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Meet Our Teachers

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Dr. Wrenn Goodrum

Wrenn received her BFA in Acting from the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts, which  included a year studying theatre in London.  After college, she lived and worked in NYC and during her last performance in an Off-Broadway play she realized her life mission: teaching and directing youth.  Dr. Goodrum was the founder and Artistic/Executive Director of the award-winning All Children’s Theatre in Providence, RI from 1987 to 2009.  She received numerous awards including an honorary Doctorate of Pedagogy from RI College. Dr. Goodrum has over thirty years of experience working with youth and has directed/produced over 200 plays.  In 2009 she moved to NC to be closer to her family and started another company, Activate Community Through Theatre.  She is excited to be starting her sixth season with Matthews Playhouse!

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Emily Hunter 

 Emily Hunter is a freelance director/choreographer throughout the Charlotte region and holds her BA in Dance Education. Local credits include: Matthews Playhouse’s Urinetown, Theatre Charlotte’s La Cage Aux Folles, CPCC Summer Theatre's Anything Goes and Aladdin, Jr., PAC’s Title of Show, Davidson College’s Fiddler on the Roof, and Davidson Community Players’ 42nd Street, Pajama Game, and Crazy for You. Currently, Emily is a guest artist at Northwest School of the Arts, the in-house choreographer for Community School of Davidson’s Arts Space, and the co-director of Matthews Playhouse’s Musical Theatre 7.

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Stefanie Nicholson 

Stefanie has a BFA in Theater/Performance from the University of Georgia.  She has toured professionally with Patchwork Players in Columbia, South Carolina, and has been teaching and directing in the Charlotte area for over 16 years.  Stefanie joined Matthews Playhouse in 2003, and enjoys teaching summer camps, and directing year long theater classes. Stefanie loves working with children and believes theater promotes teamwork, builds self-confidence and strengthens imagination.   


Sam Faulkner 

Guest Artist  (Broadway Boot Camp)

Sam Faulkner was seen recently in NBC's production of Hairspray Live!  He was born and raised in Charlotte, NC and got his start right here at Matthews Playhouse where he began performing at age nine. By the time he was thirteen, Faulkner not only had over twenty regional productions under his belt, but he also booked his first professional gig outside of North Carolina when he was hired to promote the National Tour of A Christmas Story the musical, appearing as Ralphie Parker in all promotional and television appearances for the production. Although he began his formal dance training when he was nine years old, it was at age thirteen that Sam really shifted his focus to his training, with his eyes on the future. Two years later, Sam got his Equity Card at fifteen years old playing the role of Billy in Billy Elliot the musical at the Ogunquit Playhouse. During his run, Sam even got the chance to play Billy in front of former President George H. W. Bush. A few months later, Sam went on to reprise his role as Billy in the North Carolina Theatre production of Billy Elliot the musical. Faulkner’s performance as Billy in both productions received awards and critical acclaim. Since then, Sam’s unique dance abilities have caught the eye of many, and even won him the title of Mr. Dance of America 2017. As mentioned, Sam most recently appeared in Hairspray Live! on NBC in Dec. 2017.  He is currently studying Musical Theatre at the University of Michgan.  


John R. Bayless 

Guest Artist  (Broadway Boot Camp & Acting Intensive)

John R. Bayless is an Emmy Award winning professonal makeup artist with over 40 years experience in film, television, theatre, print and fashion, capable of handling all aspects of makeup and effects makeup including corrective, beauty, stylized, trauma, period, prosthetic, facial hair, life casting and specialty property construction. He received his BA in Theatre Arts from the University of California and his MFA in Theatre Management from Penn State University. John has been with Matthews Playhouse since it's founding, and has designed countless sets as well as offering his valuable advice through the years in all areas of production.