Academy Instructor Bios


Abi OxleyAbi Oxley-Derrick is so excited to be joining the Artisan staff as the new Education Director! Abi started performing at Artisan when she was just fifteen years old and was seen in various productions on the Artisan stage, including roles like Fiona in SHREK THE MUSICAL and Cinderella in INTO THE WOODS! Throughout college, Abi became very involved with Artisan Acting Academy, where she taught classes, ran summer camps, and directed/choreographed shows, including HAIRSPRAY JR. and 101 DALMATIANS JR. Most recently, she directed MARY POPPINS JR. and SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK JR. for the Children’s Theater at Artisan! Abi has credits all over the state of Texas in performing, production management, choreography, stage management, and directing. She has worked with theatres throughout the state including The Theatre Company, Music Theatre Denton, Texas Theatre for Young People, Casa Mañana, UNT Theatre, Grand Prairie Arts Council, Texas A&M Theatre Arts, and many others! Some of Abi’s favorite performance credits include HANDS ON A HARDBODY (Kelly Mangrum), THE LITTLE MERMAID (Ariel), FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (Chava), SWEENEY TODD (Ensemble), BYE BYE BIRDIE (Kim McAfee), and BIG FISH (Featured Ensemble). Abi recently graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Theatre and a concentration in Education. She recently finished her semester of student teaching and is currently pursuing her Texas Teaching Certificate in Theatre with certification in Early Childhood-12th Grade! She is so excited to be “coming home” to the theatre that helped hone her love for performance and give her such great training!  

Carlo AceytunoCarlo Aceytuno, originally from Los Angeles, CA, currently resides in Dallas, TX, where he is a local fight director and action choreographer. He has studied both Martial Arts and Stage Combat for over 20 years. A video game/comic book loving nerd and father of three, Carlo is co-founder of the stage combat organization, SCDallas, LLC. He has been recognized by the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) as an Advanced Actor Combatant and as proficient in Theatrical Firearms Safety. Carlo is an Intimacy Choreographer, Consent Educator, and on staff with Intimacy Directors International ( as the organization's Member Coordinator. His range of work has been seen on The History Channel, the Hollywood Bowl, the House of Blues, Dallas Winspear Opera House, and of course: Artisan Center Theater (THE PIRATE QUEEN and ZORRO THE MUSICAL). Carlo is excited to be a part of the Artisan Academy!
Natalie BurkhartNatalie Burkhart is absolutely thrilled to be teaching at The Artisan Academy this summer. She has been the director for Artisan Children’s Theater productions since 2011, directing over fifty shows including SHREK THE MUSICAL, INTO THE WOODS, ANNIE, DISNEY’S THE LITTLE MERMAID, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, SESUSSICAL, and RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN’S CINDERELLA. Some of her acting credits include CITY OF ANGELS and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Our Productions Theatre Co., THE TEMPEST at Dallas Shakespeare Festival and Teatro Dallas’ THE PRETENTIOUS MAIDENS. She has also starred in WEST SIDE STORY, SWING, and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD here at Artisan, and spent two years touring the United States as Betty Blake in ALL HANDS ON DECK. Natalie is also the proud mother of two beautiful (and very active) toddlers that keep her busy in her spare time. Natalie is very passionate about the importance of performing arts in a child’s life and has been teaching acting, technical and musical theatre classes for youth since 2003. Natalie came to teach at Artisan in 2008 and is currently working as Associate Producer for Artisan Center Theater.

Noel ClarkNoël Clark serves as the resident Music Director for Artisan Children's Theater and is a Private Voice and Piano teacher and Musical Theater Instructor for Artisan Academy. She holds a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Mississippi and a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Tennessee, where she was a Graduate Teaching Assistant and an Opera Apprentice and with the Knoxville Opera Company. For the past thirty years, she has been teaching private voice and piano and directing music for churches, universities, community colleges, high schools, middle schools, private Christian schools and homeschooling co-ops in Texas, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Mississippi. She finds it a privilege to work with the talent at Artisan and loves to see the God-given gifts of children bloom as she trains them to sing and act with freedom, authenticity and confidence. She loves to perform and can be seen on the Artisan Main Stage as time allows! Some favorite roles: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Wardrobe), PHANTOM (Carlotta), THE PIRATE QUEEN (Evelyn), SCROOGE (Mrs. Cratchit), WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM (Mary), THE CHOICE (Hannah), THE FANTASTICKS (Luisa), THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (Cherubino), THE DIALOGUES OF THE CARMELITES (Blanche), and LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD (Little Red).

Jennifer LeyvaJennifer Leyva has been working in different aspects of the arts community for over 40 years and is proud to celebrate her 10th season with the Artisan.
Originally from Oklahoma, Jennifer trained as a dancer, actor, and choreographer before moving into arts management and marketing. She has worked for Six Flags America, Texas Ballet Theater, Double JJ Ranch & Golf Resort, Arts Fifth Avenue and is currently at Artisan Center Theater as Children's Program Coordinator. As a performer, Jennifer has been featured in such performances as SWING THE MUSICAL, HELLO DOLLY, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLFE, RECKLESS, BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE ABRIDGED, and many more. She was a featured dancer in many Six Flags America productions and wrote, directed and performed in stunt shows, music, and dance revues and Wild West Shows at the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, MI. She has been a teacher in the arts for over 30 years and loves working with children. She is an instructor at many local dance studios where she teaches ballet, jazz, tap, modern and lyrical dance to students of all ages and levels. At The Artisan Academy, Jennifer has been an instructor for over 9 years and has worked with students in acting, musical theater performance and dance. Jennifer has also worked as a director for many Artisan Children's Theater productions including SLEEPING BEAUTY, PINKALICIOUS, FANCY NANCY, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, SNOW WHITE, and THE JUNGLE BOOK. Jennifer is also a choreographer in the D/FW Metroplex having choreographed such productions as CAMELOT, PHANTOM THE MUSICAL, SCROOGED, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, SHREK THE MUSICAL, GUYS AND DOLLS, MADAGASCAR, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, ALADDIN JR, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, SEUSSICAL, and many more.