Brad Distelhorst-Head Theatre Director, Fine Arts Department Chair
Mr. Distelhorst has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Performance from Baylor University. After graduating he worked as a full time staff member for WaterTower Theatre in Addison, Tx. Mr. D moved to Austin and spent more than seven years as the Technical Production Coordinator at the Round Rock ISD Performing Arts Center before deciding to get his certification to become a theatre teacher. This is his third year as Head Director of the Akins Journey Theatre program and his first year as Fine Arts Department Chair.
Kade Lasseigne-Technical Theatre Director
Mr. Lasseigne comes from Spring, Texas where he graduated from Spring High School. He began performing and doing tech during productions at Dueitt Middle School and hasn't stopped since. After graduating high school, Mr. Lasseigne went on to study Theatre Education and achieved his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Texas State University in San Marcos. He has spent the past three years directing and teaching at Splendora Early College High School in Splendora, Tx. He is currently working on his Masters of Arts in Theatre Education at the University of Houston where he is studying performance and technical theatre in a program designed specifically for teachers.
Audrey Sansom-3rd Director Akins HS/Paredes MS
Mrs. Sansom was born and raised in South Austin. Her love of performance began at Molly Dawson Elementary where she excelled in choir and made her acting debut as Arizona Mary in How the West Was Really Won! She is a graduate of Travis High School where she cultivated her love of Theatre Arts through UIL One Act Play competition and musical theatre. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin with concentrated training in performance and technical theatre. She has a passion for improvisation, the creation of new work, and costume design. Her favorite roles to have played are Sarah Norman in Children of a Lesser God and Christine in My Sister in This House. But the role she is most proud of is being a teacher. In her spare time she loves working out, gaming with her family, and indulging in her countless hobbies like reading, photography, fashion, and anime.
Tara Gillespie-(Guest Artist) Musical Theatre Vocal Coach
Tara Gillespie graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA! She received a BFA in Musical Theatre. What a change to go from Texas to Philly. She auditioned for many different schools, and knows what it takes to get there. She then moved to New York City 2 days after graduation, on her 22nd birthday. She spent 13 wonderful years and also challenging years in NYC. She went through lots and lots of auditions of every kind. Broadway, Off-Broadway, TV, Soaps, Film, Commercials, Concerts, Readings, Showcases, etc. She has sung for ABBA (Mama Mia), Stephen Schwartz (Wicked), Hal Prince (Gypsy). She was also up for leads in Mama Mia, Wicked, Rend and Hairspray. She definitely has a lot of versatility and knowledge of what they are looking for. She did Eugene O’Neills Play “Ah Wilderness,” at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Mn. She opened there and toured it all over the Midwest for 6 months. She did appear on NBC’s Law & Order as a featured role with the late Jerry Orbach. She has lots fo experience, knowledge and she is excited to be working with Akins Journey Theatre.
Sara Burke-(Guest Artist) Musical Theatre Choreograher
Sara Burke was raised in Georgetown, TX and started dancing at a very early age. She grew up in a competition dance studio and found her passion for musical theatre at the young age of 9. Once Sara graduated high school, she began working professionally as an actor and choreographer. Some of her early credits included working for regional theaters around the US and being a part of the inaugural cast of Legally Blonde on the Norwegian Getaway.
Now, Sara is currently living in Austin, TX and is signed with Collier Talent Agency. She has had the opportunity to collaborate with some amazing talents such as Emmy Award-winning Allen Robertson, choreographer Dominique Kelley, and most recently for ZACH Theatre. Other choreography credits include; TAP Camp, Summer Stock Austin, Tex Arts, The Georgetown Palace Theatre, Austin Theatre Project, and ASPVA School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Sara is a proud member of the AEA and you may have seen her onstage recently in Singin’ In The Rain, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, A Christmas Carol and Peter and the Star Catcher at ZACH Theatre.
Sara is also available for private lessons focusing on dance, acting through song, and audition prep. For more information on pricing and availability please email her using the link above.
Performing in one of the most beautiful theatre facilities in Austin ISD, the Akins Journey Theatre is proud to have produced over 60 shows since the school opened in the fall of 2000. Under the direction of Brad Distelhorst, AJT continues to offer students varied opportunities to participate in activities onstage, backstage and in the community. Course offerings include Theatre Arts I-IV, Technical Theatre I-IV, Theatre Production I-IV, and Musical Theatre I-IV. Students may work in 2-5 shows per season, including senior directed and touring shows as well as senior internships. AJT students provide performances for local elementary schools, engage in community service projects, and compete yearly in the University Interscholastic League One-Act Play Competition. Eligible students may join the Akins Chapter of the International Thespian Society, an honor society promoting excellence in theatre. All theatre students are encouraged to have private lessons. Parents are essential to the success of our students and are invited to become active members in our Drama Boosters Club.