Keynote Speakers

Day 1 Morning Keynote: Carmen Deedy: The End of the Story

Join award-winning children's author, Carmen Agra Deedy as she shares rousing tales of her own families' life experiences and how the most unlikely of teachers coupled with a series of seemingly small events, made an enormous impact in shaping generations of lifelong learners.

Carmen Deedy

Carmen Agra Deedy is the author of eleven books for children, including The Library Dragon, The Cheshire Cheese Cat, Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, and 14 Cows for America, a New York Times Best-seller. Her personal stories first appeared on NPR's All Things Considered; funny, insightful, and frequently irreverent, Deedy's narratives are culled from her childhood as a Cuban refugee in the all-but-sleepy Southern town of Decatur, Georgia. She is also host of the four time Emmy-winning children's program, Love That Book!

An award-winning author and storyteller, Ms. Deedy is also an accomplished lecturer, having been a guest speaker for both the TED and TEDx Conferences, the Library of Congress, Columbia University, The National Book Festival, Kennedy Center, among other distinguished venues. In the fall of 2016, she opened the Art of the Book Lecture Series, for the Smithsonian Libraries, and was a keynote speaker at the Association of International Baccalaureate Schools of Costa Rica Conference.

A new picture book, The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! (Scholastic Press) was released earlier this year and Carmen is working on a trio of new books to be published in 2018 and 2019.


Day 1 Afternoon Keynote: Plan-B Theatre's RIVER.SWAMP.CAVE.MOUNTAIN.

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Five-year-old JJ (who has lots of questions) and eight-year-old Izzy (a know-it-all who doesn't know it all) are siblings who have recently lost their grandmother. They embark on a funny and touching hero's journey to try to make sense of loss, grief, death and life.

Created specifically for grades K-3, RIVER.SWAMP.CAVE.MOUNTAIN. played 46 performances in 10 different counties in five weeks, reaching a total audience of 7,788. In addition to performing for Repertory Dance Theatre's "Ring Around the Rose" series, we visited 31 schools, nine libraries, a shelter, a center for people with disabilities and The Sharing Place. We provided more than 2,700 students their first experience with live theatre.

Elaine Jarvik

Education Coordinator/Stage Manager Sharah Meservy is Plan-B Theatre Company's Education Coordinator. While a student at BYU, she was involved with multiple plays for young audiences: ESPERANZA RISING (as a cast member), GO, DOG, GO! (as assistant costume designer) and THE GIVER (as costume designer). Sharah loves working with students and has previously worked as an English teacher in China, an elementary school paraprofessional and a Girl Scout camp counselor.

Cheryl Cluff

Director Cheryl Cluff co-founded Plan-B Theatre Company in 1991, has been Managing Director since 1995, and has directed every episode of RADIO HOUR, as well as MESA VERDE, THE SCARLET LETTER, SUFFRAGE, 3, CHRISTMAS WITH MISFITS, BASED ON A TRUE STORY and the past two Free Elementary School Tours: RIVER.SWAMP.CAVE.MOUNTAIN. and THE EDIBLE COMPLEX. Cheryl has also designed sound for nearly every Plan-B production since 2001.

Sharah Meservy

Education Coordinator/Stage Manager Sharah Meservy is Plan-B Theatre Company's Education Coordinator. While a student at BYU, she was involved with multiple plays for young audiences: ESPERANZA RISING (as a cast member), GO, DOG, GO! (as assistant costume designer) and THE GIVER (as costume designer). Sharah loves working with students and has previously worked as an English teacher in China, an elementary school paraprofessional and a Girl Scout camp counselor.

Ashley Marian Ramos

Ashley Marian Ramos (Izzy) is a senior in the Actor Training Program at the University of Utah and is pursuing a music minor in Vocal Performance. Recent credits include HØÜSES (Riot Act), WIT (Wasatch Theatre Company), I MARRIED A TIGRESS, APT. 404, RESIDUE and NUMB & AWAKE (Who's Louis?), THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN, SELF DEFENSE, OR THE DEATH OF SOME SALESMEN and THREE SISTERS (University of Utah) and workshopped the new plays A REQUIEM FOR AUGUST MOON (Pioneer Theatre Company's Play-By-Play Series) and LAND OF NO MERCY (Salt Lake Acting Company).

Benjamin Young

Benjamin Young (JJ) is a junior in the University of Utah's Actor Training Program. Previous credits include CLIMBING WITH TIGERS (Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory/Salt Lake Acting Company), KING CHARLES III (Pioneer Theatre Company) and the Script-In-Hand Series reading of THE ART OF FLOATING (Plan-B Theatre Company). He is grateful to be a part of this year's Free Elementary School Tour.

Aaron Swenson

Aaron Swenson (Costumes/Artwork) has previously designed Plan-B's 2012 revival of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, BOOKSMART, ONE BIG UNION and last year's Free Elementary School Tour of THE EDIBLE COMPLEX. Other designs include THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW and TWO DOLLAR BILL (PTC), GEOGRAPHY CLUB and AVENUE Q (UofU), ASSASSINS, tick..tick, BOOM! and THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL (Dark Horse) and YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN and TWELFTH NIGHT (Salt Lake Shakespeare). After eight seasons as Head of Wardrobe and Crafts at PTC, Aaron is now Wardrobe Supervisor on "Andi Mack" for the Disney Channel. Acting credits include three productions of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (Plan-B) and BUYER & CELLAR (PYGmalion).


Day 2 Keynote: Enrique Feldman: Music Reimagined

You'll experience how music can be used to ignite our sense of curiosity, movement and how it can help create a literate brain! You'll also be taken on a journey with music, storytelling and inspiration. Buckle up for this high energy and poignant keynote!

Enrique Feldman

Enrique is an Artist and Educator who’s influence is worldwide. His highlights include: *Founder and Director of Education, Global Learning Foundation *Co-Author of the children’s book series “Sam the Ant” *Creator, iBG, Intellectual Brainwave Games *Senior Facilitator for Arts Integration Solutions *Author of “Living Like a Child” *Co-Producer and Performing Artist for theatrical show “The Inner Journey” *2-Time Grammy Nominated Composer and Artist Founded in 2000 with his mentor Dr. Carroll Rinehart, the Global Learning Foundation (GLF), formerly the F.A.M.E. Foundation, is focused on changing the paradigm from education to learning, with an emphasis on creating autonomous learners and using artistic approaches to engage the learner. Having served over 120,000 children and families, it has acted locally and thought globally from it’s inception. A thought leader in artistic, creative and innovative professional development, Enrique’s initiatives have been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, with it’s main focus on early childhood education. Enrique has presented numerous keynotes and workshops for organizations; from national entities such as ILA, NAEYC and NAFCC, many state and regional organizations such as NCAEYC, NYSAEYC, and thousands of local workshops for fathers, parents, and communities. Together with a team of world class educators and artists, and their partner organizations, Enrique fosters sustainable, organic and research-based learning models which develop the potential of the learner with the intent of revealing purpose. As an artist, Enrique is a film composer, pianist and producer. He is an active performing artist on piano and vocals and sings with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Chorus. He is a former professor of music and education at the University of Arizona and the University of Wisconsin. His journey in life is interwoven with his wife and concert pianist Marie Sierra, their 19 year old son Nick, and their 23 year old daughter, Sam.