About Us • Teaching Artists

Experienced Mentors

Our teaching artists co-lead programs and workshops, providing mentorship to teens in art-making and life skills.

Gemma Soldati

Theatre - Read Bio

Gemma Soldati is an American performing and teaching artist. Her most recent touring show was the Award Winning The Living Room–a devised clown show with Amrita Dhaliwal. She has taught in Los Angeles, New England, and Toronto for both adults and children.

Gemma’s focus is clown inspired work developed in front of live audiences. Her projects playfully dive deep into the heart of vital themes probing audiences with questions and meaning making – Grief, Ritual, Sleep, Dreams, Money, Wealth and beyond. Her current projects are The Poor Rich, an interactive clown show about the absurdity of money and The Adventures of Sleepyhead, a family show about the loss of one’s dreams, was developed at the New Hampshire Theatre Project and presented at the 2021 Edinburgh Festival Fringe by Assembly. Sleepyhead has also been adapted as a short video series for NHPBS with support from the New Hampshire Humanities.

Gemma was an artist in Residence at Het Domijn Artist Cooperative in Weesp, Netherlands in 2021 and has been a member of multiple ensembles including The Murge, The Invention of Language, and The Simple Simples. She has devised and produced several shows in Los Angeles including The Cobbler, The Sleepover Show, The Living Room and Amateur Burlesque—featured in Comedy Bureau’s 2018 “100 Best Things in Comedy.” She has studied with Paola Coletto, Deanna Fleysher, John Gilkey, Philippe Gaulier, Aitor Basauri, and Mick Barnfather. She was a recipient of a Community Grant by the New Hampshire Humanities, as well as an Artist Entrepreneurial Grant from New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. She is a member of the NH State Council on the Arts Arts in Education Roster.

Raven McGill

Visual Arts - Read Bio

Raven McGill is a mutli-disciplinary artist born and raised in New Hampshire. They are well-versed in many art forms; they have built a spaceship in the woods, painted murals, gone viral, and performed “My Heart Will Go On” on the kazoo as a clown. These days they mainly focus on visual arts and crafting for fun but are always down to plan something very extravagant.

The best thing about getting to be a teaching artist to the AIR students is getting to be inspired by so many brilliant minds! Raven is extremely grateful to be involved in empowering young people to take creativity and self-expression into their own hands and story no matter what our culture, circumstances, and bullies have to say.

Katrina Pratt

Storytelling - Read Bio

Katrina has been dancing and weaving stories for as long as she can remember; performing for the rocks and trees as a small child and eventually joining the circus in New York, building giant puppets and swinging from theater rafters above the audience. She has been working with children for more than 20 years, incorporating storytelling, movement and puppetry into educational therapy and alternative forms of teaching. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Education and Human Development.

She graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.A. in medical anthropology, focusing on birth and child development across cultures. Her interest in evolutionary biology, social dynamics, and the relationship between play and learning informs the way she shapes curriculum. Stories are a huge part of this – inspiring critical thinking, collaboration, the processing of challenging experiences, and igniting a sense of wonder. She lives between Colorado and New Hampshire dancing in trees, making potions, puppets, and honing her archery skills.

Audra Brandt

Storytelling - Read Bio

Audra is a film-maker, dancer, and lover of miniature worlds. She has been working with children for many years, teaching animation, puppetry, and theater workshops across the country. In 2006 Audra graduated from the Kansas-City Art Institute with a BFA in photography and new media.

Katie Juster

Theatre - Read Bio
Katie is a professional actress and teaching artist. As a director, choreographer, stage manager, props designer, and costume designer, she lives and breathes theatre! Katie is the Camp Director at Prescott Park Arts Festival in Portsmouth, and can be found teaching classes at theatres all around the Seacoast. She is always excited to share her love of theatre with her friends at Arts in Reach!

Meghan Samson

Visual Arts - Read Bio

Meghan grew up in Southern New Hampshire.  Most of her early childhood she lived
on a farm where her parents grew vegetables, raised chickens, and tapped their
maple trees. Meghan loved playing with her brother and sister in the fields and
woods pretending to be animals both real and imagined, or characters from their
imaginations. This upbringing played a crucial role in her interests in the handmade
and helped shape her as an artist from a very young age.  She cannot remember a
time when she did not make things with her hands or have the desire to tell a story
through artmaking. 

Meghan received her BFA in clay and sculpture from the University of New Hampshire and later received her MFA from Boston University with a concentration in sculpture. She has been teaching art for the last 15 years and loves nothing more than spending time cultivating creative exploration with each and every artist she is able to work with. She is currently an adjunct professor of ceramics at the University of New Hampshire, and teaches and works out of her studio MudCity Clay in Rochester, New Hampshire. There, she is able to work with many different clay artists and invites organizations, such as Arts In Reach, to study and explore clay in new and exciting ways. Meghan lives in the wild woods of Barrington with her husband and young son, and their crazy dog Rita.

