Instructors

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 onstage 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 two dogs, Harper and Laya. Her family enjoys eating local, travelling, 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 currently 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. She 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

Mary Helen (Teaching Artist)

Mary Helen in a Memphis native and is a graduate from Belmont University with a degree in Theatre Performance, Communication, and Education. To conclude her undergraduate degree, Mary Helen spent 6 months interning for Telsey and Company Casting in New York City, one of Broadway’s top Casting Companies. Mary Helen has been performing all around the Mid-South since the age of 6, but working with children’s theatre holds a dear place in her heart. She has taught Senior Musical Theatre Conservatory’s with Germantown Community Theatre, taught the Literacy to Life program with New Day Children’s Theatre, and is currently the Office Manager with DeSoto Family Theatre. Mary Helen was a part of the Education, Communication, and Theatre honor societies at Belmont University, was a 2015 Mid-South Fair Youth Talent Grand Award Winner, and was the Marketing and Merchandise representative of Alpha Sigma Tau. She is excited to be working and sharing her love for Theatre with the next generation of performers and artists! @mhmccord

Rachel Mihalko (Teaching Artist)

Rachel Mihalko has her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, with a minor in Communication Studies. She has always had a passion for storytelling and theater. She served as president and vice president of Alpha Psi Omega in her college chapter. Her favorite shows she has worked on recently include Dreamlost (director) and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (assistant director). She currently works as the director of content for a nonprofit media company, where she continues to hone her storytelling skills as the editor of their quarterly magazines. She is thrilled to further her work as a storyteller here as a member of the Sunfish Children’s Theatre team! 

Hannah Jackson (Teaching Artist)

Hannah Jackson currently 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 would read and write with a pre-school age 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!

Brian Kenton (Teaching Artist)

Bryan is a professional overall creative from Memphis Tennessee.
His innovative artistic style has gained the attention of several people globally. He believes that artistic expression can help people understand more about individuals around the world. With his knowledge and experience, he is a motivated professional with communication proficiency and extensive Theatre /Teaching experience. He artfully balances workplace objectives and productive relationships, inspiring strategies and insightful suggestions to achieve a competitive business edge. His decision-making and leadership strengths have enabled his professional growth. Over the summer he directed several children’s shows at the Kroc Center’s pilot program in their grand re-opening of their theatre, and works closely with the Salvation Army. Bryan has most recently accepted the position of Theatre Director at Millington High School!

Holly Nolen (Teaching Artist)

Ever since Holly was young she has loved plays and has even written and directed for the church she attended as a youth. Over the past few years Holly has coordinated music events independently for a cause and most recently taught stage design and art at Germantown Community Theatre and their after school acting program. Holly’s goal at Sunfish is to create a positive environment for her students, where they can create interesting and involved performances.
Holly is a Communications major, with interest in the stage and all of it’s inner workings. She has a 7 year old son, David

Katie Savage (Teaching Artist)

Katie Savage is a born and raised Memphian. She has been working with Mrs. Aycock since she was a youth. Her favorite roles performed in were Pinocchio, Snow White, and Amy in Little Women, the Musical. She was on the tech crew for the Lions King, Jr. production and had the amazing opportunity to work with kids of all ages during that time. Katie has been very passionate about taking care of kids from a very young age. She has volunteered in her church’s children’s ministry for the past eight years, and has worked at Highland Day school for the past two years. Katie hopes to graduate college with a social work degree and then become a children’s counselor. Katie can not wait for the amazing opportunity to teach and share her love of theatre at sunfish!

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