At Treasure Trunk Theatre, we create a nurturing space for children to develop their imagination, confidence, and creativity through the magic of storytelling. We encourage self-expression and celebrate individuality. We use the power of dramatic play to inspire each child to be their unique self, to connect with others, and to see the world in an empathic way.
Act, move, create, and play – where will your imagination take you today? Treasure Trunk Theatre is a theatrical arts program for children that explores drama through imagination. In each class the students will incorporate movement, music, theatre games, and visual arts to express themselves and connect with the world around them. Here at Treasure Trunk, we pride ourselves on being a company that focuses on the journey – it is not about the final product, but rather what your child will learn through the process. We aim to provide a nurturing environment for children to develop and expand their creative energies.
In 2013, our founder and CEO, Elisa Pupko had a dream of bringing her unique theatrical curriculum to the kiddos of Brooklyn and beyond. We are so proud to say that Treasure Trunk has now expanded to neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and New Jersey. We have also recently fulfilled a huge dream of ours and opened the first ever Treasure Trunk Studio, located on Atlantic Avenue. Our flagship location hosts all your beloved Treasure Trunk classes and camps, full package birthday parties and special events. We also host some amazing other providers with their top-notch programs, check them out: Artists & Crafts, Hopalong Andrew, Lavender Blues, Mandarin Seeds, Play & Beyond, Puppetsburg, MAPS, JCC Brooklyn, and Mozart for Munchkins.
Come join us for a drop in class, a week long camp, or a full semester! We look forward to seeing you soon!
Our amazing teaching artists are passionate about inspiring a love for the arts in children. All Treasure Trunk teaching artists are theatre professionals and have extensive experience working with young children. Their experience and knowledge, combined with the Treasure Trunk philosophy, provides our students with a unique educational and nurturing environment which aims to empower the personal and creative growth of our students.
Elisa is an actor and singer with a desire for igniting a passion for the arts in young children. In 2012, Elisa founded Treasure Trunk Theatre, to combine her love for theatre and her devotion to teaching young children.
As a professional actor and childcare provider in New York, Elisa saw a need for programming that could allow young children to explore their imaginations and develop a strong sense of self. She sees the magic of theatre and make believe as a powerful teaching tool that instills empathy and compassion in children early on. Elisa is passionate about bringing the arts to underserved communities and runs an outreach program within Treasure Trunk that provides theatrical classes to communities in NYC.
She herself began performing at a young age and thanks to an ambitious drama teacher, was cast in her first play: Hamlet(!) at nine years old. She continued performing throughout her adolescent years both in school and local community theatres. She received her degree in Drama from The University of Washington in Seattle. With over 18 years of experience working with children, she has taught theatre to children at Seattle Children’s Theatre, The Shoreline Arts Council, Ridgecrest Elementary, and Taproot Theatre, where she performed for elementary through high school students across the Pacific Northwest in anti-bullying shows. She has worked professionally with many New York theatre companies and regional theatres across the country. Proud member of Actor’s Equity Association. For more information about Elisa as an actor, please visit www.elisapupko.com.
In 2017, Elisa opened Treasure Trunk’s flagship location on Atlantic Ave to provide an inviting space not only for her own programming, but to provide an affordable space for other local artists/musicians/performers to run unique holistic programming for children.
Born and raised in Seattle, Elisa currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband, young daughter, and mini Aussie.
Program Director & Lead Teaching Artist
Eliza McCoy is a New York City-based teaching artist, singer/songwriter and performer. She graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a focus in Musical Theater. After graduation, it was clear that her passion for collaboration, program development and working with kiddos was leading her to the classroom. She has developed two music programs for students in Red Hook, Brooklyn and continues to volunteer as a music, performance and songwriting mentor for young artists. Over the last four years with Treasure Trunk, she has been thrilled to teach, and create programming for amazing kiddos all over Brooklyn, Manhattan, New Jersey, and now in the virtual world – beyond. You can catch Eliza in the classroom at Treasure Trunk, or behind the scenes helping with any and all of your registration needs, questions and inquiries!
