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Theatre Faculty - 2016

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Derek L. CookDerek L. Cook is a SAG-eligible character actor with a penchant of playing strong character types. He has been cast in roles from redneck heavies (thanks, in part, to his Kentucky heritage) in independent films such as "Don't Worry, We'll Be Fine", "Ronan", and "Candie's Harem" to a prosecuting attorney ("Inventing Karma") and even a CEO of a global corporation ("Bravo 1"). Derek has been described by his peers as a chameleon as he tends to change his looks to serve the characters that he plays. He enjoys playing against type and is always developing new character traits in order to bring many diverse characters to life.

A large part of Derek's training in character development has come from his improv training at The Second City Training Center in Chicago and The Comedy Shrine where he has worked with some of Chicagoland's best improvisers such as Michael Gellman, Mark Czoske, Bill Russell, Dave Sinker, Matthew Mages, and Tim O'Malley. Derek has also studied with Maureen Cashin Bolog (Actor's Craft studio - Kenosha, WI) for script analysis using Ivana Chubbuck's technique.

Derek's most recent work includes being cast in Notebook Entertainment's web-series "The Deadersons" where he portrays David Deaderson, a hard-working, dedicated family man trying to balance the pressures of life and family issues. Oh, and did I mention that he and his family are zombies living "normal" lives after the apocalypse?!? The pilot episode for this fun and campy dark comedy can be seen here. In addition to this and other indie film projects, Derek keeps his improv skills sharp by performing in the Family Show at the Comedy Shrine and participates in long-form jams when they arise.

Aside from acting, Derek also enjoys reading (biographies and auto-biographies are his favorite), learning the guitar and bass guitar, working with accents and learning languages (currently trying to learn German), and watching movies and TV. He also enjoys traveling, but doesn't do it as much as he would like. Someday, he hopes to visit Japan, Germany, and Australia. He is looking forward to the next big leap in his career and dreams of working on a Quentin Tarantino movie someday. So Mr. Tarantino, if you're reading this, contact me! I'm ready to go!
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sharronSharon DiAnne’s mission is to bring healing to folks through laughter, hope, information and forgiveness. Sharon DiAnne is a great speaker, actress, writer and photographer. For over 30 years she has lectured in front of crowds, worked stage crew, props and costumes, taught choreography, traveled the U.S. to sing in a Rock Band, acted in community stage plays, and most recently been Sharing Sound Stories in the studio as a voice-over artist.  When she speaks to people, she builds rapport and transmits her “you’re ok” vibe to everyone in the room. She has a degree in Christian Counseling and spent thousands of hours coaching individuals and facilitating small groups. Your experience with Sharon DiAnne will have some funny moments, some tender moments, and possibly an unexpected truth or two will float to the surface of your heart.


Tracy FlemmingTracy "Flo-Real" Linyard-Fleming is a ceo, lyrical artist, and advocate for hurting women. She graduated from St. Paul Elementary School in 1984 and went on to graduate from Walther Lutheran High School in 1988. For the past 13 years, Tracy has been writing poetry and stage plays to help bring healing to people within the community; specifically women. Realizing that it wasn’t enough to just write, Tracy knew that she had to share her life’s joys and struggles in order to reach a larger audience of women and to become completely free of her past that was trying to hold her down. As such, Tracy began her lyrical journey in 2008 as she performed her written poetry throughout the Chicagoland area at venues like Bolingbrook Joyfest, Speak Life Project Chicago #2, and Hot Sauce Poetry.

She has authored two books entitled, "Out of the Abundance of the Heart", Volumes 1 and 2. Tracy is an instructor for Sister to Sista Women’s Bible Study and ministry lead of Heart Matters Women’s Life Groups at Living Water Community Church in Bolingbrook, Illinois; where she joined in 2006; and a facilitator of hope for Seed of Hope Foundation; a nonprofit that offers life skill and leadership development for teen girls and young women. Most recently, in April 2014, Tracy became Founder & CEO of Heart Matters International Ministries; to expand her ministry of providing hope and healing to hurting women across the country.

In her pastime, Tracy enjoys bowling and spending time with those closest to her. She is a mother of four beautiful children; David, Rei-Jeen, Elijah and Trinity and grandmother of two; E’meree and Jaliyah.
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Debbie KowalskiDeborah Lee Kowalski is an actress who has toured throughout USA, Canada and Central America. She has directed numerous plays and worked with different theater companies from Kidz to Adults. Currently she is doing Dinner Theater in the Chicago-land area.





Howi TillerHowi Tiller is founder of, “The Word Alive Christian Drama Ministries”. For over 30 years he has written, directed, produced and acted in Christian drama from coast to coast. He has also taught and ministered in conferences across the U.S., Canada, the Philippines and Australia. In the last 10 years, Howi has taught over 10,000 teens in the Christian drama ministry. Howi is a master in communicating what he calls, "Serious Comedy." Howi believes that comedy is often times the bridge over troubled waters that travels to the heart and soul of the hearer. He also believes that it is part of our mission to see Christian drama used as an anointed tool for end-time evangelism.
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