Artistic Company and Teaching Artists
Nicki LaPorte, Artistic Director
Nicki is a theater Teaching Artist and Director based in Connecticut. She has been with NBYT since January 2011, where she has taught, directed, performed, stage managed, and designed and built costumes. She has also taught theater programs through Hartford Performs, East Hartford Public Schools, Charter Oak Cultural Center, Performing Arts Programs, Oddfellows Playhouse, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and the Gateway Project in Massachusetts. During the past three summers, Nicki traveled to The Freedom Theater in the West Bank of Palestine to work with children living in the Jenin refugee camp. Nicki has recently joined the Day of Tears Touring Company, and can also be seen at the Mark Twain House as a Living History Tour Guide (Katy Leary). She has been a company member with Elmwood Productions as a puppeteer since early 2016. Nicki has also performed locally at New Britain’s Hole in the Wall Theater in The Impracticality of Modern-day Mastodons (mastodon puppeteer) and Rocky Horror Show (Transylvanian ensemble). Also a comic con regular and avid costumer, Nicki has joined the world of 18th century reenacting and historical costume construction. Nicki is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a double major in Educational Theater and U.S. History.
Darren Farrington, Executive Director
Darren has worked and trained in companies on Broadway, Off Broadway, and in regional, community and children’s theaters in New York and Connecticut. In addition to producing and directing, Darren has also acted, designed, stage managed, and developed and led drama programs for preschool, elementary, middle and high school children. He also works as administrator and advocate for the Connecticut Alliance for the Arts. Darren earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University School of the Arts. He also worked for a time as an entertainment and corporate attorney, receiving his law degree from Fordham University. He earned his undergraduate degree from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where his activities included serving as president of an extracurricular theater group and as a mentor for bilingual inner-city children. Of all this, his favorite projects are producing and programming for children and teens.
Krysten Drachenberg, Teaching Artist
Krysten has been involved in theater since she was ten years old, both onstage and behind the scenes. She has worked with NBYT since 2013. Beginning as a Teaching Assistant and Stage Manager, Krsyten is now an improv teacher, acting coach, and occassional painter of sets.
Brooke Ferguson, Senior Teaching Artist and Director
Brooke is a 2014 graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a B.F.A. in Theater Performance. She began as a Teaching Assistant with NBYT in 2011, and she’s since directed several of productions for all ages. Brooke also enjoys performing theater among the Connecticut community, and her favorite roles include Mme. Thénardier in Les Misérables, LeFou in Beauty and the Beast, and Gloria Hawkins in Boeing Boeing. Brooke can also be found improvising with her troupe, History of the Future, at Sea Tea Improv in Hartford.
Rae Johnson, Senior Teaching Artist, Director, Playwright in Residence, and Costume and Prop Designer
Rae has a B.A. in theater/dance, and has performed and held technical jobs throughout New England, Delaware, New York, and New Jersey. She has worked with Sta-Bis-Mus Theatre Company, North Shore Music Theatre, Stage One Productions, Tohill Theate, and several other theaters, and was part of the ensemble cast of Dream Time in New York City. Her credits include writing, directing, stage managing, costume designing, and props designing. Rae owns and operates CarPort Productions, a homeschool based theater company.
Carmine Lavieri, Senior Teaching Artist and Director
Carmine graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater. In his time at Central, he performed in several mainstage and student-directed shows including The Tempest, The Arabian Nights, The Things They Carried, and Red Noses. Carmine was most recently featured in Eastbound Theater’s production of The Complete History of America (abridged). He has been leading improv workshops and competitions since 2006 and joined the staff of New Britain Youth Theater as a teaching artist in 2011.
Administrative and Production Staff
Jon-Paul LaRocco, Technical Director
Caroline Sechrist, Teaching Assistant
Paul Thibodeau, Business Manager
Jim Williams, Grant Writer