach and encourage kids find their own light and strengths through SunFish!