Catherine Stewart

Theatre Director - Read Bio

Catherine, a native of Scotland, emigrated to the US in 2012 and soon settled in the Seacoast of NH. Catherine is a writer and director for both theatre and film, making work that aims to ignite social and political change. She has maintained teaching and facilitation as part of her creative practice for the past six years working with all age and ability groups in educational institutions, community settings and with non-profit arts organisations. She is part of the Teaching Artist Roster for New Hampshire, and specialises in cross-curricular learning that utilises the arts. Catherine co-owns a media production company, Film Unbound, with her husband Michael, creating fiction, documentary and promotional work for clients. She is currently in production for their first feature documentary about the American Public Education System. She is a regular contributor to numerous media outlets including writing for the Doing Good blog for Stay Work Play NH, and she is the creator of the Females in Film article series on NewEnglandFilm.com.

Catherine’s spare time is often filled by her passion for advocacy, volunteering for organizations such as Slow Food Seacoast and RESULTS, but you might also find her cooking, knitting or planning her next travel adventure. You can follow Catherine on Twitter: @MakeCreateMore

Rachel Pantazis

Lead Vocal Instructor - Read Bio

Rachel Pantazis is a voice coach and professional performer originally from Manchester, NH. After attending Plymouth State University for a degree in English, Rachel changed career paths to be a classical singer, musical theatre professional, and cruise line performer. Rachel has performed on ships for Carnival Cruise Lines as well as theatre venues like The Seacoast Repertory Theatre, The Firehouse Center for the Arts, The Ogunquit Playhouse, The Hackmatack Playhouse, and the Mac-Haydn Theatre. Rachel believes in a healthy mind and body as the building blocks for successful singing technique and strives to build her singers up with confidence and scientific knowledge of their instrument. Rachel continues to teach voice lessons virtually out of her own studio when she isn’t performing on the ocean!

Roxanne O’Connor

SongWorks 2015 Lead Musician - Read Bio

University of New Hampshire, Bachelor of Music, Music Education

Roxanne grew up in a household that fostered a love of music (you might see her dad out and about, performing with his blues band or playing for the AiR girls). As a high school senior project, she started a choir for non-singers. Passing her love of music onto her self-named “non musical” peers was such a powerful experience that she changed her college major from performance to education. Roxanne graduated from the UNH in 2009 and has been working in the school system in some form or another since then. She is currently the music teacher at Bow Elementary School, as well as the director of both the Junior and Senior Choirs at Lee Church Congregational. When she isn’t making music, Roxanne enjoys watching football with her husband Dan, snowboarding, and playing with her adorable pug, Gronk. She is thankful for the opportunity to work with the AiR girls – it refreshed her love of music and reminded her why she decided on this career path.

Favorite Ice Cream: Cookies n’ Cream

Favorite Animal: Owl

Stephanie Lanzenby

Theatre Director - Read Bio

Stephanie received a B.F.A. in Creative Writing and Performing Arts from Emerson College in Boston, MA and a B.A. in Liberal Arts from The New School for Social Research, New York, NY. Stephanie is a curriculum based Theater Workshop Teacher with the City of Portsmouth and created a workshop to fulfill a need in our educational system for increased learning through the arts. All three elementary schools in the Portsmouth school district take part in the workshops. As the Assistant Director of Education with Patrick Dorow Productions, Stephanie co-directed and developed the summer camp program, culminating in performances of two musicals, as well as co-created the after-school program for ages five through thirteen. Since 2011, Stephanie has been the After-School Enrichment Theater Teacher for the City of Portsmouth and is the Director and Creator of the Dondero Drama Club.

Larissa Fogg

Dance Choreographer - Read Bio

Larissa has been studying dance for 15 years, with the last four years spent in advanced classes in Boston. Her favorite styles are hip hop, contemporary, and jazz. She attended master classes and dance intensives with lots of well-known professionals in Boston, NYC, London, and Buenos Aires. She currently performs with a professional dance company out of Boston (Boston Community Dance Project) and was a summer intern with them for two years. Prior to that, she performed with Boston Youth Moves (a pre-professional company) for three years as well as with many local dance schools. Larissa has been teaching dance classes for the past four years. She was hired as the dance teacher/choreographer for Arts In Reach in 2015 for their after school program and vacation camp. She also teaches hip hop at the Kittery Community Center as well as private and semi-private classes. She has a strong grasp of the history and culture of hip hop. Larissa is passionate about dance and loves to share her enthusiasm and talent with dance students of all ages.

Natalie Safley

Theatre Director - Read Bio

Natalie has been a consumer of the Arts since her mother put her in a drama class when she was 14 years old. At that moment her life changed forever! Natalie holds a BA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Stage Management and a MA in Theatre Education both from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. Additionally, she acquired a MA in Directing from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois. Life has taken her on many adventures however teaching and directing theatre have been at the heart of everything for the last nineteen years. She has taught theatre in high schools in Oregon, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and is currently the Theatre Director at Freeport High School in Freeport, Maine. Additional teaching endeavors include: Assistant Professor, Northern Virginia Community College, Adjunct Professor Southern New Hampshire University and Adjunct Professor NHTI, Concord’s Community College. She resides in Portsmouth, NH with her husband and two small children where they try to spend as much time as possible outside.

