Amber Young, Vice Chairman (City of Ojai – Executive Assistant, Ojai, CA)
Brianna Beebe, Treasurer (Co-Owner of Quartermile Films, Ojai, CA)
Candace Delbo, Advisory (Vocal Director, Ojai, CA)
Daena Santoyo, Co-Artistic Director (Instructor/Producer/Director, Ojai, CA)
Kimberly Love, Secretary (Ojai, CA)
Kristina Knapic, Chairman (Business owner, event coordinator, Ojai, CA)
Krista Kim, Past Chairman (Musical Director, Ojai, CA)
Megg Sicotte-Kelly, Co-Artistic Director (Instructor/Producer/Director, Ojai, CA)
Steve Beebe, Advisory (Actor/Director/President of Quartermile Films, Ojai, CA)
Briana Beebe (Treasurer) is co-owner of Quarter Mile Films, Inc. located in Ojai, CA. She has managed all finances, financial decisions and acted as the Human Resources point person at QMF since it’s inception in 1997. Briana Beebe has a BA from Cornell University and an MA from UCLA in the fields of Art History and Latin American Studies. In addition to being a board member of OYES, Briana has been an active volunteer in her daughters’ schools and for Ojai’s Community Assistance Program. Briana and her family have lived in Ojai since 2000 and in years past her children have participated in theater productions at OYES.
Daena Bleu Santoyo (Artistic Director) joined the OYES team in 2012. With OYES, Daena directed several Broadway Junior productions including, Into The Woods Jr (2014), Disney’s Cinderella Kids (2014), Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Kids, (2015), and produced OYES’ intergenerational community theatre production of A Year With Frog and Toad (2015). Daena has had a lifetime of interest in working with children to facilitate their growth and potential, and discovered a wealth of opportunities to share her knowledge and experience with the students of OYES. Daena studied acting and at Ventura College, the Malibu Playhouse Conservatory, and with Dwier Brown of Theatre 150, and is a trained Speech Level Singing vocalist. Daena directed and co-produced SPEAK-EZ Cabaret 2013 (an immersive jazz cabaret experience), and is currently co-producing and appearing on the Entertainment Web Show, New Age Girls in addition to directing, producing and development for Ojai Youth Entertainers Studio.
Candace Delbo (Advisory) has many years studying many vocal styles, from classical to gospel, from musical theater to doo wop and jazz. She takes particular joy in singing multi-part harmonies, a skill which she developed as a young child while singing in the car with her family and through a lifetime of choral music which makes her perfectly suited to sing the lush harmonies of The New Chordettes! She credits Mrs. Bell, Mr. Marvin Brown and Mr. George Greb for their early musical influences in her life. Candace is committed to “paying it forward” so as to guide students of all ages to their own God-given voice and to discover the joys of expressing one’s self through song and performance. She has been honored in her home town of Ojai, CA by being voted the Rotary Club’s “Ojai Living Treasure” in 2012 for her musical volunteerism in the community, most notably by establishing elementary after school choral programs. Many hundreds of kids have found their voices and developed their talent through Candace’s tutelage. She is currently Elementary Music Director at Ojai Valley School where, in addition to teaching the joy of singing, music fundamentals, appreciation and history, she co-directs two musicals per year. She has been vocal director for many musical productions at the Ojai Arts Center, including Sound of Music and Fiddler On the Roof, winning two Four Star Theater Awards for best Musical Director. She is the directed of “The Nanas & Papas”, a musical revue dedicated to Grand-parenting. Most recently Candace has appeared with her dear friend and pianist, Fern Barishman, at the Ojai Valley Inn. She is a board member of Ojai Youth Entertainers Studio. Candace teaches private voice lessons to singers of all ages. She resides in Ojai with her husband of 46 years, Ken who is a well-known accomplished percussionist. They have 3 children, Sara, Lara and Walker and they are the proud grandparents of Jacob, Isla and Finley Lou.
Kimberly Stockstad Love (Secretary) lives in Ojai, California and is delighted she and her son have discovered OYES. Kimberly enjoys working virtually through her Blissfully Virtual consultancy, after many unique and creative opportunities within other organizations. Her career highlights include working with an early-stage virtual start-up, an interesting role in feature film marketing with Columbia Pictures as a liaison with the guilds, as well as several years with Reebok working in event production and business development where she managed the roll-out of the Reebok City Jam educational fitness program in Tokyo, Singapore, Bali, and in the U.S. where she was able to utilize her background in dance on a much larger scale. She was a member of the Nancy Hauser Dance Company in Minneapolis and the Nancy Meehan Dance Company in New York City as a modern dancer, and has taught movement classes to children and adults. She has served on the Executive Committee for the City of Hope/Workout for Hope events in Los Angeles. She is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of William Woods University with a BFA and was the recipient of the Distinguished Scholar of Dance Award.
