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training & direction


We are fine art professionals, directing and coaching students who value art, creativity, design & expression.  What does this mean for you?  You can trust us to give you direct attention & expertise.  We are fiercely committed to the success of each student as we mentor, coach and teach.  We are dedicated to educating, empowering and building your confidence as a performer.  At our studio, we will give you the tools to experience your potential and accomplish your dreams.  


Shelby Hovley

Executive Director/Owner


Shelby holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Musical Theater from Weber State University.  Shelby has been seen on the Carousel Theatre stage for three seasons at Lagoon Amusement Park, performing their "Live in Living Color" Broadway Show, "Let's Dance" Pop-show, "Jungle Rhythm" Day Show and "Verano" Night Show (Swing).  She has a solid background in Choreographing and Directing, her most recent credit was Peter Pan Jr., Beauty and the Beast Jr. and Shrek the Musical Jr. at Legacy Preparatory Academy South, where she oversaw the elementary school's choir & musical theatre program for three years. When she is not teaching and directing her passion for performance has given her opportunities to play, Jeannie in Nice Work If You Can Get It, Lola in Damn Yankees and Bambi in Curtains. Her most recent credit is Ariel in Footloose at The Ziegfeld Theatre with a tour to The Egyptian Theatre in Park City.  She has performed in two world premiere productions: Girl of Glass & Of Myth and Mud, performances for which she received Irene Ryan Nominations for roles played.  She competed in Irene Ryan Competition in Los Angeles, California in 2014.  While attending WSU she held a Full-Time Department Scholarship, as well as secondary scholarships and attained a well rounded education including not only regular musical theatre curriculum but also Costume Design.  She has costume designed for numerous productions, her most recent projects being, Into the Woods, Frozen Jr., Footloose, The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, Shrek the Musical & AIDA.  Shelby loves Backstage with her whole heart and jumps at every opportunity to meet and coach her students.


Kayeli Hathaway

Executive Director/Owner


Kayeli holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre at Weber State University and before opening Backstage, taught as a private voice instructor for many years.  Kayeli is constantly directing shows and her most recent projects include: Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast Jr, Shrek the Musical Jr., and the BPA Halloween Show: Black Mirror.  She was the Assistant Director for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at WSU in 2017. Also, Kayeli is an experienced choreographer. Her most recent projects include Footloose and High School Musical Jr. Her favorite roles as a performer have been, The Ghost of Christmas Past in Scrooge, Winnie in Annie Get Your Gun, Rona (Understudy) in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and other featured dancing roles in multiple shows. Her most recent project was Anything Goes as Reno.  Kayeli grew up as a gymnast mastering tumbling and flexibility, during this time she also competed as a cheerleader.  She completely immersed herself in children's theater at Roger's Memorial Theatre growing up and found every opportunity to perform.  Kayeli is an expert in vocal performance and has a solid background pop, belt & legit styles. Kayeli’s favorite part about directing & teaching is seeing her students break through their personal challenges as an actor and discover newfound confidence.  She loves encouraging them to be the best performer they can be.


Kyle Lawrence



Kyle has over 15 years of experience in musical theatre as a performer, designer, composer, and director. He studied Musical Theatre at Weber State University and has a Level 1 Certification in Evidence Based Voicework from Maddie Tarbox Vocal Studio. He’s worked with theater companies all along northern Utah, including Backstage Performing Arts, Centerpoint Legacy Theatre, Good Company Theatre, Ogden Musical Theatre, the Ziegfeld Theater, and Salt Lake Acting Company. As an instructor, he encourages his students to explore and expand their knowledge and habits as individual artists and as collaborators of the theatre, offering training in singing and music literacy, acting, dance, and theatre history.


Landry Thomas

Performing Arts Instructor /

Prop & Costume Designer


Landry holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Weber State University’s Musical Theatre Program, while pursuing she held a full-time departmental scholarship.  She just performed Ruthless portraying the role of Tina for which she received her second Irene Ryan Nomination.  She just toured Where Words Once Were to Arizona as Eila, a role for which she competed in the Irene Ryan Nomination competition.  You may have seen her as the leading lady in Centerpoint Legacy Theatre’s production of Crazy for You as Polly Baker this past summer season. Other favorite roles include; Janet van DeGraff in The Drowsy Chaperone, Chava in Fiddler on the Roof, Bambi in Curtains, and Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie.  Landry has extensive voice training in classical-legit and Broadway belt styles.  She also has prop designed for many productions.  Landry loves sharing her knowledge with young performers who are learning the art of theatre.