Ellissa Margolin

SongWorks Musician - Read Bio

Elissa Margolin is a singer-songwriter from Portsmouth, NH. With 18 years of classical piano training and a passion for the acoustic guitar, Elissa blends these instruments and her lyrics with the talents of many area musicians. EDGE Magazine and the Seacoast Media Group awarded Elissa the Spotlight Award for “Best Singer-Songwriter” in 2015 and most recently named her latest CD with her band, River Sister, one of the best releases in 2017. Elissa has been a guest artist for AIR’s arts intensive 2013, SongWorks 2014, 2015 and 2016 and is the past president of the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center. You can find Elissa performing around the region with River Sister and at home practicing her cello.

Sarah Duclos

Dance Choreographer - Read Bio

Sarah Duclos is a freelance New England based choreographer and dance educator who holds a Bachelor of the Arts in Theatre and Dance from the University of New Hampshire. As a young dancer, Duclos worked directly with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange during their two year residency leading up to The Shipyard Project – sparking a lifelong interest in site-specific, community-based dance work. While studying at UNH, Duclos founded Neoteric Dance Collaborative (NEO) a multi-disciplinary dance company with a mission to stop dance from disappearing in rural and suburban communities by building community through the art of dance. NEO has performed Duclos’ choreography on stages in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and at City Center in New York City. Duclos has worked as a freelance performer and choreographer, for both theatre and concert dance, and as a dance educator, notably working as a master teaching artist for Boston Ballet’s Education and Community Initiatives, a faculty member at Phillips Exeter Academy’s department of Theater and Dance – where she served as Interim Director of Dance during the 2015-2016 academic year and internationally as a dance facilitator at the Abhainn Ri Festival of Participation and Inclusion in Callan, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland. She specializes in teaching classical ballet (Vaganova method), choreography and composition, dance history and Giordano jazz technique. Duclos was appointed to the juried New Hampshire Arts in Education Roster in 2016 and continues to produce, direct and teach with Neoteric Dance Collaborative. http://www.vimeo.com/neotericdance

Kathy Fink

Voice Intensive Accompanist - Read Bio

Kathy Fink has been seen at many area theaters as both pianist and musical director. She is pleased to be a part of the Arts In Reach family! She teaches all levels & styles of piano in her home studio and at the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center (PMAC). Kathy co-leads the Fourth Street Jazz Choir, serves as choral instructor at the Cocheco Academy of the Arts (CATA), and is the Director of Music for St Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Dover. She has a BA in piano performance & MA in music history from UNH. Her accompanying career began at the age of 9 for the 4thgrade chorus in Leeds, England. She accompanied first full-length musical at age 15. Kathy has worked at Prescott Park Arts Festival, the Rochester Opera House, the Rep, The Bell Center, Hackmatack Playhouse, the Palace Theatre, Garrison Players, Governor’s Inn, Players Ring,& more! You may recognize her from the local band Crossfire, which she played in from 1979-1988. Kathy lives in Dover with her husband Greg, and her beagle Cookie who offers moral support!

Katie Gall

Voice Instructor - Read Bio

Voice teacher and performer, Katie Gall, moved back to the seacoast area after performing and teaching in NYC for the last 10 years. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Steinhardt School at New York University in Vocal Performance as well as a post-Master’s degree in Vocal Pedagogy. Most notably, Katie has taught at New York University, Mayo Performing Arts Center, and Highbridge Voices in NYC, and through the Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth. Additionally, Katie is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and believes in a whole body and mind approach to healthy performance. Most recently Katie has been seen in “The Hunchback of Norte Dame” at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre and at the Rochester Opera House in “Happy Days: The Musical”!

Amanda Reimers

Singer/Songwriter - Read Bio

Amanda Reimers is a singer/ songwriter, musician, black belt karate instructor, and AIR alum, who currently works as a residential rehabilitation specialist for a non-profit mental health center.

She grew up in Lee, NH participating in AIR programs throughout her adolescence, where she transformed her passion for music and the expressive arts. She earned her bachelors degree in Counseling with a specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA in 2018, and has been working for Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord, NH ever since.

She resides in Dover, New Hampshire with her husband and three furry children: two cats and one dog. When she is able to find some spare time, she loves to cuddle up with her pets, practice and teach karate with her 4th degree black belt-husband, and sing and play covers and original songs on her YouTube channel. Anyone can view her YouTube channel by clicking the following link: https://www.youtube.com/user/pianoM3Mlvr.

“Working with AIR refreshes my love of music and reminds me why I decided on this career path.”

– Roxanne O’Connor, Vocal Teaching Artist