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Who's Preaching This Week?

Church: A Summer Sundays Series is launching this weekend. It would be an absurd understatement to claim that Catalyst is only a little excited. We are leaping out of our shoes with anticipation for this summer. (That was hyperbolic, we are still able to keep our shoes on our feet, but you get the point. )

Meet our panelists for Church: Part 1. Creating Your Own Work.

Jennifer Acker is an Atlanta based actor and director, and the Director of Education for Serenbe Playhouse. She is a graduate of Florida State University, holding dual degrees in Music and Theatre, and has studied with Theatre Academy London, The Globe Theatre (London), and apprenticed with the Atlanta Shakespeare Company. Atlanta Credits Include: Actor’s Express: RENT (Maureen – Suzi Nominated Performance), Sweeney Todd (Ensemble); Georgia Ensemble Theatre: Romeo & Juliet (Juliet), Camelot (Guenevere), One Slight Hitch (Melanie); The Atlanta Shakespeare Company: Othello (Desdemona); Titus Andronicus (Lavinia); The Fern Theatre: Hamlet (Ophelia); The Essential Theatre: That Uganda Play (Hannah). Directing Credits Include: Theroun D’arcy Patterson’s The Wilderness, Jean Genet’s The Maids and Jeremiah Parker Hobbs & Jessica De Maria’s The Last Time We Were Here for the New York Music Theatre Festival and upcoming for Synchronicity this Summer. Next up for Jennifer is Edmund in The Fern Theatre Company's all-female production of King Lear. She sends her gratitude and love to the family and Brandon; and to the audience and arts community, who ceaselessly support and inspire.

Neeley Gossett holds an M.F.A. from The Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University. Her works have previously received productions around the country. Two of her plays are published by YouthPLAYS. She works as a Teaching Artist at The Alliance Theater and is a tenure track, English Instructor at Georgia State University Dunwoody Campus. She and director Nichole Palmietto co-foundered Found Stages in 2014, through which her immersive play, Beulah Creek premiered and was nominated for The Suzi Bass Awards' Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award. Neeley and Found Stages are honored to have been be a part of the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab and the 2016 Kendeda alumnus reading at the Alliance, as well as 7 Stages’ Curious Encounters. This summer Found Stages will produce an immersive version of her play, Roman Candle Summer, which was a finalist in the Alliance’s 2012 Kendeda Competition, in and around outdoor swimming pools in metro-Atlanta. Most importantly, she is John’s wife and Kayla’s mommy.

Michael produces, writes and directs multidisciplinary performances combining video technology, puppetry, object theatre and visual spectacle. Favorite productions include ‘The Navigator’, ‘The Breakers’, ‘The Colour of Her Dreams’, and ‘Red Badge of Courage’. Michael served as an artistic associate at the Center for Puppetry Arts (2002-‘12 ), performing in over twenty shows, touring internationally, writing and directing puppet theatre for adults/teens/the very young. Program director of Xperimental Puppetry Theater (2004-’13), supporting and developing the work of emerging puppetry artists in Atlanta. In 2012 Michael founded The Object Group, an ensemble devising interactive performances for the High Museum, Georgia Aquarium, festivals and public spaces. Michael curates the annual Curious Encounters festival of interactive performance at 7 Stages. Grants received from NEA, TCG, Jim Henson Foundation, Irish and Israeli Consulate, Puppeteers of America, and Meet the Composer Foundation. Michael’s productions have been presented at the 2009 and 2011 National Puppetry Festival. TCG Future Leaders grant (‘11). Princess Grace Foundation-USA fellow (’12). MacDowell Colony and Yaddo residencies. Michael has written and directed his original productions for the Alliance Theatre, Actor’s Express, Dad’s Garage Theatre, the High Museum of Art, the Georgia Aquarium, and teaches at Kennesaw State University.

For more than a decade, Theroun Patterson maintained a cool, canny stage presence in edgy plays at Actor's Express, Synchronicity Theatre and other Atlanta playhouses. His unflappable demeanor was part of the act, however. "In plays as an actor, I was a nervous wreck," he admits. "I don't have formal training as an actor, so going into a new show always felt like starting over: 'Can I do this part?''. Patterson began writing plays soon after he began acting in the late 1990s, and had a transformative experience at the staged reading of his first script at Dad's Garage in 2005. "That was the first time I felt completely comfortable in a theater." Recently he wrote FAWN that won the Atlanta 48hr film festival, That Uganda Play was a winner of the 2015 Essential Theatre Playwriting Competition and his play RED SUMMER was apart of this years Homebrew readings at 7Stages.

His Play Cannibals was chosen as part of the 2014 Ethel Woolson Lab and is getting its world premier in Charleston this summer at the at the Threshold Theatre. Theroun is a realtor with AMES Realty Group, as well as a proud husband and father.

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