Kristina Knapic (Chairman) is the owner of the Acacia Mansion, an event venue, vacation rental and Bed and Breakfast in Ojai, California. After graduating from UCSB, Kristina Knapic went to work in finance, earning top sales in mortgage financing, she was eventually recruited by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and was in the top 10% for sales Nationwide. She was later recruited by Washington Mutual’s mortgage department and spent many hours volunteering for the Santa Barbara Realtors member service committee helping coordinate events to raise funds for various charities. She also volunteered with the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network rehabbing injured wildlife and was asked to join their board to assist them with their fundraising efforts. She spent five years coordinating their non-profit events and fundraising for their capital campaign to build a wildlife care center. In 2004, she purchased a dilapidated mansion in Ojai, California with a plan to renovate the property into an event venue. She spent three years restoring the 1929 Spanish Mansion and creating a location that has become one of the premier properties to wed in Ventura County. The last ten years Kristina Knapic has hosted a range of theme events and weddings and in 2010 she had the Mansion declared a historical landmark. She has a love of belly dance that has her hosting belly dance events and festivals at the Mansion and at other locations in Ojai. Having hosted and coordinated over seventy weddings and events at the Acacia Mansion, Kristina Knapic has found her passion, creating dream weddings and special events!
Megg Sicotte-Kelly (Artistic Director) has lived in the beautiful Ojai Valley for over four years. Before relocating to Ojai, she worked in television production and technical theater in L.A. and New York. She began training in theater when she was eight years old, and graduated with a bachelors in Film and Digital Media from U.C. Santa Cruz. After graduating she spent several years working for MPH Entertainment on shows including “The Dog Whisperer” and “Mommy Docs”. She went on to work for Warner Bros in their Estimating/Accounting Department, and eventually moved to New York to work on “Gossip Girl” at Silvercup Studios. While she was in New York she rediscovered her love of theater and studied at HB Studios. After moving back to the West coast, she returned to theater as a freelance designer. Some of her favorite experiences include heading the wardrobe department for the “L.A. Haunted Hayride”, working with director John C. Reilly as the costume designer for his production of “Buddha: Triumph and Tragedy”, and creating a workshop for the Getty Villa’s “Aphrodite and the Gods of Love” festival. Since moving to Ojai she has been continued to be active in the arts. She taught fine art at Janis’ Art Workshop, performed at Ojai ACT in shows such as “Grease” and “By the Skin of Our Teeth,” and worked as a set painter on shows including “The Sound of Music” and “Brooklyn Boy.” She joined OYES in 2013, and has been involved in 16 productions. In that time she has worn many hats–including Technical Director, Theater Manager, Production Manager, teacher, director, and designer.
Scholarships are made possible by donations from our sponsors. Full and partial tuition scholarships are available to qualifying students for all of our youth education programs through our OYES Scholarship Fund. These funds are limited and awards are based on financial need.
Executive Director | Co-Artistic Director | Producing Director | Publicity and Marketing | Instructor
Daena joined the OYES team of artists, directors and producers in 2012, and immediately became an integral part of OYES’ program development and growth. With OYES, Daena directed several Broadway Junior productions including, Into The Woods Jr (2014), Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Kids, (2015), Once On This Island, Jr (2016), produced OYES’ production of A Year With Frog and Toad (2015), and most recently, co-directed and produced The Lion King, Jr (2017). Daena studied various acting modalities at Ventura College, the Malibu Playhouse Conservatory, and with Dwier Brown of Theatre 150, and is a trained Speech Level Singing vocalist.
As Executive Director, Daena has worked with the OYES team and co-artistic director, Megg Sicotte-Kelly, to create a foundation for OYES in the Ojai Valley community. In addition to working with grant-writers, launching and co-producing The Ojai Wine Walk, developing new projects such as Dr. Who Drama Club, Daena developed the new website for OYES, and the new Meet The Artists campaign designed to feature the artists and professionals, contributing to OYES’ youth productions. “We strive to provide a quality work and entertainment experience for our young cast members,” says Daena, ” and it’s important to us that we acknowledge the professional contributions that help us meet this goal. We see the reciprocation of respect and professionalism in our young actors and audience members — it’s truly a rewarding experience for all!”
Daena’s background in architectural design and drafting proved valuable in the set-design planning for The Lion King, Jr and she worked with engineers and contractors to design OYES’ new lighting grid.
Philosophy: Working with children to better their life experience and development is a life-passion. It is an honor to continue and expand the success of Ojai Youth Entertainers Studio, initiated by Krista Kim in 2011, and fulfill the mission of our organization.
Other fun projects: Daena directed and co-produced SPEAK-EZ Cabaret 2013 (an immersive jazz cabaret experience) with Kytriena Payseno, and is currently co-producing and appearing on the Entertainment Web Show, New Age Girls in addition to directing, producing and development for Ojai Youth Entertainers Studio.
