About The Playground
The Playground Acting Program sets itself apart by focusing on high-level acting techniques typically taught at leading theatre schools, with a twist. We employ an innovative methodology that encourages learners to adopt a play-based, child-like mindset. This approach, deeply rooted in creativity and spontaneity, enables students to explore the depths of their abilities in a relaxed and enjoyable manner.
We believe in the power of 'play'. Our approach nurtures not just the craft of acting but also the actor's inherent creativity and imagination. Our courses are designed to help students discover and unleash their potential in an atmosphere that is as invigorating and fun as it is challenging.
The Playground Acting Program offers courses for all age groups. The youth and adult programs focus on honing acting skills while cultivating a lifelong passion for the arts. We extend our creative reach to the corporate world by offering improv-based classes. These classes are designed to help work teams foster a stronger ensemble, build trust, and improve their communication and problem-solving skills.
The corporate-focused courses also target the development of soft skills such as confidence and public speaking, which are crucial in today's fast-paced business world. Participants can expect to experience not just personal growth but also enhanced team dynamics and productivity.
The Playground Teaching Artists have trained in a myriad of techniques such as Stanislavski, Meisner, Uta Hagen, Viewpoints, Laban, Suzuki, Chekhov, Improvisation, Shakespeare, Stage Combat, Soul Work, 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.
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 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.
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.
Visiting Teaching Artists
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. SMU programming continues to support the program through providing space in their executive suite in SMU Expressway towers.
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 Entrepreneurship. 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.