Cara Mantella and Cristian Gonzalez in Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train (2023). Photo by Greg Mooney.

Actor’s Express inspires people to question themselves, their communities and the world by creating live theatre in an inclusive space designed to challenge conventional thinking and reflect contemporary human experiences.

Through eclectic programming, a bold approach to production and a robust commitment to social accountability, AE encourages audiences and artists to share a journey of adventure, becoming brave change-makers in a world that is spinning into a new era.

Actor’s Express leans into its commitment to the future of our field by nurturing the next generation of artists through rigorous training, and by developing and producing new work.



We create brave and gutsy theatre that challenges and entertains at the same time.


We produce theatre that encourages audiences, artists and everyone involved to explore new ideas, experiences and views of the world.


We believe every person matters and we create inclusive space to hold the perspectives, ideas, differences and commonalities of diverse people.


We hold ourselves to a high standard to create excellence with a consistency that audiences can trust.


Every day, we collaborate, make meaningful connections and build trust with the guiding principle that our work plays a vital role in the civic life of our community.


We foster a culture of innovation, risk-taking, and boundary-pushing to create something new and unique that adds value to our community.


We believe that with shared passion and collaboration, we can do almost anything.

Actor’s Express was founded in 1988 by Chris Coleman and Harold M. Leaver. Originally located in a church basement on Clairmont Road, the Express soon moved to a location in Inman Park where it remained until 1994. Since that time, AE has been in West Midtown’s King Plow Arts Center, a sprawling complex converted from a former plow factory.

Founder Chris Coleman led the theatre until 2000. He was succeeded by Wier Harmon, who served as Artistic Director until 2003. Upon Herman’s departure, Jasson Minadakis took the reins and served until 2006. Since July 2007, Freddie Ashley has been serving as the theater’s Artistic Director.

For 35 years, AE has been considered one of the most daring, provocative and high-caliber theatres in Atlanta. Our work continues to appear on local best-of lists and has garnered dozens of awards.


The original 1992 production of The Harvey Milk Show starring Founder and Artistic Director Chris Coleman.

It takes a stage.
And a village.

From our dedicated staff to our audaciously talented artists, everyone plays a key role in the making of our productions. Learn more about us below.


Freddie Ashley

Artistic Director


Freddie Ashley was appointed Artistic Director of Actor’s Express in July 2007. He has directed AE productions of Stupid Fucking Bird, Rent (Suzi nomination), Bad Jews, Murder Ballad, The Rocky Horror Show more

Amanda Washington

Associate Artistic Director


Amanda Washington currently serves as the Associate Artistic Director at Actor’s Express. She joined Actor’s Express as the National New Play Network Producer in Residence form 2020 to 2022. Her AE directing credits include, Crossroads, Sunset Baby, cullud wattah, and Blues for an Alabama Sky..more

Sheila Oliver

Artistic Liason


Actor’s Express: Sheila has been involved with Actor’s Express off and on since 1992 serving as Casting Assistant, Assistant Director, Props, Stage Manager, House Manager, Dramaturg and Fund Raising… more

Justin Kalin

Casting Director


Actor’s Express: 2016-2017 Intern Company. Stage Manager: Blackpool and Parrish (Out of Box Theatre). Director: Shadow Cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Next Fall (Georgia College)… more


Seamus M. Bourne

Production Manager


Seamus M. Bourne was a Production Manager and Technical Director at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. He has designed scenery at AE for Company, Wolves, Next Fall and Spring Awakening…. more

English Brackett

Technical Director


Transitioned from an apprentice to Technical Director in April of 2022. Her first show as Technical Director was Booty Candy and she continues to grow technically with each set she constructs. Education: AA Theatre, University of North Georgia; BA Theatre, Brenau University; Actor’s Express 2021-2022 Apprentice Company…. more

Nick Battaglia

Resident Props Designer


(Resident Props Designer/ Set Decorator) Actor’s Express: Sunset Baby, Desire Under the Elms, Lizzie, Bootycandy, Intimate Apparel, Heathers the Musical, Fun Home, Head Over Heels ...more

D. Connor McVey

Production Electrician


(Lighting Designer) Actor’s Express: Sunset Baby, Heathers, Skintight, Significant Other. Atlanta: Dad’s Garage, Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Horizon Theatre Company, Oglethorpe University, ...more


Alex Scollon

Managing Director


Alex Scollon received his BFA from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama with a concentration in Production and Technical Management, and in 2005 received his Master of Arts Management degree…more

Marysa Sutton

Associate Managing Director


Marysa Sutton joined Actor’s Express in July of 2021. She has previously worked in the world of campaign finance and public service. Her theatre credits begin and end with Switzer Elementary…more

Sarah Velasco

Marketing Director


Sarah was born and raised in the Washington D.C. area and received her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Theatre Arts. She previously served in the development department for Convergence Theatre in Washington D.C. Sarah was most recently a 22-23 Actor’s Express acting apprentice. Actor’s Express holds a very special place in her heart and she feels truly privileged to be here. 

