The mission of SHINE is to share God’s love through the performing arts.
SHINE is a family-friendly, faith-based performing arts studio for kids and teenagers to hone their skills in singing, acting, and dancing. We offer classes, musical productions, summer camps, and other special events.
“Let your light SHINE before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Claire Stewart McNeill, Executive Director
Claire is a native of Rockwall, Texas and earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX and a Master of Divinity degree at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. From an early age, Claire became interested in the intersection of faith and the arts. After graduation, she pursued children’s arts ministry in churches before opening her performing arts studio, Shine. At Shine, children and teenagers have an opportunity to pursue the performing arts in a family-friendly, faith-based atmosphere.
As a performer, Claire’s favorite role was Daisy Maxwell in the regional premiere of Jody Madaras’ “All Hands On Deck.” It was in this show that Claire fell in love with the music and USO tours of the 1940s. Other favorite theatre credits include “Anything Goes,” “Joseph…Dreamcoat,” “Godspell,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” and “Snow White.”
As a director, Claire has directed and produced many children’s musicals around the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Favorite directing credits include “Into the Woods,” “Cinderella,” “School House Rock,” and “Godspell.”
Claire lives in Plano, TX with her husband, Matt, and their beagle, Winston. She is a proud member of the Company at Repertory Company Theatre. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering in the kids ministry at church.
Gina Sullivan, Office Manager
Gina Sullivan is a native Texan who has lived in Plano most of her life. She earned a BS in Health Education from Texas A&M University and a BS in Physical Therapy from UT Southwestern Medical Center. She has spent the last 14 years homeschooling her five amazing children, planting seeds that God continues to sow. Gina’s passion for education and ministry led her to developing and implementing elementary age mini retreats and bible study camps, and leading adult seminars at church. She performed in her family’s music ministry as the drummer for two years playing at local churches and civic events. Her experience with theatre includes assisting backstage during youth productions for four years at Henderson County Performing Arts Center in Athens, TX. Gina treasures the opportunity to see kids shine on and offstage and is thankful to be a part of the Shine family.
Julie Gerard, Teaching Artist
Julie hails from New Orleans, Louisiana. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theater from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Julie has been involved in theater since a very young age. She has performed in and directed numerous plays. Some of her favorites include Sound of Music, Into The Woods, Annie and Seussical. Julie has taught theater to young children for over 20 years. She taught and performed at Flower Mound Performing Arts Theater and currently teaches and helps direct shows at White’s Chapel Fine Arts Academy in Southlake. Julie works in the Keller Independent School District as a teacher for students with special needs. Julie lives in Keller with her husband Barry and two daughters; Skyler and Lainey. In her spare time, she enjoys playing soccer and snow skiing.
Rachael Coad, Teaching Artist
Rachael has been dancing around her house and in the studio since she was two years old. During her high school years she trained at the Virginia School of the Arts. She received her BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance, with Honors, from Texas Christian University (May 2011), where she was a TCU Nordan Fine Arts Scholarship holder. Since graduating TCU, Rachael has found great joy in teaching at various places throughout the metroplex. She is in her fifth year teaching for the Texas Ballet Theater, and is also a new mom of a 6-month-old baby girl. She is thrilled to be joining the Shine family and looking forward to all the fun God has for us!
Clayton Sackett, Teaching Artist
Clayton lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma for the majority of his life before moving to Allen, TX in 2014. He graduated with his degree in Musical Theatre Performance from KD Conservatory of Film and Dramatic Arts and started teaching a year after. He’s extremely excited to be at Shine and teach each student about the joys and depths of performing. He’s been heavily involved with the DFW theatre community since moving here. Some of his favorite roles have been: Tony (West Side Story), Billy Bigelow (Carousel), The Beast (Beauty and the Beast), Willy Wonka (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), Cinderella’s Prince (Into The Woods).
Melissa Couture, Voice Instructor
Melissa is a native of Dallas Texas and has a BFA from the University of Oklahoma and a Masters from TWU. She spent 12 years in NYC pursuing Musical Theater where she was seen in the Off Broadway hit Schoolhouse Rock Live! as well as The It Girl. She toured with The Swiss Family Robinson, sang and danced on The M.S. Maasdam cruise ship and was a magician’s assistant in a Harry Potter musical in Seoul, South Korea! Favorite roles include Gingie in Shrek, Lexie Richards in The Dixie Swim Club, Belinda in Noises Off, Caroline Bingley in Pride and Prejudice, and Edith Potter in The Women. Melissa loves teaching theater, piano, voice and tap dancing to children of all ages.
Devon Kersten, Teacher
Devon Kersten was born in Dallas, and has a BA from the University of Oklahoma and a BA from the University of Hertfordshire in England. She’s so excited to join the Shine team, teaching young performers about the joys of theater! Devon will also be hosting the monthly Friday Fun Nights – stay tuned for more details on those! Favorite roles include Oliver Twist in Oliver!, Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, and Florinda in Into the Woods. Devon is excited to teach the Shine kids! She lives in Carrollton with her awesome husband Paul.