Brian Hampton started his career as an actor in New York City leading and creating educational birthday parties at the Central Park Zoo and the Museum of Natural History. He then went on to be the Director of Children, Youth, and Families programming as well as the producer of “The Puzzle Theatre Festival” at Marble Collegiate Church. Most recently, he worked with the Marquee Events team at Universal Studios Hollywood with their Lunar New Year / Kung Fu Panda celebration, and he’s super excited to be returning back home and part of the Treasure Trunk Theatre team. As a teaching artist, Brian has taught playwriting for adults, teens, and kids at over 50 elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, theatre companies and colleges/universities across the country (including Northern Stage Theatre Company, Treehouse Shakers, Wright State University, Georgia State, On Broadway PATP, Attic Salt Theatre Company, Auburn University, and the Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara). His plays include “The Jungle Fun Room,” “Checking In,” and his teen/middle school plays: “Gossip” and “Username” which are produced worldwide (across 5 continents). As an actor, Brian has performed on stage in NYC, regional theatres, and national tours as well as in film and TV. www.brianhampton.net
Program Coordinator & Lead Teaching Artist
Rachel Brudner is an actor and theatre educator who graduated Summa Cum Laude from Muhlenberg College with degrees in Theatre and Communications and a minor in Spanish. Rachel has worked as a Teaching Artist Assistant at Tada! Youth Theatre, taught English at an international school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and led a community outreach theatre program at a local elementary school while she was in college. Her professional acting credits include theatre for young audience shows as Sally in Cat in the Hat and Fern in Charlotte’s Web, and she can also be seen in videos for “Mother Goose Club” and heard in “Little Fox” animated audiobooks. She’s excited about encouraging self-expression, imagination, and growth in kids to show them they can achieve anything they set out to do! rachelbrudner.com
Lead Teaching Artist
Mila Milosevic is an award winning actress, classically trained singer and teaching artist living in Manhattan. Mila’s been a teaching artist at Treasure Trunk for over 5 years now! She was born and raised in Europe, and has been developing her performance skills since a very early age. She played the flute, sang in choirs, and performed solos across the continent before she eventually moved to the US to pursue her passions professionally. Mila currently trains at the highly acclaimed MN Acting Studio, and does improv and musical improv at the Magnet Theater. She has appeared in numerous national and international commercials, feature films and TV shows. She is fluent in English, Hungarian and Serbian, and is a proud member of Mensa. Mila loves working with children, and in the past decade she’s been teaching them about performing, singing and music in fun and creative ways. Combining her love for children and performing, Mila has found the best of both worlds at Treasure Trunk Theatre! For more information please visit: www.milamilosevic.com.
Lead Teaching Artist
Kelsey Schergen has been a proud teacher and fan of Treasure Trunk Theatre for over 3 years now! She graduated with honors from NYU Tisch with a BFA in Musical Theatre and Minor in Education. A Seattle native, Kelsey has performed in the national tours of Fame the Musical and The Wizard of Oz. Regional credits include Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Tiger Lily in Peter Pan, and Lisa in Mamma Mia. Kelsey is passionate about helping her students discover new ways of expressing themselves and connecting to others through theatre. She is thrilled to continue sharing her passion for the performing arts with the next generation!
Lead Teaching Artist
Kristin Parker is a Brooklyn based actor/playwright as well as a teaching artist and child care provider. She’s also a feminist a francophile and a foodie! Teaching for Treasure Trunk is one of the most joyful parts of her life! Kristin has been lucky enough to work with children for the last 15+ years, through child care, teaching, and acting. She has had the pleasure of starring in numerous TYA shows in the city and around the country including Pinkalicious the Musical, The Velveteen Rabbit, and A Christmas Carol. Kristin began acting at age 4 and hasn’t stopped since. Her work can be seen on numerous television shows, web series, and films as well as on stage. For more information please visit www.KristinParker.com
Lead Teaching Artist
Ally Barrale is an actress and musician based out of New York City. She recently returned to America from working with Norwegian Cruise Lines. She has been working with children for over 10 years, including volunteer teaching in West Africa and substitute teaching in Manhattan. She is currently getting her Masters in Music Therapy at NYU. Ally is eager to implement her two worlds together and create theatre with the amazing kids at Treasure Trunk!
