Meet the People @ AUTA

Dedicated professionals helping kids be all they can be!

The AUTA was founded by professionals who care about kids. We believe that an understanding of dramatic arts crosses many practical personal development areas, teaching children an appreciation for history, fiction, drama and much more. All of our staff have been involved in drama for many years.

We further conduct complete background and criminal checks on all of our members to ensure the safety of our kids and to provide our parents with a level of confidence in knowing that people working with their kids are credible and trustworthy. 

horizontal break


– Ashley Richards

My father was a small town family doctor who has never turned a patient away for their inability to pay. He believed in the nobility of every profession and that without kindness and compassion, no society can possibly survive.

Following the footsteps of my father, I dream of been able to provide children, regardless of their social-economic status, outstanding education in Theatre Arts. Therefore, I have chosen to establish the’Dr. Philip C. Richards Acting-Through-Life Scholarship Fund’ to provide those families with the necessary financial support in order to give their kids access to our programs and guarantee that no child would ever be turned away.”


Technical Director

– Bryan Blount

Bryan Blount is the technical director, scenic designer, and master carpenter of Acting Up Theater Academy. When not doing technical theater, he is a full-time law student at Florida A&M University, College of Law. He loves providing the biggest and most competitive technical shows, for the kids, so they have something to truly be proud of. Thank you for supporting AUTA, it’s from opportunities like this that children have the ability to find passion at a young age and pursue it as long as their hearts let them. With any technical questions, Bryan can be reached at


Costume Director

– Diana Whaler-White

Diana has been designing and constructing costumes for 30 plus years. She began sewing at age 8 when her aunt (who was the local seamstress) gave her sewing lessons. She is the costumer for the Clermont based Moonlight Players and has designed and costumed nearly all of the Moonlight Players productions over the last 20 years. Diana has also designed and constructed individual costumes pieces for other central Florida theatres and production companies. She keeps her daughter, son-in-law, and 2-year-old grandson, Patrick, costumed for Halloween, Ren Faire, stilt walking, and any other costume needs.

horizontal break


– Nathan

Nathan is a 7-ish year old extremely talented Chinese Crested.

When Nathan is not performing his sensational dance moves on Youtube, local & national TV news and Animal Planet, he is busy working as the ambassador for Bald Is Beautiful Dog Rescue, and as the Mascot for our very own Acting Up Theatre Academy. His favorite color is green, and his favorite saying is Dance Nekkid!

In 2008 Nathan’s owner died, and sadly he was left alone in the home for over a week with all the other dogs! He was moved to several homes over the next few years where no one was either willing or capable of taking care of him for more than a few months at a time. Nathan was homeless in 2011 when he was taken in as a foster by Bald is Beautiful Dog rescue (a non profit organization). His foster mother Tina soon fell in love, and Nathan became a “foster failure” in December 2012. (He knew he’d hit the jackpot)

Nathan loves to perform his dance moves on his signature green chair with his back up buddies looking to todays most popular top 40 tunes, and he is quite the hipster. He has his very own Facebook page with over 20,000 adoring groupies (um… i mean followers) who go ga-ga over his new videos and picture posts. He makes us all smile everyday! To keep up with Nathan and his merry band of bald buddies, or if you would like more information on the Chinese Crested Breed and adoptions, please visit:

AUTA is honoured to have this 4 legged wonder as our mascot, the children love him and he is an inspiration to all no matter what your leg count is.

horizontal break