Proudly sponsored by:

New Mexico Young Actors, Inc., Est. 1979

Our mission is to develop an appreciation of theater in our region through performances of plays and musicals for children by children, and to educate youth and the general public in the theater arts through drama classes and training while building relationships with parents, teachers, schools, and the community.


NMYA trains youth of all ages in the performing arts across a variety of disciplines.


Ages 9 to 19

Students who wish to perform in one of our major theater productions begin by completing the Drama I class. This semester-long class introduces actors to the fundamentals of stage acting and prepares actors for the rigor of our major productions. While many students come to NMYA with prior acting experience, we require completion of Drama I before moving on to Advanced Drama.

Actors in Advanced Drama perform in one or more of our seven annual major productions. All actors enrolled in Advanced Drama each semester are given a role in one of the following shows: 

Fall 2024 productions
  • Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure
  • The Secret Garden
  • a selection from The Bully Plays (for actors 13 and older by August 8)
Spring 2025 productions
  • Willy Wonka, Jr.
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • a selection from The Bully Plays (for actors 13 and older by January 8)



Ages 9 to 19

These classes offer focused instruction in specific areas of the performing arts. If you are looking to get your child started now on their performing arts path, these classes are for you. If your child wishes there could be more rehearsal time for their production, these classes are for you. The 7-week sessions are open enrollment, so your child may begin at any point. If you register your child in the middle of an ongoing session, call our office to arrange a prorated fee. 

Classes offered in the Fall rotation include:

Acting Techniques

Ages 9-18
Students will explore various methods and forms of acting with games and themed activities. Focus is on hands-on exploration of concepts presented. The final class will culminate in a monologue and short performance in class.

Check back in July for the Fall schedule and details


Advanced Improv

Participants will deepen their understanding of improvisational acting on stage through improv games, world building, and team exercises. Emotional realism is employed in acting exercises.

Check back in July for the Fall schedule and details


Storybook Theater 

Theater for the younger crowd.  More information coming soon.


Working with parents is an important part of the success of our program.  Here you will find tuition payment information, and soon, volunteer forms and answers to frequently asked questions.


Tuition for NMYA Drama I is $425 per semester. The fee includes registration and course materials.

Tuition for NMYA Advanced Drama is $475 per semester. The fee includes registration, course materials, a production T-shirt, and any related production expenses.

Tuition for NMYA Theater Classes and Storybook Theater is $140 per 7-week session. The fee includes registration and course materials. 

Tuition Assistance

NMYA offers tuition scholarship assistance to students who are eligible.  Please contact NMYA directly in order to obtain an application.


Productions at NMYA are performed at a large, local theater during the school day or are taken on tour directly to your school. Every semester we offer performances of our musical to over 3000 children from public, private, parochial, and home schools. Additionally, every semester our play is taken on tour to schools throughout the Albuquerque region. We have also taken our tour to Cuba, Grants, and other rural communities throughout the state. We invite you to bring your class to one of our productions or to book our performance troupe at your school. Please note: Our productions are very popular and frequently sell-out. It is advisable to book early!

Please call us directly at 505-821-8055 in order to book your school or class.

Below, find study guides for our upcoming shows in order to enhance your students’ experience and appreciation of the performance.

Study Guides – Spring 2024 productions

A Special Thanks to our Sponsors

Platinum ($5000+)

New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts

The Rocking JT Foundation (Janet M. Thompson, President/CEO)
The Urban Enhancement Trust Fund

Gold ($1000 — $4999)

Cookies by Design (Leslie Arias)
Expense Reduction Analysts
Brian and Emily Fletcher
Robert Milne
David and Connie Mitchie
Mountain View Pediatric Dentistry
Play to Learn, Inc.
Rob and Ege Richardson
411 Equipment

Silver ($500 — $999)

Bank of America Charitable Foundation
Joel and Diane Berger
Patrick Egan
and Stephanie Dhonau
Base 5 Retail (Kino James)
Aric Elsenheimer and Rachel Ribeiro

Bronze ($1 - $499)

