About Us 

The Acton Cooperative Theater, known as The A.C.T., is a non-profit theater organization for children in Kindergarten through Grade 12. The A.C.T. welcomes children and teens interested in exploring the world of theater. 

Who We Are 

LYNDA BURGESS (Owner, Executive Director, Executive Producer): Lynda founded The A.C.T. in November 2010 after producing and directing with StarzNLightz Productions. Lynda is originally from New York where she studied Music, Communications, Audio Engineering and Dance. While in NY, Lynda worked at one of NYC's top radio stations. Since moving to Massachusetts, Lynda has performed with several local theater companies and was a Medical Office Manager with Partners Healthcare and Emerson Hospital where she ran multi-specialty offices for Pediatric, Adolescent and Adult Medicine. Lynda is a mother of two beautiful children, who share her passion and love for music, theater and dance.

SHANNON CALLISON (Director/Producer): Shannon is a creative spirit with a love of people and a passion for the arts. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 1996 with a degree in English and Communications and worked as a corporate writer for many years. Shannon has always loved theater and upon moving to Massachusetts, joined The A.C.T where she has directed and produced more than 20 shows featuring kids of all ages, from kindergarten to high-school. During the summers of 2013-2016, Shannon had the opportunity to attend sessions at the Broadway Teachers Workshop in New York City where she trained under some of Broadway’s most elite directors, producers, choreographers and performers. Shannon is the President of Acton-Boxborough Friends of Drama and lives in Acton with her husband of 21 years and their four children. 

EMILY JONES (Director): Emily is a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she majored in theater. Emily has experience working in children's theater and has a wide range of theater skills, including directing, stage managing, costuming, and lights. 
RUTH BENDIG (Music Director): Ruth has worked as a performer for many years, appearing in theatres from Chicago, IL to Edinburgh, Scotland.  She was an MFA candidate at The Theatre School at DePaul University, and worked for many years as a production coordinator for television commercials. She has been with The A.C.T. since it was founded in 2010 and has provided the musical direction for all of their main stage musical productions. 

MARIE ROBB (Costume Designer): Marie has been designing costumes for the A.C.T. productions since 2011. She has also designed for Children's Theater companies StarzNLightz and Acton Teen Repertory Theater as well as for RJ Grey Junior High School musicals, including Seussical, Alice in Wonderland, Annie Warbucks and Honk!. Marie is an Operating Room nurse at the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, in Burlington and a mother of four.

TROY FANTON (Stage Manager and Crew Chief): Troy began his adult theater career as the Stage Manager for StarzNLightz productions of the Wizard of OZ and Cinderella.  Troy was heavily involved in theater in high school and learned all aspects of theater from lighting, sound, stage design, construction and stage management.  He wrote several plays in college and continues to enjoy the creative process of the theater. 

NICOLE FLAHERTY (Choreographer): 

Nicole's training includes 14 years of dance with Janice Zawodny at Mill City Dance in Chelmsford, MA and 3 years of dance with Dean College in Franklin, MA. Nicole is currently getting her BA in both dance and business at Dean College. Nicole has recently danced in the Pre-game show for the NFL Season Kick Off game for the Patriots. Nicole was the dance captain at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School for their drama department, Proscenium Circus from 2013-2015. In addition to her work with the A.C.T., Nicole teaches Barre at Gina's Studio of Dance and Fitness in Boxborough, MA and has also choreographed for Sue Bonito's summer camp at Indian Hill Music School in Littleton, MA.

GINA FLAHERTY (Choreographer): Gina began her formal dance education and training in 1975 under the direction of the Boston area’s leading dance instructors. Since then she has performed and choreographed for many dance troupes and companies in the Boston area. Her training began with Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Hip-Hop and she has now expanded her solid dance and fitness foundation to teach Zumba. Her depth of dance knowledge and breadth of experience enable her to bring a variety of dance elements to all of her students and classes. Gina is currently teaching Zumba in Boxboro at Fitting Fitness In and in West Concord at Gold’s Gym and also works as a Choreographer for various musical theatre programs in the area. Gina creates a learning environment that is always positive, inspiring, warm and friendly. Gina is happy to share her expertise and love of dance and fitness with everyone she meets.

CHARLES STREFF (Production Assistant):  “Charlie” has been active in the theater scene in Acton and Concord for many years, on stage (most recently appearing in Amadeus) and behind the scenes.  As the consulting clinical psychologist for The Fenn School in Concord for 25 years, he worked there with the directing team for more than 20 productions.  He is honored to be part of the A.C.T. team, working with all these talented young actors.

MIKALA NIMS (Choreographer): Mikala has trained recreationally and pre-professionally in multiple styles of dance including Contemporary, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Ballet, and Tap. She has had the pleasure to  choreograph dances for the Dance and the Theater Program at Pegasus Summer Camp for many years. Mikala’s dances received “ Most Likely to be on Broadway” award, “Best Choreography” award and “Crowd Pleaser award for choreographed dances at Curtis Middle School’s Dancing With the Staff Event. Mikala also contributed choreography for the opening number in Wonderful Town, which is one of the productions she performed with the LSB Players. Mikala’s been cast in lead dance roles in the musicals Chicago and Wonderful Town as well as in the dramatic play Regarding Electra all performed by the LSB players.