Claire Quinn

Digital Marketing Manager


Claire has been acting as long as she can remember and has carried a life long love for the theatre! She graduated from CCPA at Roosevelt with a BFA in Acting and is currently pursuing an MA from Emerson College in Business of Creative Enterprises. Her recent Atlanta credits include Rooted at Horizon Theatre and Flame and Filament at the Atlanta Fringe Festival. She is thrilled to be back on the Actor’s Express team!

Ebony Jerry

Audience Services Manager


Ebony L. Jerry is a former 2017-2018 Actor’s Express Intern. She received her BFA in Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design. Her credits include Suzi Award Winning for Best Ensemble The Wolves more

Emma Jean Scott

Marketing Assistant


Emma Jean Scott is an Atlanta-based actress who has most recently been seen in AE’s production of Urinetown as Hope Cladwell, AE’s Heathers, and The Play That Goes Wrong as Sandra. Emma Jean is currently earning her BFA in Theatre at Oglethorpe University and hopes to explore Atlanta’s great stages as she moves forward in her career. She would like to thank her wonderful family and friends who support her every step of the way. Follow her journey @emma._.jeanius 

Summer Stockard

Development Assistant


Summer Stockard is a student at Oglethorpe University, undergoing a BA in Theatre. Her acting credits include Urinetown and Heathers at Actor’s Express, and her directing credits include No Exit at Oglethorpe University. She loves playing the piano and taking long walks on the beach.

Olivia Hackney

Marketing Assistant

Olivia Hackney is an Atlanta-based videographer/editor. She received her BFA from Georgia State University, and began working for Actor’s Express in 2022. In her freetime she enjoys being with friends and watching movies.

The Actor’s Express Board of Directors is comprised of leaders from across Atlanta. The Board advises the staff, creates long range plans and represents the organization in the community. If you are interested in joining this elite group of supporters please contact Managing Director Alex Scollon.


  • Patrice Brown, Warner Media
  • Kevin Dew, Treasurer, Community Volunteer
  • Jennifer Gelder, Budget Rent-a-Car
  • Anne Hayden, Community Volunteer
  • Kevin Harry, Randstand
  • Amy Hollibaugh, Nora Wealth
  • Andrea Ivory, UPS
  • Melissa Moore, Vice Chair, Director of Human Resources for Partners in Health
  • Jennie Saliers, Community Volunteer
  • David Schoenberg, Law Office of David P. Schoenberg
  • Chris Schneider, Chair, Parker, Hudson, Rainer, & Dobbs LLP
  • Charles Stephens, Counter Narrative Project
  • Carlos Toledo, Centers for Disease Control *
  • Mary Anne Walser, Keller Williams
  • Angie Weiss, InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Ashley Williams, Secretary, ImagineX Consulting
  • Drew Meyer, PathLogic

* This director is serving in a personal capacity and is not fulfilling official CDC duties

The Apprentice Company


caroline gammage

Caroline Gammage


Hello there! My name is Caroline Gammage and I’m from Oglethorpe University, which is right here in Atlanta! My focus in the Apprenticeship Program at Actor’s Express is Acting. The aspect I’m looking forward to is all of the people I’ve met and am going to meet!

Edwin Headshot

Edwin Navarrete


Edwin Navarrete is from Houston, Texas. He’s excited to be here in Atlanta and to be part of the 2023-2024 AE apprentice company. He’s excited to take this opportunity to work on his craft and become a better artist!

Ja'Kayla Meeks

Ja’Kayla Meeks


Ja’Kayla Meeks graduated from Columbus State University with her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts focusing in performance. She is an acting apprentice here at Actor’s Express. She would like you all to know how excited she is to begin this new journey and she is looking forward to learning all that Actor’s Express has to offer.

