Business Manager & Teaching Artist
Bayard Rustin Educational Campus, Manhattan
Getting Out and Staying Out, Manhattan
Raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Kayla fell in love with storytelling in her church. Yearning to practice, she competed in speech and show choir competitions in high school and later represented South Dakota in the Poetry Out Loud competition hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts. Kayla attended The Ohio State University and found her home in the Black community. As the Artistic Director of the Black Student Theatre Network and the chair of the Poetry Slam with the African American Heritage Festival, she earned the prestigious award of the Beanie S. Drake Leadership Scholarship. That year, she graduated with two degrees in Theatre and International Studies.
Later in Columbus while walking by a large renovated church with a butterfly on the doorway, she met her second love: teaching. At Directions for Youth and Families, she engaged with young people, teaching them acting technique, stage makeup, set and lighting design, and improv. Later she taught academy classes with Columbus Children’s Theatre and many other after-school programs in the city. She continued her teaching artist training with The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Stand Up for Shakespeare Initiative and with the Teaching Artist Training Institute in Staten Island to better equip herself to work with students with cognitive and developmental disabilities.
After moving to New York, Kayla continued her career as an actor and worked for an art lawyer in SoHo. Soon after, she learned about the inspirational work at Opening Act through a friend and was eager to apply. Now, after years as a teaching artist and a bookkeeper, she continues to pursue her love of storytelling, leadership and teaching with this incredible organization.
As an actor, Kayla has performed at La Mama, HERE Arts, the Humana Festival and with the Obie-Award winning Fire This Time Festival. She is a proud alumni of the Acting Apprenticeship at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. kaylajackmon.com