The North Valley Arts Academy Theatre program provides students with rigorous academic classes combined with a college-intensive theatre arts emphasis. Accelerated movement, voice, acting, directing, and playwriting courses are offered to motivated students through application and audition.

Students can begin to pursue their interest in theatre at the 5th-grade level at Desert Cove Elementary and continue through the program at Shea Middle School. Courses at the high school level are offered at Shadow Mountain High School.

Current course offerings at Shadow Mountain for 2018-2019 school year:


Performance Track: Movement & Voice for the Actor: This course develops students’ vocal and physical performance skills. Students will learn to use their entire physical instruments in the creation, interpretation, and performance of a character. Skills will be developed through the study of dramatic literature and its historical context. Techniques covered include, but are not limited to Laban, Viewpoints, and Linklater. This is a full year course and may require some after school and weekend projects.

Technical Track – Set Design and Construction: This course will focus on the art of set design. By the end of the course, designers will have created several set designs and will have a basic to intermediate understanding of set construction. Students will gain skills in design sketches and models, drafting, and woodworking. This is a full year course and may require some after school or weekend projects. Completed work will be added to the young designers’ portfolios.


Performance Track – Musical Theatre and Film Acting: This course provides students with the unique technical skills for musical theatre and film.  Young actors will acquire the techniques for creating an engaging musical theatre and film performances through group and solo work. It will also cover the business of a professional actor, including working with agents, unions, and casting directors. This is a full year course and may require some after school and weekend projects.

Technical Track – Costume and Makeup Design: This course will provide students with the opportunity to design and construct costumes. In addition, young designers develop a plethora of makeup application techniques and uses. Students will get the opportunity to learn from professionals around the U.S. This is a full year course and may require some after school and weekend projects.  Completed work will be added to the young designers’ portfolios.


Performance Track – Shakespeare and American Realism: This advanced acting course is an in-depth exploration of acting methods most frequently used by professional actors. In the first semester, actors will learn how to read, interpret, and perform Shakespeare through group and solo acting projects. The second semester is a study of Meisner and Chubbuck’s American realism acting techniques as students work collaboratively with Theatre 8 directors in the public performance of an original show. This is a year-long class and may require some after school or weekend projects.

Technical Track – Lighting and Sound Design and Operation: This course will provide students with the techniques, terminology and technology for both design and operation for lighting, sound, and rigging. This is a year-long class and may require some after school or weekend projects. Completed work will be added to the young designers’ portfolios.

12th-grade capstone courses to begin 2019-2020 school year.

Current course offerings at Shea Middle School:

BEGINNING TO INTERMEDIATE THEATRE: In this course, young actors will be introduced to acting techniques using the methods of both Stanislavski and Boleskavski. Students will focus on characterization and analysis through monologues and scenes. Young actors will also learn about the different types of stages and will have the opportunity to perform in those spaces. They will analyse, interpret, and explore theatre history. Students will also continue their study of playwrighting and learn the basics of stage directing.


Theatre director Joe Flowers is a professional actor, director, and theatre educator. Originally from Prescott, Arizona, he received his undergraduate theatre degree from Arizona State University where he studied acting with Tony Award-winning director Marshal W. Mason. He received his MFA in Acting from Illinois State University where he studied advanced acting, movement, and voice techniques. Joe has appeared onstage in over fifty productions with theatre companies across the country, including two seasons with the acclaimed Illinois Shakespeare Festival in Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, and Comedy of Errors. He has acted with many companies in the Phoenix area, such as Childsplay Theatre Company, Stray Cat Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre, Arizona Jewish Theatre Company, and Theater Works. A longtime talent of the Leighton Agency, Joe has worked in commercials and industrials with clients such as Toyota, Goodwill, AAA, and KSLX.  Film credits include lead roles in A Stray, The Nephila, Rupert’s Ship, and Crossroads of Fate.  He wrote and directed the original television pilot The Drama which won multiple Best TV Pilot and Best Script awards at Moondance International Film Festival, Nevada Film Festival, Las Vegas Independent Film Festival, and the International Family Film Festival. He is a member of SAG/AFTRA.

Theatre director Teresa Minarsich is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Theatre for Youth doctoral program. The American Alliance for Theatre & Education awarded her the 2015 Distinguished Dissertation Award. An educator, scholar, director, theatre artist, and puppeteer she is passionate about creating socially relevant theatre WITH young people. With over two decades of experience creating theatre in a variety of settings with youth from Pre-K to college, Dr. M. believes firmly in the power of theatre to inspire and transform youth as they explore what it means to be human through character and story. She received her BA in Theatre from Seattle University and her Masters in Education from Pepperdine University.


Shadow Mountain High School, Shea Middle School, and Desert Cove Elementary are located in sunny Phoenix, Arizona as a part of the Paradise Valley Unified School District #69.

Shadow Mountain High School
2902 E. Shea Boulevard
Phoenix, AZ 85028

Phone number: (602) 449-3000

School hours: 7:30 AM to 2:10 PM
Office hours: 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM

Shea Middle School
2728 E. Shea Boulevard
Phoenix, AZ 85028

Phone number: (602) 449-3500

School hours: 8:00 AM to 2:40 PM
Office hours: 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM

Desert Cove Elementary School
11020 N. 28th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85028

Phone number: (602) 449-3400

School hours: 8:15 AM to 2:45 PM
Office hours: 7:45 AM to 3:30 PM