Our Team

Nina Meehan

CEO and Founder

Nina Meehan (she/her) is an award-winning director, playwright and producer, and a dedicated arts educator, with expertise in youth development and nonprofit management. Her work focuses on nurturing innovation in children and connecting people in our increasingly digital world.

Nina’s award-winning theatrical work for young people as CEO of Bay Area Children’s Theatre has reached more than 1 million  kids and adults and has toured nationally and internationally. Some of her most recent credits include: the adaptation of Chelsea Clinton’s book, She Persisted, Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and the New York Times bestselling Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site series. 

She has received the Alumna of the Year Award from Head-Royce School in (2020), the Diablo Valley Innovation Award (2020), the Theatre Bay Area Award Best Director and Best New Musical (Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, 2018), was an invited speaker at Visioni in Bologna, Italy, and an invited speak at a conference hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts, serves as Board President for TYA/USA and was named as one of Red Tricycle’s Moms Who Rock.

Nina holds a BS in theatre from Northwestern University and a Master’s of Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco. She is also a certified yoga instructor.

Her work has been spotlighted in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, American Theatre Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Barron’s, Red Tricycle, ABC News, NBC News, and CBS News. 

Khalia Davis

Artistic Director

Khalia Davis (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist recently named Artistic Director of Bay Area Children’s Theatre where she led the premiere of A Kids Play About Racism, based on a kids book about racism by Jelani Memory, creating a new hybrid between live theatrical storytelling and film. This work brought together over 40 theater producing partners and was viewed on Broadway on Demand nearly 80,000 times. Past BACT directing credits: award-nominated world premiere, She Persisted the Musical, based on the popular children’s book by Chelsea Clinton, Frog and Toad, Judy Moody and Stink and the Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt. NYC directing credits: Atlantic for Kids, NYCCT, Disney Theatrical Group. Produced a children’s web series chronicling the experiences of a little Black puppet girl named Nia living through the COVID-19 pandemic with Kids at Heart Productions. Before assuming her new role as Artistic Director, Ms. Davis served as the Director of Inclusion and Education with Brooklyn Children’s Theatre restructuring their children’s musical theater programming through an anti-racism lens. Awards: 2019 Emerging Leader Fellowship-TYA/USA, 2019 NYCCT Leader Fellowship, 2021 Corey Medallion Award-Children’s Theatre Foundation of America. BA in Theater Arts-University of Southern California.

khaliadavis.com

Austin Zumbro

Information Services Director/Artistic Associate

Austin Zumbro (he/him) joined Bay Area Children’s Theatre in 2009 as a box office representative and is thrilled to continue on as Information Services Director and Artistic Associate. He has written and composed over 15 musicals, including Llama, Llama Live!; Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site the Musical (TBA Award Winner); Fly Guy, the Musical; The Day the Crayons Quit, the Musical; and The Rainbow Fish Musical, which won the AATE Distinguished Play Award in 2020.

Christina Larson

Managing Director

Christina Larson (she/her) has spent her career behind the scenes in theater. While working as an AEA Stage Manager some of her favorite shows were Macbeth (Cal Shakes), Tribes (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), and Vietgone (American Conservatory Theatre). Finding a passion for bringing arts to young minds, she has found immense joy in watching the faces of children watch a show, while working to make that magic happen. In her spare time Christina likes to read, draw tiny animals, and play with her one year old daughter.

Elisha Beston

Business Manager

Elisha (she/her) joined the BACT family in 2018 after graduating from Rockford University with a BFA in Musical Theatre. You may recognize her from past BACT shows such as Wonderland: Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure, Gold: The Midas Musical, Llama Llama Live!, and Construction Site on Christmas Night. She has previously worked as a teaching artist and stage manager, and spent the last year developing music curriculum while working as a preschool teacher. She currently resides in sunny Singapore where she enjoys drinking boba, making TikTok videos and spending time with her family.

elishaxbeston.com

Gabrielle Chapple

Director of Development

Growing up, Gabrielle Chapple (she/her) spent every summer with her family in San Francisco. With her parents and grandparents both being Bay Area natives, she developed a deep appreciation for the vibrant Bay Area arts scene. This is her third season as Director of Development for Bay Area Children’s Theatre, prior to joining the team she served as Director of Development for Magic Theatre in San Francisco. In addition to her love of theatre, Gabrielle is also a member of the ArtPoint Advisory Council. Staying engaged with the ever-changing Bay Area art scene is one of her passions. Before making her way to the Bay Area, Gabrielle was the Director of Special Events + Major Gifts for The Phoenix Theatre Company, a Lort-D identifying theatre company in the Southwest with a nearly $8 million operating budget. Gabrielle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Arizona State University. In addition to her background in fundraising, Gabrielle has been a teaching artist for over ten years working to help youth explore their imagination, build the creative storytelling process and translate performance skills into professional workplace readiness. Teaching credits include Mesa Arts Center, Childsplay, Free Arts of Arizona and Junior Achievement. Gabrielle’s involvement with Theatre for Youth dates back to 2007 and through the years she has cherished working with students as they discover the transformative power of theatre.