Lead Teaching Artist
Joyah is a highly caffeinated multi-hyphenate currently based in New York City. She grew up in Northern California before leaving to pursue her BFA in Musical Theatre with a minor in Dance from Otterbein University. As an actor, Joyah has performed at many prestigious venues including Off-Broadway at The Jerry Orbach Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, A.C.T. San Fransisco, New York Musical Festival, The New York Fringe Festival, and 54 below. As a teaching artist/ director Joyah has traveled the country working with students from infancy to retirement at venues such as Reckless Theatre, Steelstacks PA, and Archbishop Mitty High School in California. She is also a celebrated choreographer, recent productions include Not For Resale: Queer As Performance (NYU), Simone (Reckless Theatre), The Dolls of New Albion (National Theatre For Student Artists) , Bubble Boy (5th Floor Theatre), Ghost Girl: The Webseries.
Lead Teaching Artist
Ellie Swartz is so excited to be joining the Treasure Trunk Team as a Teaching Artist! She is a classically trained singer, professional actor and has been teaching dance and theatre to children for over 8 years. Ellie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Muhlenberg College in May 2019 with a B.A. in Theatre and Music. She studied Physical Theatre and Commedia dell’arte at the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. In addition to teaching theatre this year, Ellie is touring around the country as Peter Rabbit in the National Tour of Peter Rabbit Tales. Regional credits: Bring it On (Eva), The Sound of Music (Liesl von Trapp), Beltsville/Rockville (Mol), Sprouted! (Mo the Cow). Ellie is also a composer and songwriter and is currently producing her own EP. She is so excited to explore the magic of theatre with students at Treasure Trunk!
Lead Teaching Artist
James Smart is an actor, musician, composer, teaching artist, and air guitar competitor. He has studied classical performance, musical theatre, and new play development at Roosevelt University and Columbia University, and has performed with the Classical Theatre of Harlem, Chautauqua Theater Company, First Folio Theatre, Underscore Theatre Company, and Three Brothers Theatre. His original music has been performed in a variety of productions across NYC. James has led Shakespeare workshops with The Young Company and offers guitar and voice lessons.
Anna Catherine Smith
Lead Teaching Artist
Anna Catherine Smith is thrilled to join the Treasure Trunk team! Anna is an actor/singer and high school theater coach who graduated from Pace University with a BFA in musical theater. Anna discovered her passion for teaching kids two years ago when she became a teacher/coach for middle school and high school through the ACE Awards. (Knoxville, TN) Her recent performance credits include Belle in Beauty and the Beast and Ariel in The Little Mermaid. (Timber Lake Playhouse) Annacatherinesmith.com
Lead Teaching Artist
Morgan Kirner is an Actor/Singer/Dancer, teaching artist and certified fitness instructor who is based in NYC! She graduated with her BFA in Musical Theatre from the Boston Conservatory and is currently pursing her MFA in Vocal Pedagogy at Rider University! Morgan most recently was on tour with Hello, Dolly where she played “Ermengarde” in 25 cities across the country. Other favorite roles include “Anne” in A Little Night Music and “Ariel” in the Little Mermaid. Morgan is a teaching artist and Stage Manager with Dreamstreet Theater company (Brooklyn-based 501-c3 for adults with developmental disabilities) and is a proud volunteer artist for Sing For Your Seniors in NYC and virtually!
