Act One Youth Theater was founded by Lauri Hunter (Mershon) on Jan 2, 2014. Its purpose was to allow children from all income levels to particpate in live theater. She believes that live theater is very instrumental to building a well rounded individual.

Participation in theater teaches young people to be creative thinkers, team players and confident public speakers. They will carry these life skills forward and become very successful in their adult life.

We are actively seeking board members for our 2018-2019 Season. You do not need the parent of an existing actor to volunteer. Only posess a desire to make a change in children's lives.

Current Board Members:

Lauri Hunter (Mershon), Founding member and President, is originally from North Dakota, and transferred to ASU in 1996 to defrost. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University where she received her Bachelors degree. In the past, she has served as the marketing chair for Entrepreneurial Mothers Association (EMA) and a board member for a local children's theater. She has also been involved with several committees to help raise money for charities in the community including United Way and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She enjoys cooking for and spending time with her family.

Ryan Neilsen, Vice President, Environmental Compliance Engineer. Ryan Nielsen is a member of the Act One Youth Theater board since the beginning. His background in directing environmental projects and working with budgets will lend well to the developing board. He is married and has one daughter in middle school and the other in elementary school.

Ed Balli, Treasurer, is the founding member of Majestic Insurance. Bio to follow.

Lisa Leathers-Cox, is a native Arizonan and has served as Board Member, Chairperson, and Task Force Facilitator for various groups/organization throughout the Valley.
As an experienced business development/marketer with a background in broadcasting, media relations and strategic partnerships, she has been involved in the construction/development industry since the mid 90's.

Mary Ellen Rosinski Almost a native Mary Ellen Rosinski has lived in Phoenix for most of her life, going to Chaparral High School and graduating from ASU with a major in Accounting and a minor in business. She continued on to received her CPA and then went to worked for Arthur Young Accounting Firm in both the audit and tax department, were she specialized in working with banks. She has a lovely talented 11 year old daughter which attends the Arizona School for the Arts. She is an avid skier, scuba diver and hiker. She is currently Treasurer of the International Reciprocal Trade Association which is the barter industries association which educates new exchanges on how to run and operated a quality barter exchange. She is the co-founder of Tradesource Trade Exchange the oldest most respected barter exchange in the valley which was founded in 1987 and has bartered over $200 million dollars in the phoenix market.

Michelle Ganz, is an attorney and represent employers in employment-related matters, including contract drafting and negotiations, live training, handbook and policy drafting, and counseling on all types of employment issues
She has served on non-profit boards in the past and found it to be an incredibly enriching experience. Having been exposed to other children's theaters in town, she also particularly admires the philosophy of this theater. It truly provides opportunities to those who might not otherwise have them. It has been so fun to see the talent in the theater grow and prosper.
She has two daughters, Ava (10) and Eliana (8), who have participated in many shows at AYOT. The theater has given them a wonderful chance to develop as stage actors, but also in other areas.
She is pleased to be a part of AYOT's future; to assist in maintaining the good work it already does and help meet its strategic goals for growth, while maintaining its uniqueness - a place where kids learn and have fun, parents pitch in, and the community around it is enhanced.

Claire Haines, Originally from Maine, moved to Phoenix 25 years ago to enjoy the beautiful weather. She has a degree in microbiology from the University of Maine. She is vice chair of the Ennis Committee with Phoenix Sister Cities. She has been caring for children in her home for the past 16 years. She is married and has 3 children. She has witnessed the benefits of youth theater building invaluable life skills preparing a child to become confident and take on challenges.