Nathan Kessler-Jeffrey (Executive Artistic Director) has been teaching, directing, and acting in theatres, colleges, and high schools for over two decades. He holds an MFA in Directing from Rutgers University, and his teaching specialties include directing, acting, stage combat, and rehearsal techniques. He is the former Education and Outreach Director for Taproot Theatre Company in Seattle, and has been a guest instructor at high schools, colleges, and universities.
Nathan’s directing work includes productions for San Juan Community Theatre, Taproot Theatre Company, Driftwood Players, A Contemporary Theatre, American Globe Theatre, Abilene Shakespeare Festival, Transparent Storytellers Theatre, and the Seattle Play Series. In January of 2018, he joined San Juan Community Theatre as Executive Artistic Director and now divides his time between directing, acting, teaching, and leading SJCT’s team of talented staff and volunteers. He is thrilled to be a part of this vibrant and creative island community!


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.



2024Chiara
Chiara Power  (Teaching Artist) has been involved at SJCT since she was 9. She loves working with kids and teaching them all that she has learned over the years. She believes it is SJCT’s duty to provide a safe, healthy, and kind environment for kids to be kids and either explore their love for the arts, find community, and freely express themselves in a setting that is supportive, inclusive, and safe. She believes that every student who walks through the doors of SJCT should be met with the belief that they are valued as they are and that they are safe and respected in that building. Chiara hopes to continue to build the relationships and confidence of our island’s youths while practicing and teaching professional theatre skills. She is so grateful to SJCT for instilling, supporting, and growing her love of theatre and its importance for children. She is currently a BFA candidate at the Theatre program at the University of Victoria. Though she is currently in the acting program she is constantly developing her love for theatre education. In her free time, Chiara enjoys looking for sea glass at the beach, belly-laughing with friends, or watching a movie in her pajamas with her dog.