About Us

Phoenix Youth Theatre and Voice Academy is dedicated to providing an opportunity for young performers to develop their talents and love for the performing arts within a supportive, challenging, and inspiring environment. Catering to all levels of experience and nurturing the potential of each student, PYTVA offers a high-quality arts education through classes, camps and live theater performances. Through our supportive community, participants build a solid foundation of confidence in their abilities and develop personal skills that translate to success in school and life, all while forming life-long friendships and memories.

Jacqueline Dunford

Director

Jacqueline is the Owner and Artistic Director of Phoenix Youth Theatre. She is the Artistic Director of all of PYT's shows and is a Master Voice Academy Coach. She is also a proud board member of the International Singing Professionals network: Vocology in Practice.

She specializes in early childhood education, contemporary artist development, and Musical Theatre. Jacqueline’s unique skill set and versatility have come from her vast teaching background, which includes:

Early Childhood Music Education:
Kindermusik Qualified Instructor leading parent and infant/toddler music classes
Music and Movement Specialist at Chanen Preschool and New Way of Learning Academy (5yrs) teaching group classes from ages 1 to 6

Contemporary Artist Development:
Creator of ‘Rock the Mic’ Artist Development Program
Featured artist and Hollywood finalist on American Idol seasons 10 and 11
Performed in bands – jazz, rock and high-end corporate cover bands

Musical Theatre:
Choreographer and Acting Coach
Group Class Instruction toddlers through high school
Workshops on audition skills and how to be a triple threat
Writes and directs productions. Most recently: The Little Mermaid Jr and Willy Wonka Jr. Music Director and curriculum creator at Bender Performing Arts
Creator of Broadway Babies Enrichment Program at Chanen Preschool
Singing awards presented by NATS – (Musical theatre and female classical vocal performance)
Fun fact: Jacqueline’s favorite role at university was playing “Amber” in Hairspray at Phoenix Theatre

Her continued development and thirst for sharing knowledge have led her to become a BAST teaching program graduate.

Jacqueline believes that it is never too early to bring the joy of art and music into a child’s life. Her passion for her craft shines through in a classroom setting as she uses her high-energy personality to make every lesson a creative and enlightening experience for her students. This has led to co-creating the revolutionary children’s development program, Singfinity.

Steve Giles

Director

Steve is owner and Director of Phoenix Voice Academy. He is also a proud board member and authorized coach for Vocology in Practice.

Steve is a writer for iSing Magazine and the Co-founder and co-host of the popular singing podcast on iTunes: The Naked Vocalist. The show offers practical singing advice and delivers interviews with singing professionals from across the world. The podcast is currently being listened to in 90 countries.

Whilst living in the UK, Steve co-founded the following Singing related organizations and business:
Pop Choir Organisation: Love Soul Choir
Singing for Mental Health Organisation – Tempo Wellbeing Ltd

He appeared with celebrity choir-master Gareth Malone on his BBC show ‘The Choir’ and ‘Choir for Heroes.' He worked with Channel 5’s show ‘Don’t Stop Believing.' In his professional singing career, he was most honored to perform for HRH The Prince of Wales at St James Palace. Other performance credits include ITV’s ‘Dancing on Ice’ and ‘Popstar to Operastar’, Alexander O’Neal, The Drifters, and Lemar.

Steve is also proud to have launched the fundraising organization with his brother – The Body Lounge Foundation - and create the popular charity run 'Race For Men' which has raised approximately £50,000 in funds to help Prostate Cancer sufferers, and raised awareness for the disease.

Voice Academy Team

Dr David Harris

Sight Singing and Theory Specialist

David Harris (DMA), is one half of the sight-singing and theory specialist dream duo at Phoenix Voice Academy.

David specializes in new music, American music, and the intricacies of communication in singing and choral conducting. Living in Los Angeles, David is the co-founder and director of VoiceScienceWorks. Together with his partner, Laurel Irene, he helps vocalists learn to translate difficult voice science into immediately applicable tools.

He is the Director of Music at the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles where he directs the professional ensemble Laude, the Cathedral Choir, and the Commonwealth Community Chorus for children and teens. He is also a founding member of C3LA, The Contemporary Choral Collective of Los Angeles.

In New York, David served as the assistant director to Harold Rosenbaum’s Canticum Novum, conducted the Columbia University Glee Club, sang and conducted in C4: The Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, conducted the Brearley Singers and Chamber Orchestra, built a men’s choir at the Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy and taught middle school boys at the Collegiate School.

David is a voting member in the Pan American Vocal Association, the first professional organization devoted to vocology, and studied with Ingo Titze at the NCVS Summer Vocology Institute in Salt Lake City.

As a composer and arranger, David writes primarily for the voice, often including instrumentation. He is a regular soloist with several ensembles around Los Angeles. Upcoming features include ensemble director of the N.E.O. Festival for new music and conductor for the Exploratorio premiere and conducting Hadyn’s “Creation” for the Great Works on the Great Organs concert. David earned degrees from the University of Alabama, Oklahoma, and Colorado and is published in multiple journals.

Laurel Irene

Sight Singing and Theory Specialist

Laurel Irene (MA), is one half of the sight-singing and theory specialist dream duo at Phoenix Voice Academy.

Los Angeles-based vocal artist and voice researcher, specializes in bringing new compositional works to life with vocal repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Mozart to the wacky, wild, and extreme sounds of the 21st century.

