Harriton Theater Coaches
Harriton Theater coaches are drawn from Philadelphia’s theater community and provide coaching for performance, technical and business aspects of theater.
Neill Hartley: Director
Harriton Theater coach Neill Hartley is professional actor, director and educator. He has principal roles in The Sixth Sense, First Freedom (PBS documentary) and in three seasons of Netflix House of Cards. Neill was seen on QVC as a spokesperson for two national companies, and he works regularly in industrial, voice-overs and commercials.
Neill has acted with many regional theaters including Arden, InterAct and the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival. He shared a “Best Ensemble” Philadelphia Barrymore Award for Batboy, The Musical for 1812 Productions. Neill is the artistic director of Acting Without Boundaries, a theater company for performers with physical disabilities. In addition to AWB, he has directed for University of the Arts, University of Pennsylvania, Arcadia University, Ursinus College, Luna Theater, Isis Productions, and New City Stage Company. Neill has directed the Working, How to Succeed in Business, Museum and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown for Harriton High School.
Neill is an assistant professor of theater at The University of the Arts, and he holds an MFA in Acting from Temple University.
Learn more about Neill here.
Carl Smith: Technical Director
Marissa Kennedy: Assistant Technical Director
Marissa Kennedy is thrilled to be the Assistant Technical Director in her first year at Harriton Theater Company. She teaches acting and playwriting in the Philadelphia Area. As a performer, her most recent credits include her 2019 Philadelphia Fringe Show: Out of the Shadows at Villanova University’s Last Seen. She has a BA in English from Oberlin College and an MA in Theatre from Villanova University.
Frances Shehadi: Costumes Assistant
This is Frances Shehadi’s first year being the Costumes Assistant for Harriton Theater Company. Frances currently teaches Fashion and Clothing Design at Upper Darby High School. She has been threading needles since she was five years old. Frances has a long history of costume designing for special events (i.e. her children’s Halloween costumes).
Kat Bowman: Musical Director
Kat Bowman began working with HTC in 2011 during the company’s production of Once on this Island. Since then, Kat has been the musical director for thirteen shows with HTC. She is a trained vocal coach who works with the singers in the cast as well the pit during the musical productions. She received her Master’s Degree in vocal coaching from Temple University’s School of Music. She is also a theater coach at University of the Arts, where she teaches the school’s opera course. She has especially enjoyed being part of the plays, which do not usually have musical components. Working with the talents of the students here at Harriton, Kat has had the opportunity to create musical scores for the Sherlock Holmes and Shakespeare productions. She is most grateful to all the students at Harriton for their passion and their curiosity, and she hopes that they will all continue their talents to bring joy to their community.
Harriton Theater Company’s production of Peter and the Starcatcher was Kat’s last show with HTC.
MeLinda Tatum Kaiser: Choreographer
MeLinda Tatum Kaiser has worked as an independent choreographer, director and educator in theatre and dance environments for more than 30 years at the university, secondary and elementary levels. From 2009-2016 she lived in Shanghai, China, teaching at an international secondary school and choreographing for area HS and MS musicals there. MeLinda is currently teaching Arts Integration at Eastern University in St. Davids, PA and directing/choreographing for everybody’s theater company (ETC) in Upper Dublin, Harriton, and Temple Sinai in Dresher.
Harriton High School Faculty
Harriton High School faculty are a key advocates for the arts in school, student run arts organizations such as Harriton Theater and coaches like the Harriton Theater coaches.
Scott Weinstein, Principal
Scott Weinstein joined the Harriton High School team in 2016 as the Principal. Prior to that, he served as the Principal of Gladwyne Elementary School, was an Assistant Principal at both Bala Cynwyd and Welsh Valley Middle Schools in Lower Merion School District. He also served 20 years as an educator in the School District of Cheltenham Township, mostly as an administrator at Cheltenham High School.
During his time at Cheltenham High School, besides being a teacher, department chair and Assistant Principal, Weinstein developed a leadership program. The program consisted of a leadership course that he taught as well as biannual student leadership conferences that focused on student leadership development and enhancing student voice.
Weinstein holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. He earned his Master’s Degree in Education and principal certification from St. Joseph’s University.
Weinstein is honored to serve as Principal in one of the nation’s finest public high schools and is committed to cultivating an inclusive and world class school community.
He also enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters, connecting with friends, and staying active with his alma mater by serving as a member of the VCU Men’s Basketball Board.
Tom Ferguson, Athletic and Activities Director
Tom Ferguson became a member of the Harriton staff as the Athletic and Activities director during the 2002 school year. Prior to this role he spent seven years as a fifth grade teacher, first at Penn Valley Elementary, and then moved to Belmont Hills Elementary when it was reopened in 1998. During his time as a classroom teacher he also ran the stock club, intramural activities, and coached football, wrestling, and lacrosse at Welsh Valley Middle School. He has enjoyed being a part of the Lower Merion community at every level.
His educational degrees come from West Chester University, where he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education, and St. Joseph’s University where he earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership as well as a Principal’s certification K-12 and Supervisory certification K-12. In 2009 he became a certified Athletic Administrator and has been a member of PSADA (Pennsylvania State Athletic Director’s Association) since his tenure began at Harriton. He is currently the PIAA District 1 Boys’ Lacrosse Chairman, and served as the Central League President for 2010 school year.
In his off time, he enjoys golfing, attending sporting events and spending time with his wife Nancy, and children Ryan and Lauren.