OYES: Ojai Youth Entertainers Studio

Ojai Youth Entertainers Studio

Ojai Youth Entertainers Studio

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Some of the people that make OYES.

If you would like to help out, read about our Volunteer opportunities…

Daena Bleu Santoyo


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.



Megg Sicotte-Kelly

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Artistic Director/Technical Director/Co-Director/Actor/Instructor

Megg Sicotte-Kelly 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.

Krista Kim

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Musical Director/Singer/Dancer/ ~ Past Chairman

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 MusicalSchool 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.

Rachel Hunt

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Rachel Hunt was born and raised right here, in the beautiful Ojai Valley, overcoming life’s adversity through art and theater. Rachel is excited to be giving back to the community that inspired and supported her as a kid. Actively involved with the Ojai Art Center and the Ojai Civic Light Theater, she has done many productions such as Music Man, Beauty and the Beast, Grease, West Side Story, as well as several youth written one act plays. The opportunities to be in these theater programs and have teachers such as Jeannie Carlson and Sharon Butler, who offered scholarships for dance and art classes, provided Rachel with positive activities and places to go when home life wasn’t so.
Rachel has over 10 years experience working and teaching children in many areas of education. Rachel attended Ventura College and Santa Barbara Community College earning her certificate in early childhood development. Having many deaf friends and learning some sign language throughout her life, Rachel completed American Sign Language 1,2, and 3.  Her love for sign language and deaf culture grew, and she now enjoys incorporating signs into all her work with children and sharing the beautiful language. Rachel has also taken many art and theater courses and plans to continue her education.
After her fathers passing, Rachel had to take on all the responsibilities of adult life, learning life lessons and starting her first full time job as a nanny at age 16. While working and going to school, Rachel finished her child development classes and started working as a preschool teacher. Rachel has worked for La Petite Academy and Centro Infintal as a lead teacher. Rachel is now offering private enrichment art, theater and sign language classes while co-directing at OYES. She is also involved with facilitating youth art programs at Green Art People in West Ventura. Currently she stays busy acting with locally directed film, TV and Brooks student film projects. Rachel’s proud to announce the birth of her baby girl and is so blessed to be able to have work opportunities that will enrich the lives of children as her way of “paying it forward”.

Kat Payseno



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

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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.

Gai Jones

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Theatre educator/Director/Commercial Actress

Gai is the author of two Theatre Ed. textbooks.  She is a national workshop leader teaching Theatre youth and educators. She serves on the Educational Theatre Association board and is the founder of Sage to Stage, an acting workshop for active senior citizens.


She has been installed into the following Halls of Fame:  Outstanding Arts Educator for Orange County; CETA Outstanding Educator; CA State Thespians; EdTA Hall of Fame, CA; has been granted a Theatre In Our Schools Award with AATE; PTSA Service Award; she is a member of DAR, Zeta Phi Eta, AATE, EdTA.

Julija Zonic


Professional singer & musician