- 2023 SEASON
- About KCT
Knoxville Children’s Theatre, an education-based 501(c)(3) non-profit, is a local theatre company producing professional plays for children, by children. KCT is committed to providing children opportunities to acquire and hone skills that enhance creative thinking, public speaking, project management, personal responsibility, leadership, and team work. All of these op
portunities occur in a creative outlet where imagination thrives, self-esteem develops, and students learn the many life lessons that creative dramatics can teach.
-We believe that theatrical arts are for everyone, so we have established a diverse organization where any child can participate in a production at no cost.
-We believe that our community benefits from quality theatre, so we are committed to superior productions and professional instruction.
-We believe that theatre teaches vital life skills, so we provide an environment where children improve public speaking, develop self confidence, practice teamwork, build a strong work ethic, become problem solvers and future leaders.
-We believe that children’s theatre is fun! So we nurture its energy and excitement into a lifelong love for the performing arts.
Sien Moon – Executive Director
Dennis E. Perkins – Artistic Director
Emily Helton – Academy Director
Alex Drinnen – Technical Director
Liv Jin – Lighting Mentor
Denise Campbell – Costume Mentor
Davis Parker – Scenic Mentor
Sien has been involved with KCT since her children first appeared on stage in 2009. After graduating from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Business, Sien spent ten years climbing the BellSouth corporate ladder, eventually retiring to raise twins Bethany and Wheeler. Sien has volunteered for various community organizations including Bijou Theatre, Knoxville Museum of Art, Dogwood Arts Festival, Ijams Nature Center, Junior Achievement, American Heart Association, Clarence Brown Theatre, and many others. She has chaired many community events and fundraisers including Zoo Knoxville’s Zoofari. Sien has served on the Board of Directors of Junior League of Knoxville, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Tennessee Valley, and the University of Tennessee Alumni Association Women’s Council. She is a member of the UT Alliance of Women Philanthropists, Town and Country Garden Club, Junior League of Knoxville, Saint John’s Cathedral, and the Nine O’clock Cotillion. In the rare time she isn’t at KCT, Sien enjoys spending time with her husband David and twins Bethany and Wheeler.
Dennis has been a director, writer, and instructor for KCT since 2011. His directing credits include 5 of his own original scripts (including his personal favorite, Quoth The Raven), KCT’s first forays into Shakespeare (Macbeth, Julius Caesar and The Tempest), and some of his favorite plays including: The Crucible, To Kill a Mockingbird, Godspell, The Miracle Worker (2016) and The Giver. Dennis has also taught Scene Study, Building a Character, and Introduction to Shakespeare acting classes at KCT. In 2013 he had the pleasure of directing a staged reading of Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffman’s play Something That Belongs to You, produced by UT’s College Scholars Program. He directed and performed at the Actor’s Co-op and Black Box Theatre, has twice directed at Hungary’s Csokonai Theatre, and shared a Joseph Jefferson citation for Best Ensemble with the cast of Corpus Christi at Chicago’s Bailiwick Theatre.
He remains grateful to his own mentors, Laura McCammon, Albert J. Harris, Thomas P. Cooke, and Lengyel Gyorgy for his vocation and to his best friend of 30+ years, KCT founder Zack Allen, for the opportunity of a lifetime. Dennis trained at the Clarence Brown Theatre and is a Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Tennessee’s College Scholars program.
Emily Helton has recently joined the KCT staff as the Academy Director and couldn’t be more thrilled! Emily is graduate of the University of Tennessee’s theatre program, and has spent the last 6 years working on and off the stage with Knoxville’s youth. Emily has taught many classes at KCT over the years. She believes strongly in creating and curating safe spaces for young minds. She is passionate about children for the same reason she is passionate about the theatre –for all the hard work, dedication, discipline, and structure both require, you don’t really get anywhere without making a huge mess first.
