EVCT Staff

Karen Rolston
Producing Artistic Director, Workshop Instructor & Mainstage Director

Karen is currently the Producing Artistic Director at East Valley Children’s Theatre.  She has been involved in theatre in the Valley for the past 31 years as a director, music director, scenic designer, sound designer, props designer, and actor in numerous community and college productions; film and commercial work, voice over acting and has received numerous local and regional awards for her work.   A graduate of ASU with degrees in music and theatre, Karen is a retired teacher having taught in the  Mesa Public Schools, Chandler-Gilbert Community College and Arizona State University.


Nicole Gibson-Rice
Express Troupe Director

Nicole Gibson-Rice has over twenty years experience in children’s theatre.  She has a BA in Theatre from the University of North Carolina and an MFA in Theatre for Youth from Arizona State University.  She has worked for EVCT since 2007 and has loved every minute of it.  She holds a special place in her heart for the Express program and has written over 20 shows with the help of her creative and fearless students.

Kelly Nicole
Class Instructor & Director of Literature Alive

Kelly Nicole is a professional actress, working around the valley for over 10 years. She has starred in countless theater, film, television, and commercials, both nationally and across the valley. She has also received multiple award nominations for her acting work. She absolutely loves sharing her love for acting with young performers, and firmly believes that, even if performing isn’t your end goal, there are so many life skills to be learned in fun and interactive theater classes.

Aaron Blanco
On the Spot Teen Improv Troupe Director

Aaron is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s B.F.A. Acting program with a stage combat certification. He is a professional Phoenix actor and stage combat choreographer. His recent credits include Beau Jest at the Hale (Bob), Peacemaker at Phoenix  Theatre (Bluey), and various roles/stage combat work with Southwest Shakespeare.

Aaron would like to thank Bry and his beloved daughters for their continued support in his acting career.

Breona Conrad
EVCT Bravo Director
Voice Lessons

Breona Conrad is delighted to be a part of the staff teaching in the classroom at East Valley Children’s theatre.  Breona has been a professional actor across the country since graduating with her BA in Acting with a minor in Vocal Performance from Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne (now PFW) 11 years ago. Phoenix credits include The Complete Works…Abridged (Broadwayworld.com winner Best Actress 2017), Sense and Sensibility, Pride@Prejudice (Southwest Shakespeare Company), A Discourse…Invisible World, Natural Shocks (The Bridge Initiative), Macbeth, The Taming (Class 6 Theatre), and American Idiot with Stray Cat Theatre.  When not onstage, Breona’s passion for teaching keeps her quite busy outside of EVCT as she is the Director of Education at the Southwest Shakespeare Company. For a peek at her approach to Shakespeare, check out her passion project alongside her husband at unrehearsedarizona.com.

Kylie Burge
Classroom Instructor

Kylie Burge has been involved in theatre at EVCT for the past 11 years. She is currently studying musical theatre and elementary education. She’s so excited to continue to spread her love of theatre to her students and watch them learn and grow. 

Rio Chavez
Musical Theatre Instructor

 Rio is so excited to be working with EVCT! He has been involved in theatre for over 10 years as director, music director, lighting designer, props designer, tour manager and actor in various productions across the US. He has received several nominations and awards for his work locally and regionally. He loves to share his knowledge and talents with the community.

Rachel McCabe
Theatre and Musical Theatre Instructor

Rachel was born in England where she first began her career as a Singer/Actress, some of her favorite shows include, Hair, A Slice Of Saturday Night, and Oliver. At Universal Studios Rachel performed in The Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue, where she played the Bride of Frankenstein. The Blues Brothers Show and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Rachel was also a part of the creative team as a mentor and a host for The Stars youth enrichment program at Universal Studios. Rachel was also a part of the production team for the Sound Design Project and Orlando Music fest. Rachel has been a Teaching Artist and Youth Director for Childsplay, Middlesbrough little Theatre, The Arc and Orlando Stagecoach. Rachel attended Stockton and Billingham School of Performing Arts in England where she was awarded Music Student of the Year. 

Jamie Gilbert
Express Director

Jamie is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University with a major in Children’s Theatre and a minor in film and communications.  She has an extensive background in improvisation and is founder of – A Bit of Funny, an improvised pod cast.

Katie Olsen
Office Manager

Katie Olsen – Is the current office manager for East Valley Children’s Theatre. Katie will be managing the office, classes, troupes, camps and more throughout the year. She has a AAFA in Theatre from Chandler-Gilbert Community College and has worked in Higher Education for the last three years at Northland Pioneer College. Katie started working with EVCT in 2006 till 2015 as a stage manager, instructor and camp administrator. EVCT and Karen Rolston has been an inspiration to her life and she looks forward to working with all the children/families that walk through its doors!

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