TCHA produces four different theatre productions every year: a fall musical, a winter ministry play, a spring classic play and a summer musical camp.
Michaela Leist is thrilled to direct with TCHA!
She graduated from North Central University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and a minor in Youth Ministries. Some of her favorite shows to direct in the past have been Robin Hood and Angel’s Trumpet (a story about F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald). She also enjoys acting and her favorite role as an actress has been Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
She loves the aspect of theatre that allows people to have an ‘aha!’ moment and learn something new about themselves or about the world around them. She finds joy in being able to artfully tell story, and most importantly, aspects of God’s story.
She resides in NE Minneapolis with her husband, Nick, and cat, Kona. In her free time, she enjoys finding new coffee shops, having game nights with friends, and training for marathons with her husband.
Michelle has been a seeker of creativity & wonderment since childhood. Raised in Madagascar and Minnesota, as a young girl Michelle fell in love with the internal landscape of books and story, and the external narrative of nature and the outdoors, with music woven throughout both worlds. As a teenager she filled her days with theater, choir, speech, and music and found in those spaces both her strengths and gifting, as well as her people and belonging.
Often asked what theatrical roles have been her favorites to play on stage, of course the dramatic ones are always the most enjoyable: Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, Drizella in Cinderella, and Eileen in Arsenic and Old Lace are some of her favorites. Still on her wishlist: Persephone in Hadestown and any role in Les Misérables.
Michelle received a BA in Music Performance with a vocal emphasis from Colorado Christian University, and spent the following years touring with various groups and working as a studio musician and vocalist for commercial and corporate events. Michelle has also led worship for over 25 years, recorded on various worship albums featuring her original music, and released two solo albums as a singer-songwriter.
In 2013 Michelle joined the founding board of Twin Cities Homeschoolers for the Arts and is passionate about providing faith-based quality performing arts opportunities to the homeschooling community. Michelle has a special love for working with teens, enjoying the role of music director for TCHA musical productions since 2018, and is expanding that role to director in 2023. She has two college-age children, Kenoy and Paris, and lives in Eagan, MN.
Julie Nelson has always had a love for the arts. She has spent many years acting, dancing, and singing, and majored in Theater at Mankato State University. She has tutored and directed for the theater program at TCHA since 2015, and works with many homeschool co-ops providing a wide variety of classes to educate students and develop their talent while training them to understand and apply the craft of acting. Previous TCHA productions include Ben-Hur (2023),The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2022), Missionary of Oz! (2020/2021), The Hiding Place (2019), The Pilgrim’s Progress (2018) and Baggage Claim (2017).
In addition to teaching in the homeschooling community, Julie has developed and taught theater programs for inter-generational, special needs, and elderly students and conducts private acting lessons. She has acted, written, and directed many dramas and plays for various churches, Sunday Schools and homeschool co-ops. She is enthusiastic about sharing her love for theater with her students and helping them explore their creativity and unique talents and use them to glorify the Lord and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is married and has four boys whom she homeschooled for eleven years.