Kyle Schaefer is a professional actor with an extensive dance & music background. As a founding member of the theater company Recent Cutbacks, he still frequently gets to play like a kid. He holds an MFA from the American Conservatory Theater, and has performed at the Williamstown Theater Festival, Berkshire Theatre Festival, A.C.T., Arkansas Rep, Second City Training Center, Peoples Improv Theater, Shakespeare & Company, New Harmony Project, Kennedy Center, and internationally in Canada and France. He has performed and toured in numerous children’s theater productions throughout his career, and teaches collaborative theater-making with Recent Cutbacks. www.kyleschaefer.com
Allie Marotta is a Brooklyn based arts educator and collaborative theatre maker specializing in immersive, experiential, and devised theatre. Allie has presented work at NYC venues Teatro SEA, FringeNYC, Theater for the New City, Dixon Place, Theatre Row, and HERE Arts Center, and internationally in Ecuador, Greece, Argentina, and throughout the U.K. Allie teaches for various arts organizations throughout NYC including Queens Theatre, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Wingspan Arts, Falconworks Theatre, George Street Playhouse, and more. She is a NYC staff correspondent for No Proscenium and a founding creator of experiential theatre company You&I. Allie is also a healthcare and disability patient advocate and works with grassroots organizations NY #insulin4all, Mutual Aid Diabetes, and the Campaign for NY Health. Education: MA Contemporary Performance Practices (RHUL), BA Acting, BA Directing (Pace University). www.allie-marotta.com
Rachel Norman is an actor, singer, and songwriter currently residing in Brooklyn. She recently graduated from Muhlenberg College with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, and a double minor in Italian and Women’s and Gender Studies. Rachel has worked both on and off the stage, serving as the assistant to the TV/Film & Theatre Departments at Take 3 Talent Agency and performing at music venues throughout the city. She is so excited to be diving into the world of teaching artistry at Treasure Trunk Theatre.
Rowen Halpin is a newly NYC-based actor and teaching artist. After graduating from Skidmore College in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre, she moved back home to Boston to begin her career. By day, she worked as the co-lead drama teacher at the Underwood After School Program and by night she acted in local productions, primarily focusing on Shakespeare. After a brief covid-intermission and a lot of Zoom theatre, Rowen moved to New York where she had always wanted to end up. She currently spends her days working as a teaching assistant at an independent day school, trying to keep her houseplants alive, and finding the best food New York City has to offer.
Jaymie is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Applied Theatre from the City University of New York School of Professional Studies. She is thrilled to connect her experiences in programming with children, teens, and adults with her love of theater. Theater has provided Jaymie with lifelong friends and the opportunity to explore the power of passionate people coming together to create something and connect with each other. She hopes to continue in work that invites others into reflection, dialogue, and exploring possibilities. Jaymie also loves seeing, performing, and talking about stand-up comedy. If you want to start a 3 hour conversation with her, ask her about her cat Bastian.
A performer and teaching artist based out of New York and New England, Elise Ballard has worked as an assistant teacher and theatre arts educator since graduating from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy with a degree in Musical Theatre Performance. After graduation, her work restoring the drama program at her local elementary school set the scene for what Elise has pursued since – creating, exploring, and connecting with children in ways that foster self expression and self discovery! Most recently, she has worked as a child actor guardian for Northern Stage Theatre Company in Vermont, and as a teaching artist for the New London Barn Playhouse in New Hampshire. Elise is a passionate advocate for continued arts integration in the neurodivergent community.
Olivia J. Bishop Penn is a writer, director, and teaching artist who is excited to find a home with Treasure Trunk Theater. She is a Pennsylvania native with a degree in Theater and English from Wagner College. While in her undergraduate, she completed the Advanced Directing Program at the National Theater Institute. She’s completed a residency at the Eugene O’Neil Theater Center and has helped a handful of new works find their footing on the stage. She’s worked with the YMCA to develop arts and theater curriculum for afterschool programs and summer camps and was a teaching artist with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. She strives to create a safe and creative space for all young people to explore and grow as artists and people. This summer,she begins her studies with NYU Steinhardt in their Educational Theater in Colleges and Communities program. To learn more about Olivia, you can visit oliviajanellebishop.com.
Tara first fell in love with performing at theatre camp, so it is only fitting that she shares that passion with the Treasure Trunk campers this summer. She has a degree in Arts in Context with concentrations in Theatre and Global Studies and a minor in Gender Studies from Eugene Lang College, and also attended the British American Drama Academy in London. As a teacher, Tara believes that theatre can be an incredibly powerful tool for empowerment, creative exploration, and personal expression. Tara has worked as a producer, actor, and instructor with organizations such as the Veteran Artist Project, Culture Project, WAM Theatre, and the International Rescue Committee. She also designed and implemented a theatre program within the YMCA summer camp in her hometown of Westfield, MA. In her free time, Tara enjoys painting, yoga, and exploring the city. She is beyond excited to join the Treasure Trunk Theatre team!