Kate Erickson

Choreographer/Dance Instructor


Kate Erickson has found a new home in Salt Lake City after living in the Midwest most of her life. As a kid, Kate danced competitively and was also involved in many music and theatre programs and productions. After graduating High School, Kate went on to study at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she obtained a B.A. in Environmental Science, a B.A. in Political Science, and minored in Dance!  She has had the opportunity to perform works by world renowned choreographers such as Jack Samuel Gill and Dorris Ressl. She also performed works by UMD faculty members; Rebecca Katz Harwood, Ann Bergeron and Matthew Wagner, including an immersive dance theater production of "Out of Town". Kate not only had the chance to perform, but also create many works of choreography during her time at UMD for various showcases, including her personal favorites “Water Night,” and “Lose Your Soul”. In addition to choreography, Kate has had the opportunity to design lighting as well as costuming for her own works as well. Teaching dance, for nearly a decade, has brought Kate so much joy, she loves to watch her students grow and learn as dancers, and also humans! When Kate is not teaching or working, she is probably exploring the mountains with her friends!


Ashley Ramsey

Performing Arts Instructor


Ashley graduated from Utah Valley University in 2013 with a Degree in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Acting and Directing. Some of her favorite roles have been Rosie (Mamma Mia), Hannah (Spitfire Grill) and Velma Von Tussle (Hairspray). When she is not on the stage you can find her behind the scenes as a director and choreographer working such productions as Beauty and the Beast, Spamalot, and Sweeney Todd. Ashley did her first show when she was 8 and has been in love with it ever since. She believes in the tremendous power of the arts to teach, uplift, and tell stories in powerful and meaningful ways. She is so excited to share her passion with her students!


Peyton Davis

Piano & Voice Instructor


Peyton holds a bachelor's degree in Musical Theatre from Weber State University. He has a passion for piano, singing and acting having performed at various locations in Northern Utah such as Pickleville Playhouse, Centerpoint Legacy Theatre, Peery’s Egyptian Theatre, The Tabernacle at Temple Square, and many others. His favorite roles include Jack in Into the Woods, Hunk/Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, and John Darling in Peter Pan. Peyton was chosen and competed as an individual top-ten finalist at the Utah High School Musical Theatre Awards in both 2013 and 2015. He works closely with the theatre program at Ogden High School and as an alumni he has directed, music directed, and designed several productions since graduating. Peyton has experience in both classical and contemporary vocal techniques and is very excited to be working with such talented students and faculty.


Kenzie Dawn



Kenzie's passion for musical theatre began in her youth, having participated in several productions she grew a love for the world of theatre. Kenzie recently stage managed for both Footloose and High School Musical Jr. this past spring and is currently the Manager for both Backstage Performing Companies.  In addition to being an incredible stage manager, Kenzie is also a fantastic writer and has written several original productions for BPA. Kenzie recently moved back to Utah from California where she worked as a tour guide in the San Diego bay. She also worked a summer in Tennessee as a zipline instructor. When she's not Stage Managing for Backstage or working full-time downtown SLC, you can often find her curled up with a good book or writing her own. Her favorite part about working the backstage side of theater is getting to know the kids and production team and learning the many ins-and-outs of what makes a spectacular production.

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Emily Henwood

Dance Instructor


"Emily Henwood graduated from Southern Utah University in 2019 with degrees in Dance Education and Theatre. After spending two years putting her teaching license to use at a local Utah High School, Emily was able to help jumpstart Tooele Valley Theatre in her community and successfully complete their first year of performances. She now enjoys running the company with her husband and two friends, and working at Backstage, teaching young students about the wonders of dance. The performing arts have been a central part of her life since she could hum a tune, but her special interests include Musical Theatre and Choreography. Emily hopes to continue learning, growing, and serving in the performing arts culture of Utah as well as teaching her students how to learn, grow, and serve in their own ways."