Amazon Smile
Linda and Carl Alongi
Lee and Monica Brown
Dennis and Sandra Carlson
Charity Vest, Inc.
Paul and Dawn Christenson
John Craig
Jonathan and Leigh Dean
Dinner Detective (Clearly Confused Entertainment)
Tatiana Evans
Group Raise
Andrew Groves on behalf of Bosque Center of Spiritual Living
Maggie English and Alan Mason
Law Office of Adam Oakey
Rita O’Sullivan
Tim and Sheila O’Sullivan
Mark Selvig
United Way
Analisa Villareal

In-Kind Contributors

Jerilyn Cheney

Patrick and Michelle Garr

Humano Productions

Erik Magee

William McCabe

Roberto and Danelle Gomez

Sonia and Douglas Dunsmore

About Us

Rick Nickerson, Director Emeritus, started New Mexico Young Actors as Nickerson’s Young Actors in 1979.  Mr. Nickerson ran the company for 35 years, producing scores of musicals and plays, including many original works.  He established NMYA as the resident children’s theater company at the historic KiMo Theatre and developed a comprehensive touring program to reach those seldom served by the arts in rural communities throughout the state. 

Since 1979 we have seen thousands of students come through our program.  We have produced over 80 shows and performed for over an estimated 500,000 audience members in the Albuquerque region.  We accept individuals, ages 9–19, into our program and all of our productions feature only children and youth on stage.

Mr. Nickerson retired in 2014 and Paul Bower became Executive Director after having served as resident music director for a decade.  Mr. Bower grew the company to over 100 students and shepherded the organization through the global pandemic of 2020-2021.  After 18 years with NMYA, Mr. Bower resigned in June of 2022.   


  • Rachel Ribeiro
    Rachel Ribeiro Executive Director

    Rachel was named NMYA’s Executive Director in December 2022.  She first started working with NMYA in 2015. She has taught nine semesters of Drama I, spearheading the development of the Drama I curriculum, has directed eight Advanced Drama plays, and in the summer of 2023, founded the inaugural NMYA Summer Shakespeare Fest.   As a classroom teacher, librarian, and theater director, she has been working with children since 2003.  She has taught theater to elementary, middle, and high school students for many years and started the Las Montañas Theater Club in Las Cruces, NM. Under her direction, the club claimed first or second place at the New Mexico Activities Association One Act Play competition for three years in a row (2011-2013). Her lifelong passion for the performing arts was first nurtured as a child with the East Side Players, in Cincinnati, OH, and continued with church, school, and community theater productions.  She has performed comedy improv with The Sweaty-Toothed Madmen (Wenham, MA) and community theater with the No Strings Theatre Company (Las Cruces, NM).  She has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, and a Master’s degree in Teaching English from New Mexico State University. Rachel loves nudging and cajoling the inner spark of every young actor. As Executive Director, her door is always open. The best part of the job, she says, is building relationships with all of our young actors and their families. 

  • Carlos Baca
    Carlos Baca Music Director

    Carlos joined the NMYA team as Musical Director in January of 2023. He has been teaching in New Mexico schools for five years and has been directing music in churches for over a decade. While teaching he has taught almost every kind of music class out there from elementary music to conducting full fledged performances at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and KiMo Theatre. Carlos has taken pride in developing programs of all kind and sometimes tripling their size in just a few years’ time. Carlos studied Music Education at the University of New Mexico (2015-2019). He has wanted to do nothing more than to bring music to life on stage and to have others join him for the journey. Carlos’s mission is to bring unparalleled music education and vocal development within these young actors for many years to come.

  • Michelle Eiland
    Michelle Eiland Choreographer

    Michelle Eiland began training in dance at the age of two at Fishback’s Dance Studio. She is trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, contemporary, hip-hop, Celtic, Latin dance, and character movement. She performs, choreographs, teaches, and assists for many theaters and companies in town. In addition to performing, Michelle loves both teaching and learning and holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Spanish, as well as a Dual License in Special and General Education, K-12. She teaches Spanish to grades 8-12 at The Public Academy for Performing Arts (PAPA).  She also has professional and academic experience with Portuguese and American Sign Language. Michelle is dedicated to accessibility and equity of education. She is a childhood cancer survivor and celebrates diversity through her work. She is honored to have roots in such a deeply devoted arts community here in The Land of Enchantment.