Diana Schwam is so excited to join the Treasure Trunk team! Diana is a New York based classically trained singer and actor who graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Bard’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program. As a crossover singer who performs musical theatre, cabaret, opera, and art song, her foundation as an actress allows her to venture into these worlds with the utmost respect for the story and text. Diana found a passion for working with children two years ago when she began teaching voice lessons. She finds much joy from working with children and allowing them to fully engage with storytelling from a place of wonder and imagination! dianaschwam.com
Jason Alexander Wilks
Jason Alexander Wilks (he/him) is a proud New York city boy! He is a company member of Family Life Theatre, and regularly performs in NYC middle schools and high schools. Jason is passionate about helping others discover their confidence and awaken their creativity through theater. He is also super passionate about Oreos, and has quite literally sampled every single flavor. He is stoked to join the Treasure Trunk Theatre family!
Jessie Levin is an actress/singer/dancer from Brooklyn! She is a recently graduated drama major from Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and is on her way to get her BFA in Acting at The Hartt School at The University of Hartford. Some of her theatre credits include Penny Pingleton in Hairspray, Mary Warren in The Crucible, Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and more! She participated in The Brooklyn Youth Chorus for 6 years and through that got to perform at Lincoln Center with the New York PhilHarmonic, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and Silent Voices: Lovestate at the New Victory Theatre. She also performed with The National and David Byrne. She has been a volunteer at The Brooklyn Autism Center, a school for children with autism, for 9 years and has volunteered at some of the Theatre Development Funds (TDF) Autism Friendly performances. Jessie is so excited to be combining her passion for theatre and performing with her passion for working with kids this summer at Treasure Trunk!
Gabbie Ballesteros is a Filipino musical theatre performer and dancer-choreographer. She is a recent graduate of NYU Tisch’s New Studio on Broadway, where she earned her BFA in Drama and Double Minors in Education and Applied Theatre. She has served as choreographer and dance captain on several theatre productions, and has worked as a dance educator for public schools and community workshops in the New York and DC areas. Gabbie is also an advocate for arts education, and is passionate about providing universal access to the arts and celebrating diverse communities and experiences. She is thrilled to join the Treasure Trunk team, and to share the joy of self-expression and storytelling with these young artists!
Mackenzie Meadows is a Richmond, Virginia native who recently graduated from James Madison University with a BA in Musical Theatre. Mackenzie was drawn to the arts at an early age and began dancing at the age of two and a half and became a professional dancer at the age of nine. Similarly, Mackenzie began working with children at a young age, fourteen, around the same time that she stared in her first musical. Her extensive experience in working with children includes camp counseling, nannying, volunteering, and tutoring. She is thrilled to be working at Treasure Trunk where she can combine her two passions of teaching and performance while continuing to engage in creativity! Right before graduation, Mackenzie signed with CGF Talent in April of 2020! She is a TV/Film actress and a singer/songwriter.
Becca (she/her) is a Brooklyn based singer, writer, actor, and teaching artist. Originally from Boston, she graduated from The University of Massachusetts in Amherst with a dual B.A in Theatre and English Literature. She has spent the past decade working with children, including summer camps, theatre classes and most recently as an early childhood educator in Park Slope. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Educational Theatre from The City College of New York. Becca believes that children are able to learn best when they feel comfortable to be themselves. In her free time, she enjoys boxing, yoga, hiking, and playing her ukulele! She cannot wait to create a fun learning environment alongside the students and the members of the Treasure Trunk Theatre team!