Sarah Hainsworth

Puppet/Set Designer


Sarah graduated in 2009 from Brigham Young University with a degree in Theatre Arts. She has worked as a teacher, director, puppeteer, puppet builder, scenic artist, set designer, costume designer, and props mistress. Some of her favorite projects include assistant puppet builder for Charlott'e Web (Utah Valley University), scenic artist for The Wizard of Oz (SCERA Center for the Arts), props mistress for If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (SCERA Center for the Arts), set designer for Once Upon a Mattress (SCERA Center for the Arts), and set designer for Footloose, Winnie the Pooh, Frozen Jr., Seussical and Into the Woods, here at Backstage Performing Arts. She has a passion for all things creative and loves learning and honing new skills. When her busy schedule as a mom of three allows, she enjoys traveling with her husband, woodworking, painting, singing, puppet making, gardening, and photography.


Emma Stringham

Costume Construction & Music Instructor


Emma graduated from Brigham Young University - Idaho with a Degree in Technical Theatre and Design with an emphasis in Costume Construction. Sewing was a love that came only a few years ago, but Emma has made sure to practice wherever she can, to become a true master at patterning and stitching.  In addition to costume construction, she has experience in directing, choreography, design and music.  Emma loves performing!  Some of her favorite roles include Polly in Crazy For You, Wendy Jo in Footloose, and Ensemble in Anne of Green Gables. She is excited to be joining the ranks of Backstage Performing Arts and to work with everyone who comes through the door. 


Matt Stokes

Technical Director


Bio Coming Soon...


Courtney Christison

Scenic Artist


Courtney proudly holds a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Teaching from Weber State University.  She is currently the Theatre Director at Farmington High School, before that she taught at Fremont High School for 5 years.  She also has a passion for Scenic Painting and Set Design having worked at Centerpoint Legacy Theatre, Odgen Musical Theatre,  Hopebox & various locations in Northern Utah.  She an incredible wife and mother to her two girls.  Courtney is also an astonishing director, favorite projects include The Addams Family, Korczak's Children, Dear Chuck, and Cinderella. She has extensive experience in stage management and has a zealous energy for a well organized team of actors, crew & directors.  She is an incredible leader and friend, she leaps at the opportunity to educate and teach the next generation of performers.


Nate Hadley

Light Designer


Nate has worked in several theatres across the Wasatch Front as a technician. Nate's passion for tech began at a young age over time Nate is now the owner of one of the largest theatre light collections you've ever seen. Nate has been with Backstage for 3 years having worked on nearly 15+ productions!  In addition to all recitals, events, and showcases Nate has recently designed lights for Footloose, High School Musical, AIDA, Seussical, The Jungle Book, & Shrek the Musical.  When Nate is not light designing you can find him running lights for other community productions or building Star Wars legos.


Jeanne Voehl

Performing Companies Manager


Bio Coming Soon...


Alexis Swanson

Outreach & Fundraising Manager


Alexis holds a Bachelors in University Studies from BYU-I. She has also completed additional certificates in Teaching ESL and Social Media Marketing. She is originally from Montana where she was in dance for 16 years and a majorette for 2. Alexis is a homeschool mom of 6 kiddos. Her passions include being an active part of her children’s lives, accountability coaching and developing programs, then seeing them grow. Alexis’ favorite part of Backstage Performing Arts is seeing the growth in development, even outside of being on stage in 4 out of 6 of her kids. 


Angela Miller

Art Instructor & Stage Manager


Angela has over two decades of experience working with and teaching children in a variety of capacities and is very excited to be at BPA.  She has been in love with theater ever since playing Dudley Do-Right in her elementary school play! After graduating from Consumnes River College in Sacramento, California, she has worked with children in various part-time positions while raising her three daughters. She loves the arts and has seen that when children participate in creative arts, they thrive in all areas of their lives! Angela loves helping children as they explore new ideas, learn new skills, and build their confidence.  Believing that every child has artistic ability, her goal is to help each child develop their own creative talents.  Angela loves playing games and spending time with her family.  She also loves reading, cooking, and taking her dog on walks. 



Our studio provides the best space for any performer. From our spring floors to our beautiful mirrors, performers will feel confident in their own skin ready to brace any performance with style and class. We have three creative spaces, voice studio, dance studio and performance studio. Contact us if you would like to rent our space for any event, gathering, performance, recital, or reception.

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