About The Playground

Acting Program 

Alysia Giakoumas first came up with the idea for The Playground in high school, after taking an entrepreneurship class at Southern Methodist University (SMU), Alysia discovered the opportunity to begin her program through the SMU Big iDEAS pitch contest, which won her $1,000 in startup money along with countless support and resources. After her big win, Alysia applied to and won grants within SMU and eventually won her second Big iDeas contest. 

Alysia uses high-level acting techniques taught at the top universities for acting in The Playground curriculum. She has trained in Stanislavsky Technique, Meisner, Uta Hagen, Viewpoints, Laban, Suzuki, Chekhov, Improvisation, Shakespeare, Certified in Single Sword Stage Combat, Voiceover work, trained with 8th generation circus star in floor gymnastics and the Lyra, Linklaters' Active Breath, International Phonetic Alphabet (Dialect and Accent Work), Jacques Lecoq Movement forms, and much more. Alysia graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting. 

As we become adults we shut down our instincts and forget the importance of PLAY because we are afraid of what others might think or that we will look silly or immature. At The Playground, we encourage students to explore that child-like mindset that gives us the permission and the freedom to explore ourselves as an artist. 

The Playground Acting Program encourages empathy and enhances the self-esteem of students. We are devoted to creating a diverse, encouraging, accepting, friendly, and no-judgment environment for students to become the best actors they can be. The Playground is committed to the individuality of each student and promotes the idea of “J.O.Y.” (Journey Of Yourself).

The Playground is supported by SMU's Engaged Learning, SMU's Big iDeas, SMU Meadows School of the Arts, and is partnered with Ignite Arts Dallas. The Playground Acting Program is integrated into SMU's First-Year Artist Community Experience (FACE) Class. The curriculum of the class explores the entrepreneurship side of being an artist. The class explores concepts about how to brand yourself as an artist, how to collaborate with others, and network within your community. FACE is a required class that all the first-year Meadows School of the Arts students take. 

About The Founder and Teaching Artist

ALYSIA GIAKOUMAS is an Actor from West Palm Beach, Florida, who studied acting at SMU Meadows School of the Arts with a minor in Arts Enteurpenuship. In her senior year at SMU, she won the prestigious SMU Outstanding Woman Award for her accomplishments with The Playground, her dedication to serving her community, and her devoted involvement in SMU programs. Giakoumas has almost a decade of experience teaching Acting at a myriad of premier programs such as G-Star School of the Arts (FL), Dallas Theatre Center (TX), FUMC Drama (FL), various schools, and through private lessons. Alysia works professionally as an Actor while helping others pursue their dreams. She has acted professionally at Dallas Theatre Center, Echo Theatre,  participated in staged readings for Off-Broadway Theatre, Theatre East, and has been in several short and feature films and commercials. 

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