  • Natalie Hadley
    Natalie Hadley Principal Teaching Artist

    An Albuquerque native and lifelong performer, Natalie first joined NMYA when she was eight and is grateful to be back with her home company, sharing the skills and theater etiquette instilled in her by company founder Rick Nickerson. With over 70 productions under her belt before reaching college, Natalie received her BFA in Musical Theatre with an emphasis in Vocal Performance from the Boston Conservatory.  After college, Natalie went on to perform in professional regional productions, gaining her Actors Equity card. Natalie is also certified in “Alexander Technique.” She believes that theater can be the cornerstone for freedom of identity and self expression, and that theater can offer life changing skill sets.  She is looking forward to teaching and directing the next generation of NMYA students. Outside of teaching with our company, Natalie is a stay at home mom, a local performer for many companies, and with her greatest passion being singing, she now teaches private vocal lessons.

  • Christopher Nelson
    Christopher Nelson Shakespeare Fest Co-Director/Set & Lighting Designer

    Chris is a designer and director, having worked in New York City and Los Angeles in theater, film and television. He recently moved to Albuquerque to be closer to his daughter. He has been the Technical Director of the Actor’s Studio in New York City and president of the Company of Angels in Los Angeles, among other things. Chris is excited to be a part of the NMYA community of fantastic artists, and wonderful young performers. He is also a Tai Chi teacher, leading classes in Albuquerque and online. 

  • Aba Ortiz
    Aba Ortiz Costumer

    Aba Ortiz, Costume Designer, is a New Mexico native and has lived in both Albuquerque and Las Vegas, NM. He started sewing when he was five. He would sit next to his mother while she sewed costumes for their family’s annual Christmas show, sister’s dance recitals, or just making clothes for their family. He currently works at Alterations by Kathy, where he continues to learn the art of tailoring and custom alterations. Aba has been designing costumes with NMYA since January of 2023 and is happy to be part of the NMYA family.

  • Carol Mayberry-Sanchez
    Carol Mayberry-Sanchez Rehearsal Accompanist
    Carol’s world has been filled with music – playing by ear and beginning piano lessons at age three.  A Colorado native raised on a dairy farm, she credits her diverse musical tastes to listening to the barn radio as a kid while doing chores and absorbing everything from Hank Williams to Oscar & Hammerstein, with an added dose of classic rock steeped in Beatles, Burt Bacharach and Motown.  She has traveled the country performing in rock, R&B, country, and jazz groups and has taught piano, is a church pianist and in two bands in Albuquerque, has many recording sessions under her belt, and has been a pit orchestra player and musical director of theater productions in Colorado and New Mexico. Her passion and intensity for songwriting remains strong.  She is happy to help as rehearsal accompanist and a band musician for NMYA’s musical productions
  • Hanna Hawson
    Hanna Hawson Drama I Instructor
    Hanna Hawson has been with New Mexico Young Actors since she was 8 years old and has done a total of 12 shows with the company. Her most notable roles include Annie in Annie Jr., Alice in Alice and Wonderland Jr., the Genie in Aladdin Jr., and Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast Jr. In addition to NMYA, Hanna has also had countless community theater as well as professional theater experiences. When she isn’t performing, Hanna enjoys doing art, playing video games, staying active, and spending time with and taking care of animals. She is delighted to make her return to NMYA as a Drama I instructor.
  • Jeff Mocho
    Jeff Mocho Drama I Instructor

    Jeff Mocho, a UNM Alumni with a degree in Theatre, has recently returned to NM from Maryland where he lived for 13 years, and is excited to be teaching for New Mexico Young Actors. While in Maryland he spent two years as a performing teacher with Interact Story Theater, where he and another actor traveled around the Maryland-DC metro area bringing the joy of theater to grade school audiences through performances and theater-based workshops. He has been seen on stage as well as TV and film. Favorite theater roles include: Len Hoch (Book of Days), Michael Starkwedder (The Unexpected Guest), and The Reverend (The Foreigner). He looks forward to sharing his love of theater with students in the class.

  • William R. Stafford
    William R. Stafford Theater Course - Instructor

    Mr. Stafford comes from a long standing family business, Sadie’s of NM. In addition to selling amazing salsa, William is working on over 35 years of performing arts credits with over 65 film and theater productions to his name. One of William’s lifelong goals has been to encourage people young and younger to “Believe in their dreams.”

