Caren Hearne has been a professional performer for over 20 years performing all over the United States and Europe.  Theatre education has always been a part of the equation; whether as an affiliated teaching artist or public school theatre instructor. Classes taught are acting, audition techniques,  beginning directing, stage management, and beginning acting for the camera . Caren holds a BA in Theatre from Shenandoah University and has taught in the DC Metro area for Fairfax and Prince William Counties, Adventure Theatre, West End Theatre, and founded the Rising Star Theatre Camp and taught it at various locations.  She also was the Youth Arts Education Director for the Workhouse Arts Center, teaching, designing artistic programs, and coordinating teaching artists for educational outreach to local schools. Caren is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Association.

Alisa Mehlohas a BA in Theatre from Westminster College where she participated in many productions both on stage and behind the scenes. She acquired her MA in Educational Theatre at New York University. She was certified in Theatre for grades Pre-K through 12 and worked as a substitute teacher and teaching artist in New York City. Since returning to Western PA, she has worked as a teaching artist, directed for Theatre Westminster's 10 Minute Play Festival, and enjoys getting back on stage once in a while! Alisa lives in Bellevue with her husband, Stephen, and her daughters, Annalise and Carys. 

Our Educators


Sara "Gunner" LaBuff is a Pittsburgh-born writer and performance artist scattering shiny bits of litter (glitter) amongst the smog that crawls between hills in our (soon-to-be) silvery city.   
She twists and flips in the acrobatic trio ThaCrowBats, and she has performed in several independent musicals, plays, and festivals throughout Pittsburgh as an actor, dancer, acrobat, clown, singer, or some combination thereof.  She wrote and directed the musical play Teleportaterz!  With co-teacher Stephanie Dax she has written and toured cross-country with the acrobatic musicals Play Angel and Catacky: CatAckTrophy.

In addition to workshopping partner acrobatics with kids and adults at The Children's Museum and the Pittsburgh Maker Faire, Sara has taught acro-yoga at Bend Yoga and has helped daycampers at Hidden Villa Organic Farm and Summer Camp find their inner clowns (and their water bottles).




Best known by hundreds of kids all over the country as a teacher and performer, Stephanie Dax has taught subjects ranging from the habitats of fisher cats to how to best create a dress out of raspberries, an umbrella and cow poop. 

Stephanie acquired her education and experience through various fields of work and school including film production at New York University, wood reclamation and furniture construction with The Old Wood Co., education, construction, and creative performance with the Student Conservation Association, and general fun and exploration with Hidden Villa Summer Camp.  She continues her education as an active teacher with the Homeless Children's Education Fund, working hard to ignite the imagination and wisdom in the Pittsburgh region's youth.

As well as being a creative partner to Sara LaBuff and the aforementioned plays and the acrobatic feats and workshops of ThaCrowBats, Stephanie is a persistent builder of props, creatures, and muscle and she working on tackling stilt walking and lifting a 200 pound person with her feet. 

Jessica Savitz is a Pittsburgh born and raised artist. She is thrilled to be teaching at Mariposa! Jessica has a BFA in theatre performance from Ohio University. She is a theatre instructor and director at the Center for Theatre Arts in Mount Lebanon, the Pathfinder School, Propel Schools, and Gemini Children’s Theater. Besides teaching,
Jessica has a huge passion for directing. Recently, she directed Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day at Stage 62, The Wedding Singer at Greensburg Civic Theatre, and Beauty and the Beast at South Park Children’s Theatre.
Jessica enjoys seeing her students grow as young confident artists!

THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES