I'm Ashley - an actor, singer, dancer and choreographer living and working in Milwaukee, WI!
I've always had a flare for the dramatic - even as a child. I would re-enact my favorite Disney movies; perform dramatic readings of my favorite books - from memory I might add; put on puppet shows with my family; and let's not forget the numerous dress-up games that required extensive costumes and sets. I've always had a big imagination and a curious nature; I did everything with gusto and extreme enthusiasm. My family would tell you that I was born for the stage. I was enrolled in dance classes at two years old, sang in choir from fifth grade until my senior year of college, participated in Solo & Ensemble every year, participated in every school musical/play, took voice lessons since I was 13 - my life revolved around the arts, so it comes as no surprise that as an adult it still does.
In late middle school I started taking classes with First Stage Theater Academy, and soon after I was cast in my first professional production with First Stage (How I Became A Pirate) in 2009. Upon entering high school I decided I wanted to get serious about theater, and I joined First Stage's Young Company - a collegiate-level actor training program for high school students with classes in Viewpoints, IPA, Classical Text analysis, Musical Theater, Voice & Speech, and more. During my time with First Stage I performed in and worked on over 10 productions with the Children's Theater, Theater Academy and the Young Company. I even was fortunate enough to compete in the Utah Shakespeare Festival two years in a row with them. I was blessed to grow up and learn in such an accepting, professional and knowledgeable environment. The time I spent there shaped the person I am today, and prepared me exponentially for the industry in multiple areas and genres of theater, as well as making me a more well-rounded, compassionate, and understanding person.
In May of 2017, I received my B.A. in Theatre Arts - Acting with a minor in dance from the University of Northern Colorado. My time in Colorado has been a highlight of my life; the art I was able to create, experience, learn about, and explore was a real treasure. I spent four years learning from some of the smartest and most passionate people I've ever met - both peers, professors, and guest artists. At UNC, I was fortunate enough to be submerged in a theater community that encouraged student work and outside opportunities; UNC fostered an environment of creativity and exploration that allowed me to discover who I am as an artist. I have always been a believer in continuous education, and my time at UNC has inspired me to seek out education opportunities whenever I can, and to never stop learning. Simply living in Colorado for four years was an experience of a lifetime. I am the actor, dancer, performer, and person I am today because of UNC, and I am eternally grateful for it.
Since March of 2016, I have been the Tour Director for KIDS From Wisconsin (of which I am also an alumni). KFW was established in 1969, and is a touring production that has 33 troupe members (20 singer/dancers and a 13 piece live band) ranging in age from 15-20 years old. The group travels the state performing a two hour music review in over 30 cities during the summer and during the entire run of the Wisconsin State Fair. The work has been challenging and stimulating, and shown me the possibilities of arts management career opportunities. Because of my time with KFW, it is now my goal to return to school and receive my Masters in Arts Administration. With this degree, I hope to one day either open my own theater company or to become an Artistic Director of a company. In addition to my arts administration work, I am also a Teaching Artist with First Stage in the Theater Academy and Theatre In Education program, which provides workshops and classes to Milwaukee Area schools by integrating theatre curriculum into core curriculum. It is exhilarating to be home once again and providing young people with the experiences and education I once had.
When asked to describe myself as a theater professional, I would say I am an actor first with roots based Classical text, Musical Theatre, and Movement. Basically, I'm a certified Shakespeare nerd, who loves to sing and dance, and now choreograph. I've never been one to think small - I dream big, and set goals for myself that push me to keep learning and keep growing. We are never finished learning, there is always something new and something bigger to discover. I am an ambitious, passionate, quirky, and fun-loving individual who thoroughly enjoys the creative process, collaboration, and experimentation of theatre. Theatre is my passion and the love of my life; all forms and shapes and sizes of it bring me joy. I will fight to preserve it, protect it, and expand it. Let's work together!