With incredible vocal range, agile flexibility, and intense emotional connection that stretches from playful to unhinged in the span of a page, she draws on her expertise in vocal research to heighten unique timbres, textures, and vocal expressions . Recent features in the Los Angeles area include The Industry/LA Phil New Music Group (John Cage’s Europeras 1 & 2), LACMA Sunday Evening Concerts (Dominick Argento’s Letters from Composers), The Box Gallery (Nice Day for the Races opera premiere), Monday Evening Concerts (Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians), The MARS Festival, Poulenc’s La voix humaine (CSULA), and The First Congregational Church, L.A. (G.B. Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Faure Requiem). A recent winner of the Beverly Hills National Auditions, she also regularly performs with chamber and vocal music ensembles across Los Angeles.

As an avid voice educator and founder of the educational organization, VoiceScienceWorks, she gives voice workshops at conferences and collegiate settings across the United States and Europe including the Pan-American Vocology Association, American Choral Directors Association, Acoustical Society of America, Harvard University, College of the Holy Cross, California Institute for the Arts, University of California Los Angeles, and Cornish College of the Arts.

Ms. Irene is an alumna of performance programs at the California State University of Los Angeles, USC Thornton School of Music, Oregon State University, New Music on the Point, Cortona New Music Sessions, and the Summer Vocology Institute. Upcoming projects for 2019 include Ragnar Kjartansson’s Biss, a twelve hour loop of Mozart’s final scenes from The Marriage of Figaro (REDCAT Fluxus Festival), and multiple performances at the N.E.O. Festival (Los Angeles).

Theatre and Dance Training Team

Tim Shawyer

Triple Threat Acting Coach

Tim is the Acting Coach for the Phoenix Youth Theatre Triple Threat Training Program.

Tim is a Phoenix native and AriZoni Award winning actor and director who has performed in over 120 plays and musicals across the Valley. He has directed for Arizona Broadway Theatre (It's a Wonderful Life, Madagascar, Junie B. Jones, Charlotte's Web), Mesa Encore Theatre (Big River), Desert Stages Theatre (Rent), and Space 55 (Country Blue Saloon). In 2015, Tim co-founded A/C Theatre Company a resident of The Phoenix Theatre Company specializing in alternative and infrequently produced musicals. At ACTC, Tim directed Murder Ballad, Gunmetal Blues, and co-directed Lizzie. On stage, Tim's performed at Arizona Broadway Theatre (Disney's The Little Mermaid, Funny Girl, Lucky Stiff, Church Basement Ladies, Miracle on 34th Street, It's a Wonderful Life), The Phoenix Theatre Company (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Six Degrees of Separation, The Quiltmaker's Gift), Childsplay (Ferdinand the Bull, Busytown, Honus and Me, Junie B. Jones, A Tale of Two Cities, Click, Clack, Moo), Southwest Shakespeare Company (The Tempest, Richard III, Love's Labour's Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, A Comedy of Errors) and dozens of others! Tim has a B.A. in Theatre from ASU.

We have some core values and they are awesome

In order for you and your child to have the best possible experience at PCA, we invite you to read our core values below. These are things we live by and what makes our ecosystem such a positive one. A place where all feel welcomed and accepted.

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We also have some policies for you to check out

These are the ins-and-outs of how the PCA machine runs. From facility behavior and expectations, to what happens when you have to miss a rehearsal. It’s a good idea for you to give these a read. It’s better when we’re all on the same page and in the know.

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Be a part of a WOW experience

From the kickoff of a show or camp to the final cast party or showcase, we desire to have WOW experiences.  A WOW experience happens when everyone involved engages and brings as much excitement, capability and learning as possible.  Be bold – Be WOW!

Aspire to build genuine and open relationships with great communication

We need each other.  We can’t do this alone.  Share openly, be resilient to learn each other.  Be genuine and be attached to one another.  Your emotion matters.  Caring and being cared for builds great relationships.  Belong to one another.

Be Humble

Ah!  If we are willing to learn, we will listen.  And if we listen, we can hear.  If we hear, we may be humble.  And if we are humble, we can see others.  No one is greater than another regardless of any role.  Be compassionate, see and hear from others.

Be Creative, Adventurous and Open

We are a creative organization, right?  So be open and willing to try and experience new things.  Let your teachers, directors and peers challenge as you strive to be your best.  Each show, each class, each camp is an adventure with others.  Be open to the unexpected!

Embrace belonging to a very creative extended family

Working so closely together always provides opportunities for us to know each other more than we may be comfortable with.  Kind of like TMI – too much information!  Embrace and enjoy your new extended family with all our unique and quirky elements.  Let’s be creative together!  And, this extended family will always be here for you.

Embrace accountability and be wildly responsible

Our shows, camps and classes will only be WOW if we are all accountable.  Hold your teachers, your directors, producers and each other accountable.  Be wildly responsible for yourself.  Be brave.  Always leave a place better than when you arrived.

Be supportive, passionate and determined learners

We will have hiccups and issues.  What organization doesn’t?  We aren’t perfect and we may fail.  Be supportive, be passionate, be determined to push through with each other.  Pursue learning and WOW will happen.

Do More with Less

We always have limited budgets and time.  Be creative, bring all ideas and share openly.  You never know where a great idea will come from!  Let’s be great stewards of our resources and focused on the outcome.

Initiate, embrace and Inspire others

We aspire to be ‘for’ each other.  We cheer and support one another.  Be patient with each other.  Always!  Initiate to know one another, embrace to become connected, inspire to breed growth.  See others, be hospitable and be ‘for’ each other.