Read what parents have to say about the Asheville Performing Arts Academy!

My children have been involved with the Asheville Performing Arts Academy for more than a decade. Over the years, I have watched them grow in confidence and creativity. They have had fantastic teachers and have made the best of friends.

The community of APAA families is supportive and fun.

The performances are professional and a joy to watch. The only hard part is saying goodbye to a show when it wraps. I will always be grateful that APAA was such an important, central part of my son’s and daughter’s childhoods.
- Heather Abernathy, Sr. Director for Advancement, East Coast - University of Washington

Our ever-singing daughter Marta was in her first play with APAA as a community member in Spring of her Kindergarten year, at 5 years old. She loved learning the songs, wearing the costumes, acting with a friend, and performing in a theater with other kids. That summer, she got to participate in something really exciting, a one-week camp with APAA in which students prepared a fully staged and costumed premiere of a kids' version of the Mary Martin Peter Pan -- all the older kids were so sweet -- she got to surround herself with dancing, singing, acting -- and then do a real performance after just one week! It was enough to convince her, she wanted to do APAA's year long program -- which she's been a part of from 1st grade on, now in her 6th year of all APAA, all year!

While several other activities have come and gone in that time, every year we ask her, and every year she makes the choice again to recommit to the APAA experience.

She gets to be with teachers who know her, learn so many different shows, grow in her own singing, dancing, and acting skills and range, try different roles and exercises, and be accepted and encouraged in what really feels like a home away from home to her. Through her own experiences with APAA, I know she has a love for musical theater, and for her theater family, that will serve her and stay with her for a lifetime. We are grateful.

- Andrea Rosal

Asheville Performing Arts Academy has been an important part of our lives for over 5 years now. We feel so fortunate to have found a program with such amazingly talented teachers and kind-hearted students who share my son’s love of performing.The experiences APAA has afforded him over the years from performing on community stages to competing at Atlanta’s Junior Theater Festivals to interacting with Broadway professionals has been life-changing for a child who loves to sing, dance, and act.

There is nothing more wonderful than watching your child pursue his dreams within a community of friends that share his passion for the arts.

The confidence he has built and friendships he has formed are life lasting. Thank you APAA for teaching, nurturing, and inspiring my son and all these young performers every week. It feels wonderful to know my son has found his people.

 - Holly M.

Asheville Performing Arts Academy provides not only high-quality theatre education, but also a supportive community of creative, empathetic teachers and young artists.

Whether your child/teen wants to train for a professional career in the arts or just wants a space outside of school to explore their interests, learn responsibility and teamwork, and develop meaningful relationships, APAA will be a home for them. Having watched my daughter grow and change in this program over the last 8 years, I cannot overstate its value. Her dreams have shifted as she's gotten older, but the APAA staff have been there every step of the way customizing learning opportunities to meet her needs. My daughter has learned to work hard, to support her peers, to practice gratitude, to deal with disappointment, to resist injustice, and to be brave and authentic in expressing herself. As a parent, I'm profoundly grateful for the APAA family.

-Lyndi Hewitt

Heather Gallagher and her team of talented, professional staff have created a program at the Asheville Performing Arts Academy where kids who are passionate about the arts can fully explore their creative potential and thrive. Our daughter has been involved with the performing groups of APAA since she was in kindergarten. Throughout her time with the APAA, she was a member of both the Irish Dance team and The Company.

Here she not only learned to dance, sing, and act, she also discovered teamwork, professionalism (both on and off the stage), accountability (to herself and her team), and most importantly, a deep sense of friendship and acceptance.

These are HER PEOPLE! Our daughter would rather be in rehearsal than anywhere else. We highly recommend the APAA!

- Jen and Jason

Enrolling my son in a Community show through Asheville Performing Arts Academy when he was 11 years old was one of the best decisions I have ever made, for both of us. Although he graduated from the Academy when he was 18, he is still creating and learning with them in different ways. The APAA created a comfortable and safe space and opportunity for my son to express himself freely and authentically, to be creative, to explore and realize his passion for performing, theater, and acting. They provided the instruction, guidance, support, training, challenges, and show experience that laid the foundation for the actor my son is, and continues to become. They also provided a strong connected community, exciting fun adventures, and a sense of belonging and identity, which was so vitally important and valuable during his school years. The APAA is so much more than an Academy, it's an amazing family of talented and passionate individuals, both students and staff.

The instructors care deeply about each student, taking the time to understand who they are, what their strengths and challenges are, and how to help them succeed in reaching their dreams and goals.

The staff does an amazing job at developing a fun, exciting, collaborative, creative space where students can really feel free to express themselves, and be whatever character in the moment they need to be. All this while offering a comprehensive educational model that gives students well rounded training in the performing arts. I just can't say enough about APAA and our experience with them. The Academy and the instructors are family to us, and will always be.  We will always be grateful to the staff, and to the Academy for all of the gifts they brought, and continue to bring, to both of our lives.

- Anastasia Bursenos, Kiran’s mom

Heather and the staff at APAA are amazing. The training and direction they provide is above and beyond. They challenge, encourage, guide and love every child as if they are one of their own.

I have watched many children over the years learn and grow into amazing actors and humans. 

APAA knows that every child is different as is their path in life. My son, Hogan, decided when he was 9 years old that he wanted to act. On a whim I googled acting in Asheville and found the Asheville Performing Arts Academy.  Heather invited Hogan to attend a class to see if they would be a good fit. He sat crying in the corner the whole time. We didn’t think he would ever choose to return. Boy, we were wrong!! He went back two days later and has never left. He is now 20 and working on building his auditioning packages to move on to his next acting step in life. They say it takes a village and I am so grateful that I found this village to embrace my child.

- Hogan's Mom

My daughter has been a part of the Academy at Asheville Performing Arts for 10 years. She has received excellent instruction, in singing acting & dancing, and has loved every minute of it. I have no doubt that whatever she chooses to do in her future the skills she has learned at APAA will be integral to her success. Yes, she learned to excel in all areas of musical theater. More importantly, she has learned to express herself individually and artistically, which will help her become a creative problem solver! Her distinct voice will be heard!

She has learned to be an effective communicator, and a team player. She has thrived in this community, and learned skills that can be difficult to hone outside of a sports field!

Team work, achieving one’s personal best, striving towards a personal goal and a team goal at the same time.

Academy shows rival those of local community theater! They are simply a joy to watch, Heather & her amazing group of teachers weave theater magic! APAA is home. It is where our heart is.

- Katie Locke


From the moment Caroline joined APAA in 1st grade, her eyes widened and her heart began to sing. Now as a middle schooler, this group has been vital to her growth as an actor and a person. Not only is she learning how to audition like a professional and getting unparalleled access to Broadway, but the ability to share this journey with a multi-talented group of students and teachers is priceless.

- Elizabeth Roth