Who We Are
Tom has written several original musicals, most recently “Puzzle Piece” which is about a family life living with Autism. After a performance of his musical, “Giggles” which premiered at The Smithsonian. After that performance Tom was invited along with two of his students to visit the White House to meet the President and his wife and to share in dinner and a performance. Tom has been a Guest Speaker and Teacher at Shenandoah University, George Mason University, and The Disability Summit in McLean, Va., and at The Virginia Association of Independent Schools. Tom also stays active as a professional actor and most recently performed as “Donkey” in Shrek the Musical and Leo Bloom in “The Producers” at Shenandoah Summer Music Theater. He along with several of his clients are subjects for a Documentary which is filming presently about the power of Music Therapy. The film is being directed by Award winning Documentary Film Maker, Susan Koch.
He enjoys writing original songs with his students and often shares the talents of those he mentors with the community, reinforcing the idea that creation is to be shared. Tom has had over 20 years of working with people from all walks of life and is excited to see A Place To Be become a reality. He hopes it creates a safe and creative haven for those people who are looking for “A Place To Be.”
Kim Tapper, Associate Director/Life Coach, ACC, CPCC
Kim Tapper, Associate Director of APTB, has been working with youth and adults for almost 20 years as a teacher, director, choreographer, life coach, and mentor. She is credentialed as an ACC through the International Coach Federation, CPCC (Coach Training Institute), as a Life Strategies Coach (Spencer Institute), and holds a BA in Dance Movement Therapy from Goucher College.
Kim coaches individuals to expand their possibilities, reach their personal goals and engage completely in their lives. She specializes in working with people with medical challenges (cancer, Lyme disease, cerebral palsy), family counseling, and women from ages 13-adult focusing on self esteem, finding their voice, developing passion, and building confidence. Additionally, Kim serves as a group facilitator for teenage girls ranging from self esteem issues to young women’s leadership groups. Kim serves as a Life Coach and consultant at the Hill School, where she taught for ten years. At INOVA Loudoun Hospital’s Oncology Department, Kim leads “Life Beyond Diagnosis” coaching workshops and has been a guest speaker and teacher for Life With Cancer. In 2004 Kim co-founded the Creative Youth Theater Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to working with teens in the arts. She collaborated with Loudoun Youth Initiative creating teen productions addressing bullying and teenage struggles.
Kim served as the co-Artistic Director of the Crossroads Dance Project for six years, a non-profit modern dance company dedicated to bridging communities together through dance. Her acclaimed choreography received multiple nominations from the Metro DC Dance awards. Since 2000 Kim has also choreographed over 20 musical theater productions. In addition to these choreographic endeavors, Kim received a grant in 2009 from the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust and the Hill Playhouse to create an original theatrical production, Reflection, about body image and women’s self worth. In 2013 she will publish a book of poetry inspired by the clients at APTB and illustrated by one of her teenage clients. Kim is deeply committed to the mission of helping people live a full, confident life beyond their label or diagnosis. She believes in the power of the arts and coaching to help people attain their goals and live their best life where they are seen and appreciated for their abilities and gifts.
Angelle Cook, Business Manager/Theater & Writing Teacher M.A.
Angelle Cook, Business Manager and Theater and Writing teacher has been working with students for ten years. She holds a masters degree in Theatre Education from Emerson College.
While earning her undergraduate degree at Prescott College, Angelle worked at an emerging performing arts studio where she created a drama program. There she taught weekly classes, designed a summer theatre intensive program, and directed the studio’s bi-annual musical theatre productions. Angelle formed and chaired a nonprofit at the performance arts studio to raise funds for low-income youth to participate in theatre, music, and dance.
In 2010, Angelle graduated from Emerson with an M.A. after completing her thesis titled: Using Theatre of the Oppressed with Youth Offenders: Working to Improve Collaboration, Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills. She spent four weeks teaching at a locked-down juvenile offender facility using Augustine Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed techniques.
In the summer of 2010, Angelle returned to Northern Virginia to join Tom and Kim in opening A Place To Be. Since then she has worked at the center as the Business Manager and teaching individual sessions in theater and writing as well as teaching classes such as Improvisation, Playmaking and Creative Writing. Currently she assists Tom and Kim teaching a class at George Mason University. She truly believes that she has found a niche working within the arts with people with special needs.
From 2010-2012, Angelle spent two seasons with VSA arts as a stage manager and director. In the past she has worked at The Hill School and with The Creative Youth Theatre Foundation.
As a writer she has taken courses in Playwriting, Playmaking, Screenwriting, and Creative Writing as well as composed countless poems, essays, and short stories. In 2006, her children’s play “A Day With Chaos” was work-shopped and presented within a summer-theatre intensive program. Angelle finished her first solo novel, "[UN]Caged" in 2012 and is currently pursuing publishing.
Ashley Jewell, Music Therapist MT-BC
A Place To Be Staff and Board 2013-2014 Term
Board for the 2013-2014 season
A PLACE TO BE is a 501c3 non-profit organization.
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