Artistic Director

Amy Love

Amy Love is a professionally trained theater director, originally from New York (MFA Directing for the Theater), with a career in film and television production in LA. She has taught and directed in local schools (MCS, SBMS) since 2007, and has directed in theaters in New York, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara (Stella Adler Theater, Ensemble Theater Company). She and her husband own a television post production company in Los Angeles, and live in the Santa Barbara foothills with their two teenagers.  “My first love is for the stage, where I found deep belonging and a thrilling way to express myself as an awkward teen. Over the years I have seen beautiful transformations with my students, and I am excited to help young actors develop professional acting and performance skills in a positive and nurturing environment.”

Faculty + Admin

Meredith Cabaniss-Ventura

Dance and Choreography Director

Meredith Cabaniss-Ventura is a multi-creative artist based in southern California. She holds a BFA in Dance from UC Santa Barbara and an MFA in Dance from Hollins University in coordination with the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and The Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company (formerly the Forsythe Company). As the founder and artistic director of Selah Dance Collective, Ms. Cabaniss-Ventura has produced and presented works throughout the United States as well as abroad in Europe and Asia, most recently in Estonia, Finland, Spain, and Italy. She continues to travel and advocate for the arts both nationally and internationally as a dance educator and choreographer.

Jezreel Real

Music Director

Jezreel Real is a local musician who is excited to work with the actors this season. He graduated with a degree in Music Theory & Composition from Westmont College in 2018, and has since been working in town as a collaborative pianist for colleges, schools, churches, and community choirs. He has extensive experience in playing in musical and opera pit orchestras, including local productions of “Dido and Aeneas”, “Die Fledermaus”, “Big Fish”, “Hello, My Baby”, “James and the Giant Peach”, and “Into the Woods”. When he isn’t accompanying singers, Jezreel teaches piano lessons and performs in the city college jazz big bands, as well as his jazz quartet, “The Dumpster Cats”.

Heather Harkness

Assistant Director

Having performed in California and Mexico, Heather continues to perform improv monthly in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. A production consultant for Santa Barbara Middle School and theatre director for Vista de Las Cruces School, Heather brings enthusiastic passion and almost a decade of experience to the creative team at Lights Up!

Denice Dir

Costume Designer

Denice is is currently the Apparel Design Director at Carbon2Cobalt in Santa Barbara, having previously been a Technical and Creative Designer / Clothing Brand Builder for over a decade.  She has worked broadly in costuming for theatre/film but has found her true love in youth theatre, creating costumes and experiences for the talented youth of this community.

Nanci Pfarr

Company Manager

Nanci studied musical theater at Indiana University.  After college, she sailed the South Pacific with her husband and had their daughter, Abigail in Hawaii.  Nanci is now pursuing a degree in Psychology while living her theater dream vicariously through Abigail who is a member of the company. She is very excited to tap back into her theater roots and feels lucky and privileged to be working with Lights Up!

Agatha Carubia

Voice Coach

An award-winning soprano from the Juilliard School, Agatha Carubia is widely known as a versatile voice teacher and mentor to other teachers. Her students have been accepted into the Juilliard School, Berklee College of Music, UCLA, NYU, and many others. Her “Heart-based Singing” workshops are held in Santa Barbara and on the Big Island in Hawaii.

Jackson Gillies

Voice Coach

Winner of Teen Star, Musical Director for Teen Sing for Santa Barbara, and a musical force of nature all unto himself, Jackson Gillies is much beloved among the musical community of teens and adults here in Santa Barbara. His energy is contagious and his joy for sharing his talents inspires those around him to find their best selves in their music and in their soul.

Elena Adcock

Assistant Arts Administrator

Elena Adcock is an actor, producer and teacher working in Los Angeles and New York City. She is a graduate of the UCSB Theater department and is classically trained in voice, music, and acting; in her spare time she plays the violin, guitar and mandolin. She is passionate about working creatively with children and young adults in order to expand their minds and challenge their limitations. As someone who benefitted from early and ongoing exposure to the arts, she hopes to bring that same joy and passion to the wonderful community of LightsUp!

Brendan Spieth

Creative Consultant

Brendan is a Professor of Clown at Montclair State University 2018-2019. Teaching artist for ASTEP in NYC and Homestead, FL. Movement projects include: Sound House (New Georges), I Feel Love (Brooklyn Sanctuary and Republic Records), Incoming! Black is Beautiful, but it Ain’t Always Pretty (Under the Radar), Bazarov (The Representatives), Peer@Me (NYU Graduate), The Humans are in Trouble (NYU Graduate). Assistant Choreographer on Balm in Gilead (Industry City). Graduate of Juilliard Drama.


Amy Love

Artistic Director

Jen Gamble


Jenna Berg


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