ABOUT THE STAFF
Hayley E. Sorensen
Director | Owner
Mrs. Sorensen has been performing in professional community theater and local school theater since her grade school years. She has her Bachelor of Arts in English and her Master of Arts in Teaching degree from the University of Puget Sound. She is currently an English and Theater productions teacher in the Fife School District, as well as the director for the high school drama department. She has run a private vocal studio in which she taught basic vocal technique, jazz style, and jazz improvisation for seven years. Her studies with international artist Greta Matassa and Jenny Shotwell and extensive experience with live performing have fueled her desire to become a director and educator. Sorensen brings a numerous and diverse set of skills to her instruction of dancing, singing, and acting. One of her greatest passions is musical theater and inspiring young actors to pursue that same passion. She is tremendously grateful to teach in a community that is so supportive of the arts. Her mission with Neverland Theater is to create an enthusiastic and inclusive environment that is fun, educational, and inspiring for young actors of all experience levels. She is thankful to work with such a passionate and hardworking team every year.
Notable Roles: Miss Hannigan in Annie, Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Abby Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace, Vera Claythorne in And Then There Were None, Jester in Once Upon a Mattress, Snetsky in Fools, Snow White in Snow White, and Wicked Queen in Sleeping Beauty.
Emily R. Knox
Director | Owner
Knox has been the co-director of the Columbia Junior High School Drama Department for six years as well as a choreographer for Fife School District theater productions. She received her Masters of Arts in Teaching elementary education from the University of Puget Sound and is currently a first grade teacher at Collins Elementary in the Franklin Pierce School District. She has been performing in professional community theater and local school theater since the third grade. Knox incorporates all of her natural and trained abilities in dancing, singing, and acting in her work for the Neverland Theater Company. Her greatest joy is getting to work one on one with young actors to help them develop their character and comic timing. Additionally, she runs and owns her own photography and videography business in the Tacoma, WA area in which she does senior portraits, family portraits, wedding photography, videography, and more. Through her skill and proficiency in digital design, Ms. Knox creates all the promotional materials for Neverland Theater events as well as theater events for the Fife School District. She is grateful for the opportunity to share her love of musical theater, comedy, and acting with up and coming actors. Her mission with Neverland Theater is to encourage teamwork and build a family environment while exposing young performers to the joys of musical theater.
Notable Roles: Annie in Annie, Nancy in Oliver, Florence Ungar in The Odd Couple, Fairy in The Curious Savage, Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Betty Meeks in The Foreigner, Feste in Twelfth Night, and Bilbo in The Hobbit.
Mukai is a student at Gonzaga University studying English, Secondary Education, and Comprehensive Leadership Studies. Performing in 6 Neverland Theater productions over the years, from Neverland’s 1st production of Sleeping Beauty in 2014 to playing Donkey in Shrek the Musical in 2021, Mukai now works as Assistant Director where she combines her passions of musical theater and teaching. She is an active member of Gonzaga University’s theater and dance department– not only performing in productions, but also seeking professional development through undergraduate coursework in theater arts and graduate coursework in arts administration. Other professional theater endeavors include working as a junior counselor at local musical theater camps and serving as a teaching assistant for theater technique workshops. Grateful for the transformative impact of her experiences, she looks forward to drawing inspiration from and collaborating with the Neverland Theater team, aspiring to emulate the same enriching environment that shaped her into the individual she is today.
Notable Roles: Daisy in Rhinoceros, Donkey in Shrek the Musical JR., Kathy Cratchit in Scrooge: the Musical, Ivy in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Puumba in The Lion King JR., and Scarecrow in Dorothy in Wonderland.
Karl J. Sorensen
Mr. Sorensen received his Bachelor of Arts in music and his teacher certification from the University of Puget Sound. He has extensive experience in music education as a nearly 30-year public school teacher. His career started in the Walla Walla School District and Wishkah Valley School District where he taught music for K-12 students for 5 years. As part of the curriculum, Mr. Sorensen taught both instrumental and vocal groups, and he also produced several school musicals. The remaining amount of his career has been spent as the Music Director at Fife High School where he taught a total of five ensembles: Concert Band, Ladies First, Jazz Band, Da Capo Singers, and Jazz Choir. Over his years at Fife, all five ensembles have received dozens of prestigious awards and recognition annually from various festivals and competitions ranging from Canada to California. He has worked as the Music Director for the Neverland Theater Company since its inception and has added greatly to the diversity, complexity, and professionalism of music taught to young actors. He is tremendously passionate about working with kids and exposing them to new and exciting forms of music.
Mrs. Gore has been an integral part of the Neverland Theater company since its inception. She received a BA in Elementary Education from Central Washington University and has been a second grade teacher at Hedden Elementary School for 9 years. She now teaches at Fife Elementary School. On top of her full-time teaching schedule, she has also assisted with the Hedden Drama Club and Drum Ensemble every year. She began designing and constructing sets when her son was a student in the Drama Club at Columbia Junior High. For years she has been an incredible set designer for Fife School District and Neverland Theater productions.