  • Alexandra Uranga
    Alexandra Uranga Drama I Instructor

    Alexandra Uranga graduated with a BA in Theatre, minor in music, from UNM in 2014 and attended a Musical Theatre program at Circle In the Square Theatre School in NYC in 2015. She attended CNM upon her return to New Mexico and completed the Alternative Licensure Program to obtain her teaching license. She was recently a Drama teacher with Rio Rancho Public Schools for 5 years, teaching middle and high school. Alexandra is also a passionate performer and has performed in several of the community theaters around town over the years. She loves sharing the art of theater with youth and seeing them shine on stage! She is so grateful to be working with New Mexico Young Actors this summer!

  • Maria Bertinetti
    Maria Bertinetti Play Production Assistant

    Maria Bertinetti joined NMYA when he was thirteen years old and has performed in six shows with the company. Some of his favorite past roles include Black Beard in Silver’s Secret, Jafar in Aladdin Jr., and Captain Hook in Peter Pan. Aside from theater, Maria enjoys listening to and playing music and having good coffee with good company. He is excited to be rejoining NMYA as a production assistant for the play.

  • Cash Martinez
    Cash Martinez Production Assistant

    Cash Martinez, Production Assistant, is absolutely thrilled to be back with NMYA where his love and knowledge of theatre began at age 9. He is passionate to teach and share his skills to the next generation of artists. A local ABQ performer, you may have seen him in the following productions: Next to Normal, “Gabe” (The Desert Rose Playhouse); CLUE: On Stage, “Wadsworth”(Hold the Applause Productions); and most recently Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, “Arthur”(The Adobe Theater). Besides acting, Cash has music directed for Hold the Applause Productions’ Mary Poppins JR and has also directed I Acts such as Dinner With the MacGuffins. He is currently enrolled at the University of New Mexico working towards his Business Administration degree. Besides school and theatre, Cash works as an Assistant Manager at Dion’s and in his free time enjoys singing, cooking, playing piano, and spending time with his loved ones. 

  • John A. Craig
    John A. Craig Musical Production Assistant
    John A Craig has worked on over fifty productions at seven theatre companies in Albuquerque. From deck chief to fly captain, to stage and house manager John has been involved in all backstage aspects of community theatre, he even had a cameo in Landmark Musicals production of The Pirates of Penzance. He also worked as a crisis intervention counselor for The Trevor Project. New Mexico Young Actors combines his love for children and theatre into a magical alchemy.
  • Jacqueline Chavez
    Jacqueline Chavez Makeup Artist

    Jacqueline Chavez is an experienced makeup artist who has collaborated with impressive clients such as Netflix, National Geographic, Chanel, Robert Redford and Ali McGraw. She’s not only had the pleasure of working with amazing talent, she has also been featured in Vanity Fair (On Time) and Chaos. Having turned her passion into a successful career, she loves to use her talent in all areas of makeup artistry and is currently head of the Wigs and Makeup Department for multiple production companies in New Mexico. One of her favorite things about theater is the collaboration of different talents to create a magical show.

Additional Supporting Staff

Accounting Jared M. Lee, AVI Accounting

Consulting Mental Health Counselor Marisa Rothrock

Costumers Aba Ortiz
Kathy Gomez

Costumer Assistant Elias Arredondo

House Managers Lisa Fenstermacher (KiMo)
Rosemary Gallegos (NHCC)

Legal Atty. Ashley Strauss-Martin

Light Designer Chris Nelson

Make-Up Designer Jacqueline Chavez

Sean Umstead, David McCreary, and Carol Mayberry-Sanchez

Photographer Clarissa Anello Photography

Set Designer Chris Nelson

Sound Engineer Chad Scheer

Stage Manager Vicki Marie Singer

Videographer Humano Productions

NMYA Board of Directors

President Ege Richardson
Vice-President William McCabe
Secretary Sarah Gallegos
Treasurer Jerilyn Cheney
Member Leigh Dean

Repertory (1979–2024)

