KAYLA JACKMON is a native of South Dakota, and still has ties to her prairie roots — regardless of her locale. In 2006, Kayla moved from the Great Plains to Columbus, OH to study at The Ohio State University where she majored in Theatre and International Relations. While at Ohio State, she chaired programs with the African American Heritage Festival, influenced incoming freshmen with the Leadership Collaborative, and became Artistic Director of the Black Student Theatre Network, where she coordinated workshops, classes, and directed three productions, including Wine in the Wilderness and Romeo and Juliet. Since graduation in 2010, Kayla has had the pleasure of working with some of the most creative artists in the region.
In 2011, Kayla began working as a theatre educator and advocate for youth at the Short Stop Youth Center in the Short North. As a prevention specialist, she has had the pleasure of teaching acting, lighting, sound, set, and costume design to youth ages 8 – 18 in the community. While at Short Stop, her theatre ensemble has produced numerous productions, musicals, a new work about bullying, and short films ranging from The Office spoofs to action films. For Kayla, there is no greater joy than to see a young person’s eyes light up when they’ve tapped into their own artistic creativity. Since 2012, Kayla also began teaching sexual health and pregnancy prevention classes in middle school and high schools around Columbus with her agency, Directions for Youth and Families.
Kayla has also worked with the Columbus Children’s Theatre as a teaching artist for almost three years. Her favorite class with the CCT Academy so far has been special effects stage makeup; her students came in every day, eager to transform themselves into zombies, animals, and fantastical creatures.
Recently, she has been accepted to be a part of the teaching cohort with the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Ohio State University, where she will train with artists and educators in both Columbus and Stratford-upon-Avon, allowing her to have the tools to teach Shakespeare to youth in an engaging and empowering way.
In her free time Kayla enjoys running, gardening, buying an obscene amount of gifts for her cat, Hillary Banks, and repurposing furniture from inspirations found on Pinterest.