Megan Garner has been teaching for fifteen years. Currently, she is the director and producer of the Corner Theatre Academy and teaches a variety of English and Creative Writing at Corner High School in Jefferson County, Alabama. Prior to the academy, she taught English to grades nine through twelve all over central Alabama.
At Corner Theatre Academy, where she produces anywhere from four to six shows a year, her students compete at the district and state levels and many receive the top awards in the state. For eight years, she has been the District Two Chair for The Walter Trumbauer District and State Theatre Festivals. She is currently the Secondary Vice Chair for the Alabama Conference of Theatre. She also held the position of Student Thespian Advisor for three years for the Educational Theatre Association's Alabama Chapter.
At Corner, Megan sponsors the CHS Mascots and Thespian Troupe #6639. She is also a member of multiple school improvement groups and committees. Megan knows how blessed she is to be able to work at such a good school with such remarkable students and colleagues.
Ever since I can remember, I remember music. I listened to music, made up songs, made up stories, and at one point, I was even a famous superstar while dancing around my room singing into my microphone (which even had a mic stand and karaoke machine). My parents instilled in me the value of a song. Music was everywhere in my home, and singing, that was like a second language. In fact, all five of us can sing, and those family harmonies are some of the best sounds to my soul. We sang while cooking dinner. We sang in tub, in the shower, while doing homework. We sang on holidays, in church, and every single trip in the car- errand, longer distance, road trip- it didn't matter, we were singing. We would memorize how songs sound, their tones, melodies, lyrics, and harmonies, and in those moments of song, we would mimic those sounds exactly. I guess you could say I was originally taught by my family, my church family, and some of the musical greats all over radio in the 80s and 90s.
The music itch was unavoidable for us. My mother plays piano (and the banjo at one time), my father played the guitar (and can sing like Elvis), my older brother played the trombone, and my younger brother rocked the drums. I dabbled in piano and clarinet, but I wanted to SING. We were in bible school every year, and I did every church play I could find because it was all so fun! As I got into my teenage years, on occasion, I would sing at church just because someone asked me to. Then came college. I performed in community plays and college plays. It was a very short-lived dream come true.
Once I graduated, I taught English. I still sang every free second of the day, but teaching, especially those first years, took up so much of my time. I bounced from job to job during a recession, and one day, my Mom asked me why I hadn't tried to work at Corner. She said she has seen their theatre productions, and they were really good. She thought I would fit right in. I disregarded the idea because I thought, "They can't be that good...." Well, fast forward to 2013. I was in need of a job, and I saw an opening at Corner. I knew it couldn't hurt, so I applied. I interviewed with the infamous Mike Putman, and the rest is history. The most surprising part of my journey is the relationships fostered from our theatre group. Our students strive to be good people, do good work, be empathetic with one another, build solid relationships with each other, and somehow create this environment of healthy friendship and perseverance. It is beautiful to witness and a blessing to be a part of.
I will forever be grateful for the advice of my Mother, the mentorship and lifelong friendship of my predecessors Debra Reeser and Mike Putman, and the students of CTA for helping me to keep that music of my soul alive and beating vibrantly on a daily basis. They are all always CTA kiddos to me, who have filled my life with happiness and laughter and completely enriched my days. They are my forever family.
During Debra's first year of teaching at Bagley Jr. High, Mike Putman approached her requesting help establishing the Bagley Drama Society. Debra believes his original request encompassed , "All you will have to do is the paperwork and keep up with the money.” In her words..."He was not truthful."
Debra loved theatre in high school and attended live plays whenever possible. That was the extent of her knowledge. She taught science. Her degrees were in Biology, Geology, and Chemistry, not one theatre arts course. Their first show, as the fabulous duo, was something about teachers in the teacher's lounge. She doesn't remember the name, but knows they performed in the lunchroom at Bagley. In the spring, they produced their first musical, Little Abner. They performed at Bevill on a real stage. They both thought they were good, and so did the Corner community.
For the next 25 years, they performed wherever they could. From parking lots, to a cemetery, and on every stage they could beg, borrow, or rent. They rehearsed, made costumes, and even built sets in the parking lot of the old high school. Moving into the new high school in 2010 brought them both "to their knees with tears of joy." They had moved from a light system of 2 spotlights and a sound system of 1 boom box to a real theatre.
Mike’s wife, Pat, took over the paperwork and the money. Debra started directing actors and technical kids. Debra's husband, Mike, built sets and drove trucks hauling sets to competition.
There are many reasons why both Debra and Mike poured heart, soul and money into Corner Theatre. Most of all, it was for the kids. For some, theatre was a safe haven from a chaotic life. For others, it was a way to belong to an accepting group. For all of them, it was a family. They learned how to work together and be dedicated to a project. They gained self-confidence and skills, and they learned how to take direction.
When Megan became a part of CTA, Debra and Mike were thrilled. Mike retired and a few years later, so did Debra. Now, Debra volunteers in CTA as the costume consultant, designer, and creator (as well as a plethora of other positions) because she loves teaching kids and CTA allows her to do just that without working 12 hour days, six days a week. Someone recently asked her when she was finally going to give it all up. She simply responded, "I hope never."