Artistic Director/Technical Director/Co-Director/Actor/
Krista has a B.A. in Music Education from James Madison University where she studied voice. She spent her college years performing with the JMU Madisonians which only deepened her love of glitzy showchoir. After moving to CA, she began teaching general music at Beverly Vista Elementary School in Beverly Hills.
While teaching in the public school system, she was fortunate enough to teach musical theatre at YADA (Youth Academy of Dramatic Arts) in West Hollywood, CA where she realized her true passion was putting on stage shows for children. Krista has served as the Arts and Enrichment Coordinator for The Friends of West Hollywood Elementary School where she directed/coordinated productions of Annie, Aladdin and Alice In Wonderland.
Other directing credits include: High School Musical, School House Rock, Peter Pan, Chorus Line, Bugsy Malone, Little Shop of Horrors, and Fiddler on the Roof. In addition to teaching at Theater 150, Krista has taught Glee class at Starlight Dance Academy.
Krista took over as Creative Director of OYES in 2012, changing it from the previous Theater 150, to the new Ojai Youth Entertainers Studio.
Krista is the mom of 7th grader, Keaton, 5th grader, Peyton, and second grader, Hudson. Krista’s main mission is to give children a safe and fun environment to explore and be exposed to musical theatre. Her proudest moments are watching nervous auditioners turn into confident performers.
Kytriena Payseno comes from Denver Colorado, where she began her acting career with theKidSkits touring company at the Denver Civic Theatre. She continued working in the Colorado theatre community with such theatre companies as Curious Theatre, Vintage, Red Rocks Community College and Check Point Theatre Company. Kytriena earned her Bachelor’s degree in Theatre/English at the Metropolitan Denver State University, where she performed in RENT (Ali),The Wizard of Oz (Lullaby League), Cabaret (Kost) and The Foreigner (Townsperson). She has toured with educational theatre programs created by Kaiser Permanente and The American Lung Association. Kytriena has been a company member of The Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre,Kidstage and The E-Project (Performing Arts Academy of Lakewood) where she worked as an actor, director, educator and technician. Ms. Payseno joined the Ojai community in 2010, and since then she has appeared in local shows at Theatre 150 and The Ojai Art Centre such as, Annie (Lily St. Regis), Hello Dolly (Minnie Fay), Brooklyn Boy (Alison), Grease (Sandy), Romeo &Juliet (Nurse) and Reunions (Petra). She has also appeared on The Santa Paula Theatre stage in A Trip to Bountiful (Thelma), and at The Elite Theatre in various stage readings. In 2013, Kytriena Payseno attended The University of Essex-East 15 Acting School, where she graduated with her Master’s in Acting. While in England, she performed in A Winter’s Tale (Emilia) at The Cockpit Theatre, The Cherry Orchard (Ranevskia), Waiting for Godot (Lucky), MacBeth (Lady McDuff/Witch) and Blood Wedding (Mother) at The Corbett Theatre. Kytriena has been in the films RAW (Blue Whale Productions), Hold It! (Brooks School of Film) and the music videos Gone (KimCorp Productions) and So We Fly (Brad Buley). Ms. Payseno has taught drama for Jefferson Public Schools, Ojai Unified Schools as well as local private schools such as: Oak Grove, Ojai Valley School andBeasant Hill School, and she has returned to The Ojai Youth Entertainers Studio, to continue her passion of directing and teaching today’s youth about theatre. Kytriena Payseno created SpeakEZ Cabaret and is an associate creator of The Glass Moon Theatre Company, where she strives for women’s empowerment. She is a member of Equity, Spotlight, IMDB, For Actors by Actors and The Colorado Theatre Guild. She also holds two 4Star awards for Best Supporting Actress. Currently, Kytriena is writing a collection of warm-up and theatre games/exercises for drama teachers and directors, and she can be found performing in the band Deer Leg in the Southern California area. Kytriena’s teaching philosophy finds inspiration from Gould’s words, “The purpose of art is…the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.”Art feeds the soul and connects people to a wide variety of cultures, political views, religious views and social concerns. The theatrical arts are unique because they contain all of the artistic disciplines to communicate to an audience, and hopefully create that “State of wonder and serenity” Gould speaks about. As a lifelong theatrical student and teacher, I have found a sincere bond to my knowledge and experience in the field, while passing it on to others. I believe that all of life is contained in theatre, and the more our civilization can keep the arts alive; the more we will keep our imagination alive. For without our imagination, humans would not be human, after all we are the only organism which shows creation from our mind, body and soul. The danger lies in not feeding this human need to express or feel through the arts, and once humans stop creating; our technology and intelligence will suffer. I feel as though everyone should experience theatre at least once in their life to ensure that we create a better world for our future generations.
John Medeiros holds an a BFA in Theatre from UCSB, and has been in various commercials, films, plays, and other projects. John has been a member of various improv groups, including Ventura Improv Company, Straight Up, The Jimmy Mooks, and Ojai Improv Group. John currently teaches improv at OYES and is the artistic director of Ojai Valley Improv.