Jacob A Craig headshot

Jacob Alexander Craig


Introducing Jacob Alexander Craig, a recent graduate of KSU, holding a B.A. in Theatre & Performance Studies. He is thrilled, honored, humbled, and eager to get to work with everyone here at AE. He is eternally grateful to everyone who has supported him on his journey and wants you to know that you can do it too.

Kendall Felix


Kendall Felix graduated in three years from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Theatre Performance. College theatre training with the hindrance of a pandemic prevented her from most opportunities to take the stage, aside from her work on the VCU all-female improv team Toxic Shock, but she found a love for film acting in its absence. She’s very excited to learn from the distinguished professionals at Actors Express and broaden her experience in the world of live theatre.

Keshawn Morgan Headshot

Keshawn Morgan


Keshawn Morgan, a recent graduate from Morehouse College is an acting apprentice from Orlando, Florida. He is a passionate artist that works in various mediums of storytelling. Keshawn is committed to telling great stories that address social issues, notions of love, and untold narratives.

Naiya Alexis


Naiya Alexis is new to the Atlanta area, hailing from the Raleigh NC area. She is also a recent grad from Elon University (BFA Acting ’22) and so thankful to join the apprenticeship company for their season. She was most recently Beatrice in Blue Box Theatre Company’s production of Much Ado in Chapel Hill, NC–more information can be found at her website!


Zach Tellez


Zach Tellez is a Kennesaw State University Alumni. While at KSU he participated in productions including Thumbelina, Everybody, She Kills Monsters and worked at The Atlanta Lyric in their production of The Wizard of Oz. He is very thankful to be a member of the Actor’s Express Apprentice Program, and is ready for a year of creativity and knowledge.

Sarah Ann Burke

Sarah Ann Burke



Sarah Ann Burke (she/her) comes from Charlotte, North Carolina where she has had years of experience and education in theatre. She is excited to be an acting apprentice with Actors Express to further her education and career this season! She looks forward to performing with and learning from this talented company!

Directing and Stage Management

Aliciona Strothers Headshot

Aliciona Strothers



Kentucky born and raised, Aliciona Strothers (She/They) graduated in May 2023 with a BA in theatre from the University of Kentucky. Though theatre has been a major part of her life for as long as she can remember, directing has been a recent development for her. She is incredibly excited to explore her artistry while being a part of the amazing community here at Actor’s Express!

Connor P. Maguire

Acting/Dramaturgy/ Directing


Connor P. Maguire is an Atlanta-based actor, dramaturge, and directing apprentice this season at Actors Express. Connor graduated from Kennesaw State University with a B.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies. They are excited to be able to continue their artistic and professional development with AE and the amazing creatives who work there. Director: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (KSU) Playwright: “Martha was Right” (KSU)

Katie Hurst Headshot

Katie Hurst

Stage Management


Katie Hurst (she/her) graduated with a BA in Theatre from Western Kentucky University and is a Stage Management Apprentice for the 2023-2024 Actor’s Express Apprentice Company. She is excited to learn from and work with everyone at AE in order for her to expand her knowledge in not just stage management, but all aspects of theatre.


Nakia Lambert

Stage Management/ Acting

Nakia Lambert is an Atlanta based actor/stage manager, recently graduated from Kennesaw State University with a BA in Theatre and Performance Studies-Acting. She is extremely grateful and excited to be a part of this apprentice company and can’t wait for this upcoming season!


Ray Ward

Ray Ward



Ray is a recent graduate of University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BFA in Design & Technical Production. Their primary areas are Wigs, Costumes and Stage Management. Therefore, they are very excited for the opportunity to broaden their expertise with AE as their Lighting & Sound Apprentice.


Mary Gaines


Mary graduated with a BA in Theatre Arts from Piedmont University. She’s a costume/ wardrobe apprentice for the 2023-2024 Actor’s Express Apprentice Company.  She is excited to share her knowledge while continuing to learn new things.  She strives to make everyone comfortable and happy along her journey.


Ramey Ward


Ramey Ward recently graduated from the University of West Georgia, where she obtained a BFA in Theatre, with a concentration in Design/Technology. She was most recently Scenic Designer for the University of West Georgia Theatre Program’s production of Animal Farm. She is incredibly excited to be a scenic apprentice at Actor’s Express and values the opportunity to collaborate, learn, and gain experience through the program.