Devon Yates (Artistic/Executive Director) is the co-founder and the Executive/Artistic Director of Theatre 360. An accomplished vocalist, actress and dancer, she has been performing professionally since age nine. As an actress and vocalist she has performed numerous roles in musical theatre plays, has been a guest singer with the San Diego Repertory Theatre and the Alex Theatre, and has been a featured singer touring Europe with the San Diego Jazz Band. Some of her favorite roles have been Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Ruby in Dames at Sea, Gladys in The Pajama Game, and Sister Mary Leo in Nunsense, where she originated the role as part of the West Coast Premiere. Devon is a two-time nominee for the Kennedy Center’s Irene Ryan Achievement Award in Performing Arts. As a dancer and choreographer, Devon has been working since age sixteen, when she was asked to develop the tap and jazz program for the California Ballet Dance Company, and then continued to choreograph new works for the company. During her education at San Diego State University, she developed a series of master classes for the MFA musical theatre students in dance performance. Devon has also had the opportunity to work with such legendary performers and choreographers as Danny Daniels, Fayard Nicholas, Toni Kaye, George Burns and Milton Berle. Devon has worked as the choreographer on several music videos, as well as Jim Henson’s Animal Jam, and the ABC series Alias. In addition to Devon’s professional work in the community, she continues her artistic endeavors with Theatre 360, having directed and/or choreographed 40 shows in the past 10 years. She is thrilled to have accomplished her goal of creating a valuable children’s program to encourage the love of theatre.
Kelsey O’Keeffe (Voice/Dance Instructor) has been teaching children to sing and dance for over 15 years. Kelsey grew up as a student at Theatre 360 and has since received a B.A. in Theatre with a double minor in Music and Dance from Muhlenberg College. She also studied dance abroad at Accademia dell’Arte in Tuscany, Italy. In addition to teaching, Kelsey has music directed, choreographed, and stage managed over 30 shows in educational and professional theater settings.
Melissa Booey (Acting Instructor) is thrilled to extend into the teaching family here at Theatre 360! Melissa graduated Cum Laude with a BFA in Acting from Cal State Fullerton where she trained in various methods and styles, her favorite being Stanislavsky. She grew up doing anything theatrical she could, from training in opera and performing Shakespeare to coaching Stomp. She also enjoys acting and writing in voiceover and film, but her primary passion is teaching, acting and writing for the stage. Melissa trained as a teacher at Terry Clark’ Summer Stock and Children’s Musical Theatreworks Fresno. She is very excited to pass on her training to the Theatre 360 students.
Christa Backstrom (Outreach Coordinator; Acting Instructor) grew up performing in community theatre near her hometown of Claremont and is a proud alumni of the theatre program at Pepperdine University. She began her career teaching high school theatre and language arts, before taking a break to care for her own children. Most recently, she worked as Educational Programming Coordinator at Sierra Madre Playhouse, where she also served as Production Dramaturg and Lobby Co-Curator.
Kevin Coubal (Acting Instructor) Originally from Sacramento, California, Kevin now calls Los Angeles home after nearly 6 years on the east coast. In his early years, Kevin was a musician instead of an actor, picking up piano at the age of 7 and adding trumpet and guitar to his repertoire over the years as he was influenced by California ska bands such as Sublime and Reel Big Fish. A relative newcomer to acting, he took his first acting class on a dare at the age of 18. But he immediately fell in love upon realizing that playing with swords was way more fun than organic chemistry; he changed majors and never looked back. He earned his BA in Theatre Arts and went on to earn an MFA in Acting from the University of Connecticut under Dale AJ Rose and Vincent Cardinal.
Iris Sharp (Acting/Voice Instructor) attended Pace University in NYC where she earned a B.F.A in Musical Theatre. She stayed in NYC working as an actor for ten years before moving back to Los Angeles in 2021. Iris is a proud former student of Theatre 360, and is thrilled to now be a member of the teaching staff.