Megan graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 2007 and since has become both a stay at home mom and a natural light portrait photographer. She combines her love for photojournalism and family to create a unique experience for her photography clients. She is also a church camp counselor every summer for middle and high school students. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, writing, doing yoga and community theatre.

Nyk Sutter-Downs

​Nyk Sutter-Downs is way beyond excited to bring his love of dance and theatre to the Nitsch Theatre Arts Teaching Staff. He was born and raised in Peoria, IL where he currently lives with his husband. But, he has not lived in Peoria his entire life – six months after he graduated high school he packed his bags, and a Uhaul, and made the journey to New York City. While in the Big Apple he attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA), training under former and current Broadway performers and instructors such as Catherine Cox (Footloose, Baby, Oklahoma), Ray Virta (Thérèse Raquin, Boeing Boeing, Democracy), Lindsay Chambers (CATS), and Cynthia Thole (Singin’ In The Rain, Meet Me In St. Louis). He’s thankful to be able to pass along pieces of wisdom he learned from the professionals to the next generation of theatre artists. Nyk has been classically trained in a variety of dance disciplines: ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, Bollywood, and swing. Some of Nyk favorite theatrical credits include: Cousin Hortensia/Sheldon Farenthold in The Ritz (Circle Theatre, Chicago), Player/Baron/u/s Lewis in Pippin: A Bollywood Spectacular (Circle Theatre, Chicago), Billy Crocker in Anything Goes (Devonshire Playhouse, Chicago), Carlos/Padamadan/u/s Warner, Emmett in Legally Blonde the Musical (Devonshire Playhouse, Chicago), Moritz Stiefel in Spring Awakening (Nitsch Theatre Arts), Bobby/Two Ladies in Cabaret (Peoria Players Theatre), Kenickie in Grease (Peoria Players Theatre), Bobby Pepper in Curtains (Corn Stock Theatre), Paul in A Chorus Line (Eastlight Theatre, Corn Stock Theatre), Mungojerrie/Macavity in CATS (Peoria Players Theatre), Dickie Harrington in Awesome 80s Prom (Peoria Cabaret Theatre), H Daniels in The Lebanese/Redneck Wedding (Peoria Cabaret Theatre), among many others! Nyk’s philosophy is “why walk through life when you can dance?” He hopes to instill that same love of dance for those who attend his class. “I won’t bite, but I am going to push you beyond your comfort zone. Limits don’t exist in my classes.”

Megan Mason

Dustin has an extensive background in local community theatre. He has participated in over 50 productions, splitting his time between stage performance and technical crew work. He is proudest to have played Benjamin in Eastlight’s still running “Joseph” during the first five years. Starting at the age of 10, when he performed in a school play and joined the school band it was clear to him that music and performing were a passion. He continued following both the love of theatre and instrumental music through high school. When attending Illinois State University he choose music, majoring in Music Education. It was there he found his true calling of working with younger students and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. Dustin taught 4th and 5th grade at East Peoria District 86 for a total of four years, then moved to the K-2 music position (combining his passions) where he has happily been for another 12 years. The past six years Dustin has begun bringing theatre back into the East Peoria elementary schools by directing a school play for Lincoln Elementary. He plays the guitar, piano, drums, and brass instruments. In his free time he enjoys playing disc golf and loving on his two Savannah cats.

​Dustin Whitman

Taylor Elizabeth Hubbartt

Taylor has committed her life to this thing we call Theatre. Performing since the age of three, the arts have always been an important aspect of her life. Some of her favorite performances include Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Pinky Tuscadero in Happy Days, Bombalarina in Cats, and Mrs. Shields in a Christmas Story. Taylor has directed and/or choreographed  many shows including Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, A Suessified Christmas Carol, OZ!, The Auditioners, High School Musical,and 101 Dalmatians. She has over 8 years of training  in the areas of Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet, Tap, Modern, and Fosse. 

Taylor has her Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in performance from the University of South Florida. While getting her degree she worked in Entertainment at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and was the Assistant Director and Choreographer for Suncoast Youth Theatre for four years. After college she moved to NYC to further pursue her career where she worked at the Jekyll and Hyde Club as an actor in Time Square. The past year she has spent her past year with Stage Dreams Youth Theater in Phoenix, AZ. in which she choreographed Sleeping Beauty Kids, Aladdin Jr. and Directed and choreographed High School Musical Jr. Taylor's true dream is to share her talent and inspire kids to express themselves through the arts!

Kelleen has used her degree in English and Theatre education to introduce the arts into the lives of hundreds of children and adults.  Her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership with and emphasis in Arts in Education Curriculum and Instruction Integration shows her commitment to ensuring that the arts are integrated into the curriculum of every classroom.  She believes in having the arts available to students of all ages regardless of budgetary constraints which has made he a sought after presenter at educational theatre conferences. Kelleen has developed, directed, and taught for numerous arts based programs, camps and workshops, as well as, taught in public and private schools.  Her passion for the arts strives to bring out creativity in every child and stresses the uniqueness of the individual in a fun and positive atmosphere. Professionally Kelleen has had life-long training in dance and theatre, has appeared on stages from Disney World to New York, and in film and television.  Since her move to the Peoria area two and a half years ago, she has been seen onstage in Eastlight’s Jesus Christ Superstar, Mary Poppins, Young Frankenstein, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Jekyll & Hyde. She also has served as the choreographer for Cornstock for Kids production of The Little Mermaid and Eastlight’s Dreamgirls, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Great American Trailer Park. She was also the 2014/15 Drama Club Sponsor for Eureka Middle School.  On a personal note, she is the mom to two fabulous children and loves traveling, cooking when she has the time and spending time with her family.

Kelleen Nitsch

Meet the Teaching Artist