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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. 

The Playground uses high-level acting techniques taught at the top universities for acting in The Playground curriculum.The teaching artists have trained in a myriad of techniques such as Stanislavsky, Meisner, Uta Hagen, Viewpoints, Laban, Suzuki, Chekhov, Improvisation, Shakespeare, Single Sword Stage Combat, Voiceover work, circus, gymnastics, Linklaters' Active Breath, International Phonetic Alphabet (Dialect and Accent Work), Jacques Lecoq Movement forms, and much more. All of the teaching artists at The Playground have graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting or are currently pursing their undergrad or MFA degree. 

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. 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 supported by SMU's Engaged Learning, SMU's Big iDeas, SMU Meadows School of the Arts, and is partnered with Ignite Arts Dallas. 

Lead Teaching Artists

Katie Ibrahim

Katie Ibrahim is a Dallas-based theatre artist originally from Orlando, FL. She graduated from SMU with a degree in Theatre Studies where she directed, stage managed, and produced a number of productions, including directing Aaron Posner’s Stupid F***ing Bird. She has worked on numerous productions in NYC, Boston and Dallas. She recently was the Stage Manager for Pass Over at Second Thought Theatre and just finished Assistant Directing Hamlet at Shakespeare Dallas this past September. 

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Dylan Hudson

Dylan Hudson is originally from Florence, South Carolina and he is a current Sophomore at SMU studying Theatre and Business Management. Before SMU he had the opportunity to study at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities where he studied Stanislavski, Linklater technique, Shakespeare, Mask, Laban, Rodenburg, and Devised theatre. He has been a part of numerous productions and most recently was a Fellow at Dallas Theatre Center Public Works Dallas.

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Visiting Teaching Artists

Alysia Giakoumas

Founder

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 over 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. Alysia is based in New York City as of September 2022. 

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