Olivia St. Peter is a southern-bred actress, singer, voice-over artist, and writer currently based in New York City. After high school at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, she attended Syracuse University where she recently graduated with her BFA in Musical Theater. While at Syracuse, she worked as a drama coordinator for Camp Kesem and spent two summers as a counselor at Interlochen Arts Camp. Since moving to NYC in January, Olivia has worked as a teaching artist with Treehouse Shakers and is so excited to begin her first professional job at Virginia Repertory Theatre this summer. She is so thrilled to begin working with Treasure Trunk! When not knee-deep in theatre, you can find her obsessing over Taylor Swift, astrology, and plants. You can find more information about her here: www.olivia-stpeter.com
Jules (she/they) is an actor, singer & writer with a wacky sense of humor and an overactive imagination. Jules began working with kids in their mom’s church (when they were just a kid themself) and discovered at a young age the personal sense of fulfillment they gained from encouraging children to find confidence in their uniqueness. Jules is a graduate of Boston College and the William Esper Studio (in New York). To Jules, freedom of expression, laughter, and joy are the most important elements in any teaching environment. Jules is ecstatic to be joining Treasure Trunk as a teaching artist this summer.
Catie Kobland is a crafter/creator/connoisseur of all things art based in NYC. She recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from Syracuse Universities Department of Drama with a BFA in Acting. She is super excited to combine her love of children, education and theatre here at treasure trunk and believes art programming in early childhood education and onwards is imperative for teaching empathy and communicating with others. Aside from being an educator, it is a means of therapy and she hopes to create a safe space for children to feel seen, heard and validated while having a blast.
Maggie is an actor, teaching artist, and producer. She graduated with a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts a semester early with a degree in Theater while also studying child development. Maggie co-founded a little but fierce female-led theater collective focused on making Shakespeare accessible and fresh. She is committed to showing that Shakespeare is in fact not boring! Maggie has also been working with children for well over a decade babysitting, teaching classes and camps, and traveling with kiddos. A Brooklyn resident, she is a self-proclaimed lover of board games, folk music, and British television. She fills her time auditioning, working with children, spreading the magic of theater and creating opportunities for women. It is only fitting that her worlds collide as children remind us to play, use our imaginations, maintain a fully expressive emotional life and stay in the moment! Sounds like acting.
Lead Teaching Artist
Katharine is an actor, singer, writer, and director originally from Central New Jersey. She attended The Juilliard School for acting, where she received the Elizabeth Smith Prize for voice and speech. Since graduating Katharine has been involved in devising and performing immersive, physical work in shows such as Sleep No More, The Bad Years, and We Are Here, a new piece by Harry Potter choreographer Stephen Hoggett. While working in theater Katharine has also been creating her own film projects including Kiosk, an Instagram original series and a short film about healthcare currently in post production. As a teaching artist Katharine has taught Shakespeare with The Public Theater as part of the Mobile Unit, traveling to prisons and shelters to make theater accessible to communities around the city. Beyond New York she has taught singing in central Florida, storytelling in Guatemala, and acting at Snow College in Utah.
Lead Teaching Artist
Kerry Warren is a New York based actor and teaching artist. She strives to create a classroom of joy and rigor and hopes to make classical texts such as Shakespeare more relatable and accessible to her students. She is a graduate of the Juilliard School where she received The President Polisi Prize for Artist as Citizen. She has taught with Harlem Children’s Zone, Lincoln Center Education, Hunts Point Alliance, Project Art, Arts Connection, Creative Arts, and the 52nd Street Project. As an actor she has performed on Broadway, Off Broadway, and regionally. Some of her favorite credits include The River with Hugh Jackman, Much Ado About Nothing with the Mobile Unit at The Public directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah that toured to prisons and community centers in all five boroughs and Romeo and Juliet at Dallas Theater Center. Catch her on this season of New Amsterdam on NBC.
Adrienne is an actress and dance teacher currently living and working in Los Angeles. She grew up helping out with her mom’s dance classes, even when she was just a kid herself. When she was nine she decided she either wanted to be an actress or a teacher, and as she got older she realized she didn’t have to choose! After graduating from the University of Washington with a Drama major and a Dance minor, she toured with Taproot Theatre’s Road Company, performing around 250 shows for over 100,000 audience members a year. In Los Angeles, Adrienne teaches ballet at Releve Studios and musical theatre at LEAP Academy. She is so excited to have the opportunity to share her love of dance and storytelling with Treasure Trunk Theatre! For more information on Adrienne, please visit www.adriennelittleton.com.