Metropolis Performing Arts Centre


April-Dawn Gladu joined the Metropolis faculty in 2008. From 1999-2007 she was an Associate Artist for the Orlando Shakespeare Theater (OST) where she performed, taught, directed and wrote world premieres, classic adaptations and Theater For Young Audiences. She is particularly proud of her adaptations of The Jungle Book, The Emperor & The Nightingale, and The Secret Garden, which have had dozens of productions throughout the USA, Canada, the U.K., New Zealand, India, South Africa, Mexico, Singapore and Kenya. She also spent seven years writing and directing shows and special events for Walt Disney Entertainment, where she has worked with people as exciting as Christopher Reeve, John Ritter and Drew Carey. Her largest show had over 2,000 participants! Since 2004 her show The Perfectly Princess Tea Party has been playing 5 days a week at the Grand Floridian Resort to sold out crowds and her show Cinderella’s Princess Court closed in 2006 after over 1,000 performances at the World of Disney Store in NYC. Before moving to Orlando she worked for Women’s Project & Productions in New York City and developed new plays for companies such as Ensemble Studio Theatre, Pulse Ensemble Theatre and Six Figures Theatre Company.

Steve Leaver is the Executive Artistic Director of Imagination Theater, a theater company that uses original, participatory theatrical programming as means to address various social issues with audiences nation-wide. Mr. Leaver oversees all aspects of the company and has been in charge of designing, writing, directing, and facilitating countless programs for schools and corporations. In addition to his work at Imagination Theater Mr. Leaver has been teaching at the Metropolis School of Performing Arts since 2002. He has taught acting classes for all ages and directed student productions of The Laramie Project and The Dining Room. From 2008-2012, Mr. Leaver served on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Theatre Association where he was representing Theater for Young Audiences. Through his work at the ITA, Mr. Leaver helped to coordinate the Theater In Our Schools conferences every March held in partnership with the American Alliance for Theatre in Education. Most recently, Mr. Leaver has been one of seven theater teachers and professionals working with Arts Alliance Illinois to adapt and adopt the National Core Arts Standards for the State of Illinois. Those new learning standards will be presented to the Illinois State Board of Education sometime late 2015.Mr. Leaver graduated Cum Laude from Illinois State University where he holds a Bachelors of Science degree in theater.

Andrew J. Pond moved to Chicago in 2002 from South Florida, where he had studied with the likes of Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, José Quintero, and Charles Nelson Reilly. While there, he taught and directed at both InterAct Summer camp, and the Miami Shores Theatre's summer camp. Since moving to Chicago from the tropics (for the weather), he has worked extensively as an actor, director, and playwright with several children’s theatres, teaches drama classes for all ages at several theatre companies, is an Elvis impersonator, juggler, magician, balloon artist, plays with puppets, does Muppet voices, performs stand-up comedy, and has a degree in philosophy so he can use words like “epistemology” at parties. Otherwise, he is completely normal.

Jeremy Schaefer is an active teaching artist and performer at schools, theaters, and festivals across North America.  He currently improvises around town with Laugh Out Loud Theater, Chicago Improv Productions, Improv Playhouse, and International Stinger.  He has previously performed with companies like pH Productions, The Big Picture Group, Childsplay, Janus Theater, Piven Theatre, and The First Folio Shakespeare Festival.  He is also a storyteller and stand-up comic.