Alex Drinnen is a writer, designer, actor, educator and producer. Born and raised in Knoxville, he started involving himself in the theatrical world at age 7 and has not stopped since. He joins the KCT staff as Technical Director. Alex is also pursuing his MFA in Pedagogy, with an interest in dramatic theory and criticism from the University of Idaho. As a playwright, his work has been produced in Nashville and surrounding communities. His play THE FAMILY MARCHER was named as a Top Finalist for the International Thomas C. Wolfe Playwriting Award in 2020 and his most recent piece DALLAS, RUSSIA will premiere at the University of Idaho in the spring of 2023. He is also a credited Teaching Artist with the Nashville Children’s Theatre, leading their improvisation classes, devised work, and creative role-play courses. Alex is a graduate of Belmont University in Nashville.
After a thirty-year history with theatre in east Tennessee, Zack co-founded KCT in 2008 with the mission of creating a love of theatre to young audiences. Zack wrote 18 full-length plays for young audiences and directed 38 productions during his ten years with KCT. As a UT student and subsequent 7-year member of the Clarence Brown Theatre Company, he performed in over 30 shows in twelve years. As a company member of the Actor’s Co-Op from 2001-05, he directed and acted in numerous shows at their Black Box Theatre. During that time, he won the Best Supporting Actor award from the Knoxville Area Theatre Coalition for his performance in The Importance of Being Earnest. From 2003-07, he was Executive Director of Rose Center, where he administered Tennessee Arts Commission grants in an eight-county area east of Knoxville, among other duties. Zack also directed for other local theatre companies, including Shakespeare On The Square (Othello, Much Ado About Nothing), Tennessee Stage Company (The Foreigner), and Theatre Knoxville Downtown (Driving Miss Daisy, The Trip To Bountiful, Blood Relations, Picnic, Bell, Book and Candle, Heroes, Absurd Person Singular). Zack has created a love of theatre in thousands of area children and his legacy will live for many years.
Donya Walker – Choreographer
Paul Jones – Musical Director
Deena Rhea – Musical Director
Donya Walker began dancing at the early age of two. Donya moved to Knoxville from Milwaukee, Wisconsin at twelve years old and she continued her dance training at Dancer Center West, and Angela Floyd’s School for the Dancer, where she studied jazz, tap, ballet, and lyrical. In middle and high school, Donya had the opportunity to tour and train under professional dancers from around the world with Hoctor’s Dance Caravan. Following high school Donya went on to coach two dance teams and appeared in the productions of Dream Girls, and Annie at the Bijou Theater. In 2003, physical injuries put Donya’s dreams on hold, but during this time she channeled her energy into expressing herself through sign language and received her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Tennessee in Sign Language Interpreting. In 2008, Donya hit the stage again in Oak Ridge Playhouse’s production of The Producers, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. She appeared in 2009’s Cumberland County Playhouse’s production of Hairspray, as well as an emergency understudy in Oak RidgePlayhouses’s production of Hairspray. Donya also took the opportunity to merge her love for the stage and sign language into one in the production of King Author at Knoxville’s Interact Children’s Theater for the Deaf.
Over the past fifteen years Donya has choreographed many shows and many pieces, but this year has opened up new opportunities as she choreographed her first professional show, Swopera, produced by the Carpet Bag Theater and directed by Steven and Mildred Sapp. Donya prays that her gifts and abilities will take her further than she can imagine as her choreography hits the stage again in the production of Hairspray, Jr. with the Knoxville Children’s Theatre.
Paul Jones has been working with KCT for many years as our Musical Director on shows such as Mary Poppins, Jr., Aladdin, Jr., Cinderella, Godspell, and more. Paul has been working in local theatre longer than he can actually remember, composing music for shows such as A Lion In Winter, On Golden Pond, The Elephant Man and many more. He is currently the owner and president of Auralation Studios. Paul’s music can be heard on such TV shows as Murder Comes To Town, American Murder, Unwrapped, American Idol and Toy Box.
Musical Theatre has been a part of Deena’s life going on thirty years. Growing up in a musical family it was easy to see why she loved the stage at an early age. From singing in the lullaby league in The Wizard of Oz to the jingle singer she is today, she’s so thankful that she gets to work with KCT and be a small part in these young actors and actresses journey. Deena with her husband Clay and daughter Leeland call this “Scruffy Little City” Knoxville their home.