Penelope Haskew (Director of Education) has been working with kids at SJCT since 2010 . Since then she has been directing the Family Theatre productions each fall and has offered a variety of camps and workshops after school and in the summers. In 2015 she started the Summer Musical Theatre Camp which gives more experienced and enthusiastic kids an added opportunity to hone their craft as they create a fully-staged musical in three weeks. She has also started the High School Internship Program for students from Friday Harbor High School in order to provide more training in technical theatre. Students interested in the technical side of theatre can spend a class period with Penelope for a semester or entire year to get more hands on experience with what happens behind the scenes at a busy theatre. She is also an active supporter of the Friday Harbor chapter of the International Thespian Society which aims to provide even more opportunities for theatre loving youth to participate in theatre.
Penelope has also been the Production Assistant at SJCT since 2012 and as such designs lights or sets for many of the theatre's productions as well as being a general jack-of-all-trades to help get the shows up and running smoothly. She has also occasionally been found onstage enjoying her first love, musical theatre.
Penelope has worked around the country at Illinois Shakespeare Festival in IL, Hackmatack Playhouse in Maine, Summer Fun Theatre in Montclair NJ, Trinity Rep in Providence RI, and Island Theatre Workshop on Martha's Vineyard. She grew up on the East Coast and studied in theatre programs at UConn, Catholic University of America, NYU and Illinois State University. She holds a BA in Technical Theatre from Rhode Island College.
Amanda Smith (Teacher)has spent most of her life performing. Her journey began as a 7 year old in dance class in Portland OR. The natural progression was to musicals and this is where her heart remains! After graduating high school she was accepted into the Theatre program at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA. Throughout her four years there she was introduced to varied theatrical styles and genres opening her up to the possibilities that Theatre could provide. After receiving her BFA in Theatre with an emphasis in Voice and Speech, Amanda made her way to New York City to pursue Theatre as a career. While there she worked consistently, but was left missing the Pacific Northwest. She fell in love with the San Juan Islands while staying with her parents who had retired here and in a serendipitous turn of events she met Nathan Smith, the man who would become her husband and father of her 2 beautiful little girls, and the rest is history.
While discovering her new home she stumbled upon the San Juan Community Theatre and auditioned for The Dining Room under the direction of former Executive Director Merritt Olsen. Amanda’s involvement at SJCT has spanned from performer to administrator to volunteer coordinator, and now educator. She has truly found a home at SJCT and on San Juan Island and thanks the community for welcoming her with open arms.
Chiara Power (Teacher) has been involved at SJCT since she was 9. She started teaching kids as a sophomore when she was SJCT's first High School Intern and she and Penelope started the Theatre for Wiggler's classes. That same year she began student directing the Middle School shows with Jenni Merrit. Her community project as a Junior was teaching an after school theatre class at the Elementary School. She began Assistant Directing the Summer Musical Theatre camps in 2019 when she helped out on Fiddler on the Roof Jr and took on more responsibility with last summers productions of Could You Hug a Cactus? and 101 Dalmatians Kids. She loves working with kids and teaching them all that she has learned over the years. She is currently enrolled in a BFA Theatre program at the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Though she is currently in the acting program she is going to find a way to develop her love for theatre education.
She is so grateful to SJCT for instilling, supporting, and growing her love of theatre and its importance for children
Presley Clark (Teacher) has been actively involved with SJCT since she was in the 3rd grade. She caught the theatre bug when she was 8 years old, and hasn’t looked back since! She had acted in over 20 productions with SJCT, and has recently become; involved with instilling a love of theatre in the next generation. She was President of the San Juan Island chapter of the Thespian Society (2020-2021), and won the ‘You Hit The High Note!’ Award from 5th Avenue Theatre for her Portrayal of Audrey in Friday Harbor High school’s ‘Little Shop of Horrors’(2020). During her time in high school, she also helped arrange and play the music for the 2019 production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. She is currently pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre and a BA in Studio Art at Pacific Lutheran University with scholarships in Music, Theatre, and Art. Throughout her time in college, Presley has kept very involved in theatre and music, participating in the Spring Musical Review, as well as becoming a member of Gold Rush A Capella, and University Chorale. Her gained experience; through these activities, and her newfound Music Theory training has equipped her with tools to read and teach music. Presley is so thankful to call SJCT her home away from home, and for the opportunity to help foster a love of theatre in our community.