Asheville youth theater

Ashleigh Goff steps down as Moppets artistic director

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

Ashleigh Goff

After more than a decade of bringing Shakespearean stories to life with the WNC students, Moppets founding artistic director Ashleigh Goff has taken her final bow as part of our staff. 

Fueled by a belief in the capabilities of young people to understand and perform Shakespeare’s works without linguistic alterations, Ashleigh helped to officially launch the Moppets in 2013 as an educational outreach program with the Montford Park Players. She ushered the troupe into a new era in 2020, playing a pivotal role in establishing the organization in its current form as a non-profit youth theater company.

“The Moppets exist as a thriving youth theatre company because of Ashleigh’s creativity and dedication,” said Executive Director Rachel Cort. “She never doubted that our students would meet the high bar she set for them, and that assumption remains at the foundation of all of our programs. We will miss Ashleigh, and we send our love and gratitude with her on her exciting new journey.”

Even though Ashleigh will no longer be a part of our day-to-day Moppetry, we haven’t seen the last of her! She’ll be guiding the madness in our Moppets Mayhem fundraiser this summer — stay tuned for more information!

Our 2024 season

Welcome to the 11th season of Moppets!

We’re so excited to share our 2024 programming! We have a great slate of classes and shows on the horizon for 2024, and we can’t wait to get started!

We’ll open the season with our One Act Festival, featuring plays written and directed by our own students.

Our first big summer show is The Winter’s Tale, in its debut on the Moppets stage.

The second show will be a return to Much Ado About Nothing.

We’re very apprehensive… uh… excited about this year’s Moppets Mayhem fundraiser. The Moppets will direct grown-ups from the community in A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

In the fall, alum Eli Hamilton returns to direct our senior Moppets in an intimate, experimental Hamlet.

To close the season, we’re returning to Tiny Tim and the gang in A Christmas Carol.

It’s going to be a great year!

“Romeo & Juliet: In Memoriam” cast announcement

Actors in "Romeo & Juliet: In Memoriam" pose against a black background

Meet the cast of "Romeo & Juliet: In Memoriam"


Front row, l-r: Henry Worley, Aidan Short, Maeve Cort, Charlie Mae and Niya Hromada.
Back row, l-r: Lucia Hess, Milo Norby, Alex McKay, Phineas Price, and Graham Esmon

The Moppets are thrilled to announce the cast of the upcoming world premiere of “Romeo & Juliet: In Memoriam”! 

  • Henry Worley as Tybalt
  • Maeve Cort at Mercutio
  • Aidan Short as Benvolio
  • Niya Hromada as Nurse
  • Alex McKay as Montague
  • Charlie Mae as Capulet
  • Graham Esmon as Friar Laurence
  • Milo Norby, Phin Price and Lucia Hess as Chorus

Adapted by Elias Hamilton and Ronnie Z. Nielsen, “Romeo & Juliet: In Memoriam” brings a fresh perspective to Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, transporting audiences to the solemn and emotional setting of the star-crossed lovers’ funeral.

See Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy in a fresh light as the Moppets explore themes of love, loss and reconciliation in a new way.

“Romeo and Juliet: In Memoriam” opens Friday, October 13, at Attic Salt Theater.

ROMEO & JULIET: IN MEMORIAM

7pm Friday, October 13

11am and 7pm Saturday, October 14

7pm Friday, October 20

11am and 7pm Saturday, October 21

Help the Moppets plan the 2024 season

Help us plan our 2024 season!

The Moppets staff is working to plan the 2024 season, and we’d like your input!

Our good pal Skyler Goff tells us he’d like to adapt a new show for next season, but he’s having trouble deciding exactly which story he’d like to tell. (Classic Skyler conundrum.) He gave us a list of approximately 11,726 ideas, and we’ve narrowed it down to five.

Use the form below to tell us what you’d like to see next summer! We’ll tally the votes on Monday, August 21, and let Skyler know what to start writing.

(Click here if the form isn’t showing up.)

Kayla Cody’s “Swords, Lights and Nuts” isn’t your typical “Nutcracker” story

Meet Our One Act playwrights: Kayla Cody's "Swords, Lights and Nuts"

This isn't your typical "Nutcracker" story.

We asked our One Act writers and directors to share a bit about their works with us. Here’s writer/director Kayla Cody on “Swords, Lights and Nuts.”

I’ve always loved telling stories and making my own worlds with a paper and pencil and my voice. I’ve always loved books and the way I could get sucked into the story. When I write plays, hopefully I can make a story the audience will get sucked into using my favorite way of writing: dialogue!

I decided to do a “Nutcracker” story because I always wondered what “The Nutcracker” was supposed to be about. Then my sister had the idea that “Hey, what if the (first) battle with the mice to big of a deal, and Clara gets taken?” That’s what I went off of. I decided a play would be a good way to adapt it because we’re used to seeing the ballet version. This way keeps it on a stage. 

Since I’ve moved a lot, I’ve done theater all over the country, and I’m constantly writing and directing plays and my sisters and I do together. Recently I’ve been in four plays with Asheville Performing Arts Academy, and this summer I directed a performance of my play “A Midsummer’s Doughnut” at a family reunion. “Swords, Lights and Nuts” is my first time directing a show that is open to the public!

I hope to learn about how to direct a group of people in a way that makes everyone feel good and gets amazing things done together.

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Graham Esmon looks to the future in Kurt Vonnegut’s “2BR02B”

Meet Our One Act playwrights: Graham Esmon's take on "2BR02B"

Everything is swell in Vonnegut's "2BR02B." Or is it?

We asked our One Act writers and directors to share a bit about their works with us. Here’s writer/director Graham Esmon on adapting Kurt Vonnegut’s “2BR02B.”

I very much enjoy Kurt Vonnegut’s distinct writing style. My favorite book of his is “Slaughterhouse 5.” I chose to put Vonnegut’s “2BR02B” to stage as it is a simple but extremely effective story that shows how a seeming utopia never functions for the needs or wishes of everyone under it. It also has a small cast, which is good for a One Act.

I have previously adapted and directing a short film version of “August Heat” by WF Harvey for the Moppets 2021 horror/comedy anthology show. I have written narratives for certain classes as well. This is my first play.

Graham Esmon has been a Moppet for five years. They previously directed the short film “August Heat” with the Moppets. Their pastimes include: magnets.

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Hunter Miyan puts a new twist on a class tale in “A Holiday Song”

Meet Our One Act playwrights: Hunter Miyan's "A Holiday Song"

A new twist on a classic holiday tale

We asked our One Act writers and directors to share a bit about their works with us. Here’s writer/director Hunter Miyan on “A Holiday Song.”

I was inspired to adapt “A Christmas Carol” because I’ve always loved watching all the different movie adaptations of it. I figured it would be fun to see what I would do with the story!

I have written other stories before, but this is my first play. I’m glad it came out so well! I love writing because it’s a way that I can express all the ideas and stories in my head and share them with other people.

Hunter Miyan is a new Moppet and a theater veteran! Hunter, 14, has been acting since age 8, including roles in “Peter Pan,” “Aladdin” and “The Emperor’s New Hair.” Our One Act Festival will be Hunter’s directorial debut!

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Meet Phin, our Moppet of the Month!

Phineas Price has range. He’s played everyone from Murderer #1 in “Richard III” to Bob Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol” on the Moppets stage since joining us in 2021! He tells us his favorite Moppets role was Fluellen in “Henry V,” and his all-time favorite was playing Ponyboy in “The Outsiders.” (We told you he has range!)

Phin hopes to someday join the ranks of Moppets royalty: He wants to play a king. We think that’s totally realistic — he’s already the president of his eighth-grade class!

When he’s not on stage, Phin likes to make spray-paint art, play basketball, and watch TV while eating grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

You can catch Phin on stage next in his school’s production of “Appropriate Audience Behavior.”

Meet Mia, our Moppet of the Month!

Sixth-grade homeschooler Mia Saidi has been a Moppet since last summer, when she played King Edward IV and Prince Edward V in “Richard III.” Her favorite role with the Moppets was in “Tartuffe” earlier this year. 

Dorine “was a really fun character,” Mia says, “because she was a little bit sassy and a little bit sarcastic but very loving. Like me!”

Mia would love to have a role in a big Broadway production someday. She especially likes “Hamilton” and “Little Shop of Horrors.”

When she’s not on stage, Mia likes to read, make art and play the piano. She also likes to hang out with her friends and play with her cat. And sometimes you can find her hiding under a pile of blankets in her room!

Mia most recently appeared on the Moppets stage as Bedford and Lord Constable in “Henry V.”

Meet Eli, our Moppet of the Month!

High school junior Elias Atwood is our longest-tenured Moppet and our current Moppets intern. Eli first appeared on the Moppets stage as Peter in “Romeo & Juliet.” Last season, Eli was our malformed malevolent titular supervillain in “Richard III” and half of Scrooge in “The Moppets Present: A slightly chaotic Christmas Carol.”


(Yes, we said “half.” You had to be there.)

Eli’s most recent off-Moppets projects include a starring role in director Missy Bell’s film “The Library at the End of the Universe” and working on the tech crew on “Algorithms and Blues” at The Magnetic Theater.