Emily is our official photographer, videographer, and is one of our makeup and acting consultants. She is extremely gifted in dramatic acting and is an absolute riot as a comedic actor. She also does phenomenal work as a stage makeup artist. Emily's talents do not stop there. Her gifts with photography and videography are simply beautiful. The choices she makes and edits she creates are unlike any other. She has a heart for theatre and a love of teaching.
She is a Corner Theatre Academy Alumna. She graduated from Corner High School in 2019, as well as, Bevill State Community College in 2020 with an Associate's Degree. Recently, she began pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education specializing in English Language Arts from Samford University.
In high school, Emily joined theatre as a sophomore where she performed in multiple shows through her senior year and even one after graduation specializing in comedic relief. Emily also worked behind the scenes in costuming, hair and makeup design, scene design, and directing. Emily has even won a few awards including placing 3rd Place at Walter Trumbauer State Theatre Festival in Solo Contemporary Female Comedic Monologue.
Emily quickly realized her passion for the arts, and since graduating high school, she has worked for Corner Theatre Academy on every show. Emily helps in all things CTA, but one of her biggest passions is being able to capture the captivating moments of the productions. She owns her own photography business, @emilyallredphotography where many people have given her the ability to learn and grow through their events and special occasions. Whether it’s taking pictures or making a joke, Emily does everything she can to bring a smile to someone's face. She is such a talent, and we are grateful to be able to have the chance to work with her, but more than that, we are simply blessed to know her.
Matthew is one of our acting, musical theatre, voice, and technical theatre consultants. His talents are endless and his reputation precedes him. We have watched Matthew grow into this theatrical powerhouse since the 5th grade. He takes any task, goes above and beyond, and achieves beyond leaps and bounds of what could have ever been expected when the task began.
In dramatic acting, Matthew finds ways to empathize with and become a role in such a genuine way. He creates moments on stage that we want to share with generations to come. In musical theatre and voice, his talent is unmatched and effortless, yet he understands how to share that talent and knowledge so that others achieve. With students, he is such an encourager and motivator, and works to help students find their voice and meaning, especially in the vocal fields. As quite a contrast, Matthew is also extremely knowledgeable in various aspects of technical theatre, lighting and directing, to name two of the many.
Matthew is a Corner High School Alumnus. During his time at Corner he was involved with Corner Theatre Academy in many areas of theatre, but mainly focusing on performance. Matthew joined the CTA family in 2014 and had been an active member leading up to his graduation in 2021. He was involved in twenty-six performances at CTA, with twenty-three performing, and three technical (directing/lighting design).
Matthew has received many awards while performing over the years on both the district and state levels. In 2017 Matthew was awarded best supporting actor at the Walter Trumbauer State Theatre Festival, and placed third in solo musical dramatic. He was also awarded the Adjudicator Award for Best Direction for The Yellow Boat at the Alabama State Thespian Festival in 2019.
Matthew is vocally trained, with eight years of voice lessons where he has been taught in the method of Estill Voice Training. Matthew loves helping people find their voice, and wants to instill the same passion that he has for theatre in others, so that one day they might feel led to do the same. "Theatre isn't a hobby. It's a passion, and it's one that I'll cherish for the rest of my life.”
Lexie Reeves Stamps
Lexie is our official choreographer for our musicals and one of our makeup and costume design consultants here at Corner Theatre Academy. One of Lexie's main goals for the students is to challenge them to create the best and most beautiful pieces they can. Her talents in makeup design are truly gifted, and her choreography seems to get better and better with every show. We love her spirit and her passion for life. She always brings with her that work ethic to get things done, coupled with a good time every time the work gets done. We love Lexie and we are so proud of her accomplishments and so grateful at our opportunity to work with her each year.
Lexie is a 2014 graduate of Corner High School and Corner Theatre Academy. While at CTA, Lexie acted in, designed for, and/or choreographed shows like Jekyll & Hyde the Musical, Little Shop of Horrors, Hamlet, Children of Eden, Steel Magnolias, and more.
During her junior year, Lexie was awarded over 100 callbacks and multiple scholarships for costume and makeup design and musical theatre at the South Eastern Theatre Conference. She was also offered an internship for makeup design for AMC’s The Walking Dead.
During Lexie's senior year at the Walter Trumbauer State Theatre Festival, she was awarded 2nd Place during senior auditions for both design and acting and won Varsity Makeup Design.
Since graduating, Lexie has worked for production companies and theatres such as Syfy, AMC, OuterSpectrum Productions, Walker County Art Alliance, FAAB, and MoonMen Media. Lexie has worked on award winning short films and theatre all over the Southeast. Lexie has been working for Corner Theatre since 2015 as a choreographer and makeup/costume consultant. Lexie is currently double majoring in English and Theatre Education, pursuing a degree to be a high school teacher and theatre director some day. In her free time, Lexie enjoys spending time with her husband Tyler, family, friends, and her dog, Logan.