Jocelyn Chavez

Audience Development Manager

Jocelyn Chavez (she/her) joined BACT in late 2019. Originally from Long Beach, CA, Jocelyn spent two years in Oregon pursuing her coursework in Anthropology before moving to the Bay Area. As an advocate of nature, Jocelyn can often be found visiting National and State Parks, fostering kittens, and advocating for the Bay Area Tule Elk. Professionally, Jocelyn began her Development career working as the Development Associate for Variety- the Children’s Charity of Northern California before joining BACT. As BACT’s current Audience Development Manager, she is excited to connect with all the families that make BACT’s work possible.

Amber Dyson

Academy Director of Curriculum

​​Amber Dyson (she/her) is a teaching artist, singer, puppeteer, and improviser with 16 years experience in educational theatre. She looks forward to directing BACT’s next Advanced Performers production, which will compete at Junior Theatre Festival West in February. A frequent contributor to Un-Scripted Theatre Company’s annual improvised holiday musical, Let it Snow!, Amber was also a writer and performer in the 2019 Fringe Festival production of Fingertips, which was honored as “Best of the Fringe.” A 2017 recipient of the Freddie G. Fellowship for Excellence in Musical Theatre Education, Amber doesn’t believe for one second that you can’t sing.

Mark Duncanson

Academy Business Director

Mark (he/him) began his youth work career at the Fremont-Newark YMCA where he learned the art of crow-barring theater programming into non-theater circumstances. Since then, Mark has crow-barred in theater programs at the Central YMCA in San Jose, The Volunteer Center of Alameda County, and the Firehouse Arts Center for the City of Pleasanton where he founded the High School Music Collaborative and the award-winning teen improv troupe Creatures of Impulse. Creatures of Impulse is the only teen improv troupe to represent the State of California at the Teen Comedy Festival in Chicago for four years, the only teen improv troupe to perform at the New York Musical Improv Festival, has performed at West Coast Musical Improv Festival three years, and was awarded Best of Fest in 2019 at the San Francisco Improv Festival. Mark’s dream roles are Willy Wonka, Oogie Boogie, and adding a new perspective to the character of Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors. Mark was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Award for his youth work throughout the Bay Area and enjoys an artistic lifestyle as a professional improv performer and teaching artist, drummer, and novice pitmaster.

Amber Dickerson

Director of Education Outreach

Amber Dickerson (she/her) is an educator and performer currently residing in the Bay Area. She holds her B.F.A in Theatre Performance and Education from Columbus State University and her B.S. in Developmental Psychology from CUNY Graduate School, where she focused on creative arts therapeutic approaches for children and adolescents. Amber spent ten years working professionally in NYC where she performed Off-Broadway and created arts programming for NYC public schools and local theatres. Amber also served as Education Director for an Off-Broadway Theatre for Young Audiences company, where she developed curriculum and managed their educational and outreach programming. Since moving to the Bay Area, Amber has been fortunate to work with Bay Area Children’s Theatre, both as a performer and as a key member of the education team. She has developed curriculum for the organization’s Academy Program, created material that links the BACT season of shows to the core curriculum in local schools, and has helped streamline the Story Explorer’s program (an Arts In Schools program working with children on the Autism Spectrum). Amber is passionate about creating arts programming that is accessible to all students and communities here in the Bay Area.

Leah Sanginiti

Education Outreach Manager

Leah Sanginiti (she/her) is an actor and theatre educator originally from Oakland, California. She graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in Theatre Performance from Southern Oregon University and has toured throughout North America as a performer and teaching artist. Her career began as an actor and workshop instructor with Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and she has since worked across the United States as a director and actor with Missoula Children’s Theatre, a curriculum specialist and actor with Davis Shakespeare Festival, and an after-school arts education instructor and classroom assistant for atypical learners in school districts throughout the West Coast—all the while making time to perform in several Bay Area Children’s Theatre national tours. Outside of theatre, Leah backpacks around the world, advocates for restorative justice and racial equity, and works to bring arts education into the very schools she once attended.

leahsanginiti.com

Frances Hughes

Director of Production

Frances Hughes (she/her) spent several years as an Off-Broadway stage manager in New York City after graduating with a BA in Theatre from SUNY Buffalo. She has traveled to nearly all 50 states as a national tour manager for various theatre companies including Bay Area Children’s Theatre. When Frances isn’t multitasking, you can find her riding a bike, hanging out with her cats, and working on her mad crêpe skills.

Megan Hillard

Technical Director

Megan Hillard (she/they) grew up in a small town in Northern California. She went to Sonoma State University to study Fine Art with an emphasis in Sculpture, before moving to the bay in 2010. She’s since rekindled her old high school love of Theatre, making props and building sets for companies like Shotgun Players, Cal Shakes, We Players, The Peripatetic Players, and Golden Thread Productions. Megan began working with BACT in 2017 as a carpenter and is now thrilled to be the new Technical Director at Bay Area Children’s Theatre. When she’s not in the theater you can find her making online puppet shows with her friends, building wooden teardrop trailers, competing in a league event at the bowling alley, or going to the park with her partner and two little dogs.

Cicily Gruber

Production Manager

Cicily Gruber (she/her) graduated with a BA in Theatre from Wesleyan University in 2015. She has worked in the Bay Area for 5 years as a stage manager and technician with companies such as Berkeley Repertory Theater, Flyaway Productions, and Opera Parallele.