Michelle Hamstra

Michelle Hamstra is the artistic director and producer for CTW. She honed her administrative skills teaching and coordinating arts education programs for CTW for over 10 years, including seven years as a drama and dance director for Challenger Middle school and three years at Lehigh Senior High School Center for the Arts. While teaching drama at LSHS, Michelle created and designed the black box theater which has since served hundreds of students.  In addition to CTW, Michelle will be working as the assistant director at the Sanibel School for the 2017-2018 school year. Michelle has been a guest teacher at many public and private schools in Fort Myers over the past 15 years. She has attended several local and national conferences including the High School Thespians district and state festival, Jr. Thespians district and state festival, Southeastern Theatre Conference, Junior Theater Festival and the Broadway Teacher’s Workshop in NYC. While attending the Broadway Teacher’s Workshop, Michelle was honored to take a workshop with the amazing Stephen Schwartz. (wrote Godspell, Pippin, & Wicked)  Michelle has also danced at the Broadway Dance Center under the direction of the tap dancing sensation, Omar Edwards. (Broadway credits such as Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk).  Michelle was awarded the Lee County Schools Dance/Drama Teacher of the Year award in 2013.  Michelle studied the theater arts in New Jersey under the direction of Michael Blevins (Broadway artist & most well known for his portrayal of “Mark” in the movie “A Chorus Line”). Michelle has performed in over 50 productions as an actor/dancer, but finds her passion behind the scenes. Michelle studied at Cypress Lake High School Center for the Arts under the direction of Diane Stewart. In high school, Michelle created a dance studio in her house and offered affordable dance lessons and theater summer camps to local students. She attended the University of Central Florida as an education and communicative disorders major. She was a LEAD Scholar and created a performing arts group that performed at underprivileged elementary schools in Orlando. Michelle saw a need for children’s theater in Fort Myers and transferred to Florida Gulf Coast University to study under Diane Stewart as a Theatre major. Michelle created CTW as a college project (yes, she got an “A”) and fell in love with directing and producing plays in Fort Myers. Michelle worked as the drama instructor at the Alliance for the Arts summer camp for 7 years and wrote and directed over 40 children’s productions. Michelle has directed over 100 productions and has taken at least 30 groups of students out of town for theater events such as behind the scenes tours, Disney workshops, High School and Middle School Thespians and the Junior Theater Festival. Michelle is excited to see the future of Creative Theater Workshop and she hopes to build a children’s theater of her own someday. Michelle wants to thank Jeremy Kuntze, her mom, God, and all of the parents and community members for their support over the years.

Diane Hembling

Having earned a B.A. and M.A. in music, Diane has served as Director of Choral Activities at several public high schools for over 24 years as well as Choir Director, soloist, choir member and praise team member at many churches. She has taught privately even longer. She has performed leading roles in opera and musical theater. Most recently she has performed as Mrs. Paroo in the Cultural Park Theatre’s Production of The Music Man where she also was the Musical Director. She performed the role of Miss Hannigan in the Creative Theater Workshop production of Annie and was Vocal Director for the Creative Theater Workshop production of Flat Stanley Jr., Little Mermaid Jr. and the Jungle Book for Kids. Her most recent Professional role was the Stepmother in the Herb Strauss Theater production of, Into the Woods. She rounds out her diverse performance experience as a former lead singer with a top 40’s band and presently sings on the Praise Team at McGregor Baptist Church. Diane delivers a great deal of experience in many genres of music. Her students have enjoyed a great deal of success at every level. Her high school students have been accepted in the All-State Chorus and have received Scholarships from the Music and Theater programs at various Universities. Young and older students have been finalists in the local Young Artist and Stars of Tomorrow competitions and have been accepted to Cypress Lakes Performing Arts High School. Many students have successfully performed leading roles at Broadway Palm Theater, Florida Repertory Theater, Cultural Park Theater, Creative Theater Workshop and City Scenes Theater Company.

Kimberly Sanders

Kimberly Sanders attended both Boston University and Indiana University where she double majored in Theater & English.  She began her career as an actress in Chicago working primarily with Center Theater Ensemble.  In addition to performing, she was the program director for their children’s program teaching classes and directing shows like Godspell, Grease and Hair.

Later she began teaching high school English while continuing to direct a wide variety of shows:  The Phantom Tollbooth, Tom Jones, The Good Person of Setzuan, Tom Sawyer, Flowers of Algernon, and Crimes of the Heart.  She also choreographed a few musicals:  Oliver, Hello Dolly, Oklahoma, and Into the Woods.  Although the majority of her work has been with teenager, she also directed Steel Magnolias at an equity theater  outside of Chicago.

Aaron Jackson starred on the NBC live-action musical comedy series, California Dreams, where he played Mark Winkle, one of the band’s lead singers. Prior to landing his role on California Dreams, he did a wide range of theatrical productions, including Bye-Bye Birdie, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Tea and Sympathy, Torch Song Trilogy, Guys and Dolls, Rumors, and, the critically acclaimed, Bobby Socs It To Ya. Aaron has recently returned to the stage, starring in Arsenic and Old Lace, Owl and the Pussycat, Mousetrap, and Harvey at the Cultural Arts Theatre. Other television credits include Silk Stalkings and a pilot called Impact, a talk show for teens. Aaron is starring as Raoul in the upcoming TV pilot, Coney Island. Film credits include Lorenzo’s Oil, From Venus, and Children of the Corn: Fields of Terror (based on the book “Children of the Corn” by Steven King.) Other film credits include Wicked Spring, Heaven’s Neighbor, and Tangy Guacamole, Captain, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (a remake of the 1962 Academy Award winning film), The Pain Within, and Biophage. Aaron has also directed the films Cross to the other and Ghost Story Chronicles. He recently finished directing the award winning film, Fighting a War of My Own and is currently producing The Bar Mitzvah. Aaron has also done a variety of national commercials, including a P.S.A. on AIDS for which he received the “Ace Award”. Aaron is most proud of the work he has done helping aspiring actors break into the acting industry. He travels the country coaching up and coming talent in the art of acting, specializing in monologue and audition prep, scene study, character breakdown, and improvisation. Aaron has been a motivational speaker for 18 years. His company, Dangerous Curves Productions, was founded in 2007.  He also works hand-in-hand with non-profit organizations, such as D.A.R.E., Make-A-Wish, St. Jude’s Hospital, Special Olympics, the Love Ride for MDA, and the Ami Thom Foundation, just to name a few.