‘Imagine NEPA’ has been a long time in the making. Owners, Katie and Samantha, first met in 2006, as college students, performing in a community theater production. Samantha found herself needing a place to live very suddenly. Though they didn’t know each other well Katie was raised to believe there’s always room for one more, so she invited her to live on her couch in her small apartment until she could find a better situation. 15 years later, they are more like sisters than friends and the rest is history. Theater brought them together, theater grew their friendship, and theater is what is bringing them together as women business owners today!
For many years, Katie and Samantha have dreamt of opening their own performing arts and education space with a strong desire to bring to others the confidence, joy and friendship they have found in the theater and arts community. They are thrilled to have the support of many family and friends including Imagine NEPA's fabulous teachers Dane Bower and Katie Foley.
Katie Lane is a mother to three, wife and teacher who is passionate about performing arts, sustainability and helping others. She attended Mansfield University and Keystone College and is a PA certified teacher. Katie has K-12 teaching experience. She has been a competition marching band director, theater director, social studies teacher and most recently worked in K-2 autism support.
Katie has a lifelong love for the performing arts, performing in school music and theater ensembles beginning in elementary school, continuing through high school, college and into adulthood. She believes that the performing arts help people from all different backgrounds to connect and see each other's humanity. She also believes that art, music and drama help children develop emotional intelligence, self-expression and creative thinking skills that will serve them their entire lives. She has long dreamed of opening a space where children's imaginations can grow, friendships can bloom and a community of support and encouragement thrives, and she cannot wait to nurture that community culture at Imagine! ✌️❤️
Katie resides in Clark's Green, PA with her husband, Kevin, and their three "Beatles Babies" Penny Lane, Lucy (in the Sky) and (Hey) Jude. They have a dog, cat and fish and are avid music lovers and hikers.
Samantha (Sam) Christ
Samantha's career path has been a bit unusual. She is a graduate of Keystone College (where she and Katie met) with a B.S. in Environmental Biology. It was there that her passion for education grew working at the Keystone College Environmental Education Institute (KCEEI). She worked as a High School Science instructor at Penn Foster, spent a semester in New Hampshire taking graduate classes in Conservation Biology, and then followed her heart back to NEPA and started working at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, formerly The Commonwealth Medical College.
It was at the medical school where she found her true calling in Education Technology and Learning Design. She worked as a Library Assistant, Curriculum Coordinator, and Education Technology Specialist. In 2016 she went back to school to complete her Masters in Education in Learning, Design, and Technology at Penn State University.
While life has taken her a different direction she remains passionate about the environment and one thing that has remained constant has been her love for learning. One thing she loves more than expanding her own knowledge is the chance to share that knowledge through teaching others. In addition to her science and technology background Samantha also shares a passion for, and has many years experience in, theater and performing arts. As the Technical Director Samantha works behind the scenes to support Imagine NEPA's web presence and all thing technology though you may catch her from time to time on the stage and in the classroom too!
Improvisation Teacher &
Dane Bower is an award-winning* actor, director, and playwright originally from Factoryville, PA, who has been active in the Northeast Pennsylvania theater scene for over 20 years. Dane began his improvisational comedy journey back in 1999, when he became a member of the Scranton based improv troupe On the Spot Improv. From there, he went on to begin his own troupe, Impulse Improv, which operated in the greater Scranton area from 2001-2011. While operating Impulse Improv, Dane also studied at the Chris Barnes Comedy Dojo under the tutelage of Chris Barnes, who was an original member of Chicago-based improv comedy troupe Second City Improv and studied and performed with the likes of John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray.
Outside of improv, Dane has enjoyed a lengthy and fruitful career in various theater related capacities. He has served on the Board of Directors at Little Theater of Wilkes Barre, currently serves on the Board at Gaslight Theatre Company, was the technical director for a number of years at his high school alma mater, Lackawanna Trail, and is currently the director of theater at his college alma mater, Keystone College.
He resides in West Wyoming, and is the proud owner of two sometimes well-behaved Boston Terriers named Rigby and Wally. He is also the co-founder, writer, and co-director for local production company FlashMilk Productions. He can be found on or around stages all over NEPA, performing, writing, directing, set designing, set building, and whatever else is needed.
*2013, Best Supporting Actor in a Musical; 2017, Best Original One-Act, Writing; 2018, Best One Act Production; 2018, Best Director of a Musical; 2019, Best Lead Actor in a Musical
Katie Foley comes to us with over 20 years of theater experience. She obtained her theater training at Mansfield University after winning first place in their competition between New York and Pennsylvania high schools. She was trained in voice as a Soprano by Sister Alfonso at Marywood University's Music Department and has received her degrees in Communications and Elementary Education from Keystone College, where she was very actively involved in the school’s Drama program. She first met Katie Lane while working together in The Footlight Players a nonprofit confounded by Katie in the 2000's.
Katie is very involved in Autism advocacy as well, having co-founded a support group for parents of children with Autism called ALIGN run through the Gathering Place, here in Clark’s Summit. She is also a contributing author for Autism Parenting Magazine where she authored a piece on the positive impact of dramatic play for children with ASD and is also an author and illustrator of Children’s books such as Bella’s Nighttime Land and You May Never Be French. You can find some of her work at www.katefoleybooks.com.
Katie is very excited to work on this exciting new theater experience!
Alana Cross is a pianist, singer, and music teacher from Scott Township, PA. She holds a Master of Arts in Music Education from Houghton College and is certified as a PK-12 music teacher. Alana serves the community in several roles; she runs a piano studio with over 25 students, teaches music at Discovery MI preschool, and serves as the music director for the summer youth theater program at the Scranton Cultural Center. Alana works with students to grow socially and emotionally by experiencing music through singing, movement, and creative play.