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (M) 2002
Aladdin and His Wonderful Magical Lamp 2001
Aladdin, Jr. (M) 2010, 2018
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (M) 2006
Alice in Wonderland, Jr. (M) 2016
Annie, Jr. (M) 2007, 2012
Beauty and the Beast, Jr. (M) 2011, 2019
The Belle of Bisbee 2011
Big Bad 2015, 2023
The Big Hunt 1979
The Bully Plays 2023, 2024
Bumper Snickers 1998
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 2005
Charlotte’s Webb (M) 1995, 2002
Cinderella’s Glass Slipper (M) 2008, 2015
Clowns* 1983
Country Dreaming * (M) 1982, 1986, 1991
Curse of an Aching Heart 1983
The Dark Castle 2000, 2006, 2014
The Day the Internet Died 2021
Doc, Doc, Goose! 2015
Dr. Dogsbreath Deveraux 2001
Dr. Do-Noodles, Here Comes the Judge* 1980
Egad, What A Cad! 1986
The Emperor’s New Clothes 2004, 2017
Everyone Is Good For Something 1997
Fat Sam’s Grand Slam* (M) 1981, 1985, 1990
The Frog Prince of Spamalot 2019
The Frog Princess 2002, 2003, 2008, 2013
From Hair to Eternity 2018
The Glass Slipper 1999
Hansel and Gretel (M) 1999, 2004, 2013
Happily Ever After 1999, 2001, 2006
Here Comes the Cows 2010
Honk! Jr. (M) 2008
Ill-Advised News * (M) 1980
I’m A Celebrity 1997
Jack and the Giant (M), 2000, 2006, 2015
James and the Giant Peach, Jr. (M), 2017
Jungle Book (M) 2022
Just a Simple Soap Opera 1979
Kiddledywinks! 2007
King Midas and the Palace of Gold (M) 1996, 2007
The Last Gladiator 2021
Legend of Sleepy Hollow 2018
Let’s Stop Child Abuse * 1989—1994
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe – 2022
The Little Match Girl 1996
The Little Mermaid, Jr. (M) 2013, 2023

The Magic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle ** (M) 2004, 2010
Mary Poppins, Jr. (M) 2022
Miss Nelson Is Missing! ** (M) 2005, 2011
The Music Man, Jr. (M) 2012
The Musical Adventures of Oliver Twist (M) 2021
My Name is Rumpelstiltskin 2009, 2014
Nellie’s Fishy Fate 1988
Never Trust a City Slicker 2009
Newsies Jr (M) 2024
Not Fit For Man or Beast 1980, 1982, 1985
The Oldest Team in Vaudeville * (M), 1984, 1988, 1994
Oz! (M) 2017, 2023
Pecos Bill and Slue-Foot Sue 1996, 2000, 2005
The Pied Piper of Hamelin 2012
Pinocchio 2012
Pinocchio (M) 2001
Pippi Longstocking ** (M) 2003, 2009
Peter Pan (M) 2019
Pocahontas (M) 2016
The Princess and the Pea 2010
Puss in Boots 2013, 2024
Ransom Of Red Chief (M) 1992, 1997
Rapunzel 2011
Robin Hood (M) 1993
Robin Hood 2022
Safe and Sound 1986
Science is Wonderful 1979
The Secret Garden (M) 2018
Showdown at the Sugarcane Saloon 1989, 1999
Silver’s Secret 2017
The Sleeping Beauty 2019
Sneakers (M) 1989
Snow Queen 2016
Snow White & Seven Dwarfs (M) 1998, 2003, 2014
The Stinky Cheese Man (M) 2005
Stop That Villain! 1991
Stuart Little 2023
The Three Bully Goats Griff 2016
Treasure Island 2021
The Trouble with Christmas 1980
True Blue and Trusted 1982, 1984, 1987, 1990
Tumble Weeds 2004
The Villain Wore A Dirty Shirt 1997, 2002, 2007
Virtual Complaint Department and Lemonade 2020
The Virtual Family 2021
Virtually Ever After 2021
We’re Going to Be Stars Someday * (M) 1988
Willy Wonka, Jr. (M) 2009, 2014
The Wizard of Oz (M) 2000
Zorro’s Back In Town 1998, 2003, 2008

(M) Musical
NMYA Original Work
** Southwest Premier

Contact NMYA