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The Company

The company

Glorifying Christ Through
Excellence In the Arts

CSDC was established in 2002. For co-founders Irene Miller and Marla Ripps, it literally all began with a dream and a prayer.  Irene had a dream, and Marla had a prayer for a place where God could be glorified through theatre and where  Christians could find an outlet for their talent.  Since 2001, CSDC has taught all aspects of theatre arts to students K-12.  Through this pre-professional training, the students are able to utilize their gifts and talents to serve others in any aspect of theatre or in business.

With God’s blessing and direction, we envision Crystal Sea Drama Company continuing to grow in its ability to offer classes and productions in a first class facility. Crystal Sea Drama Company is dedicated to training artists in theatre arts education and performance. 


In August, 2009, we moved into our current location – a warehouse at 8414 Speedway.  The building used to be an archery warehouse.  The space, affectionately known as “The Studio”, has been transformed into a black box rehearsal theatre complete with costume shop, extensive costume, props and sets storage, and classrooms.

Irene Miller, Artistic Director and Acting Instructor,  has been involved in theatrical productions since 1970. She has a degree in Theatre and Communications Arts from the University of Iowa. 

Marla Ripps, Lead  Costumer and Instructor, is a civil engineer who received her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M.


Arsenic and Old Lace, February 2020


the Staff

Irene miller

Executive Artistic Director, Founder

Irene Miller graduated with a Theatre and Communications degree from the University of Iowa. She is the Executive and Artistic Director for Crystal Sea Drama Company. She teaches Directing and Performance and directs two shows a year. She has been acting since she was young and has performed in numerous plays, including The Sound of Music, Arsenic and Old Lace, and The Hallelujah Girls. Irene has directed over 60 plays, including The Magician's Nephew, The Doctor in Wonderland and The Bard! She is the mother of nine children and has four grandchildren. Irene has been homeschooling for 34 years and loves to read, scrapbook, and spend time with her family.

Marla ripps

Founder, Photographer,
Costume Dept. Head Emeritus

Marla Ripps co-founded CSDC with Irene Miller in 2002. She has worked in some capacity in every show CSDC has produced. Her expertise can be seen in CSDC's makeup designs and applications, costumer designs and construction, and photography. Mrs. Ripps has a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University.

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Managing Director

Cristal Rubio recently joined our staff as Office Manager after giving us a lot of help with makeup in last year's productions. She will be teaching a Theatre Makeup class this year as well as keeping the ship afloat in the main office. The three youngest of her four kids have attended  classes at Crystal Sea since 2022. Cristal also owns a bookkeeping firm called BeautyPro Bookkeeping. 

Mike dannelly

Improvisation Teacher

Mike Dannelly was born a natural athlete, but his dreams of becoming an International Olympic Fencer  were dashed at the ripe age of 2 ½ years old in a terrible backyard accident involving a llama and a plastic kiddie pool. Mike was introduced to theater in high school and went on to perform throughout college and early adulthood. During his theatrical escapades, Mike was introduced to the world of comedy and laughter. He found that his true passion in theater was making people laugh and enjoyed hearing them have a good time. Mike harnessed the power of laughter and wit to become a professional improvisor. He's the former owner of ComedySportz San Antonio and has been teaching improv for 10 years with the last few being here at CSDC and is self-proclaimed "favorite teacher" to most of our students. 


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Kelly Hanson

Elementary Teacher,
Art Instructor

Kelly Hanson is a local artist and entrepreneur with over 20 years of professional experience. She has run several art related businesses including working as a decorative interior painter and running an international children’s art kit subscription business. She also spent over 10 years performing locally with the National Comedy Theatre and Comedy Sportz improv troupe. Currently, Kelly is a homeschool mom and teaches kindergarten in a hybrid model school. She loves teaching scenic painting, children’s theatre and art classes here at CSDC!

Gwen kandt

Director, Teacher

Gwen Kandt teaches English and Drama at Crestmont Christian Preparatory School in Boerne. She has been involved in drama ministries at four churches and led a homeschool theater program in Sioux City, Iowa. Over the years, she has written scads of skits, one-acts, and full-length plays for her students to perform, including two published one-acts: Do-Overs and Everyman 2.0. In her spare time, she reads, blogs (, and indulges in far too many desserts.

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Teresa fehrenbach

Costume Department Head,

Teresa Fehrenbach learned the basics of sewing in middle school Home Ec classes and has continued to create things with textiles through the years. She has made baby quilts and clothing for her children and grandchildren, costumes for her church theatrical productions, and most recently has been an assistant costumer and photographer for CSDC. She taught sewing classes in her home and at a 4H club a number of years ago and is excited to offer a sewing class at CSDC again this year. Samples of her work in sewing and photography can be seen on her website at

kari west

Teacher, Music Director

Kari teaches a vocal training class at CSDC and directs the musical aspects of most of our productions. She came to CSDC looking for a place for her daughter to pursue her love for theatre and quickly got involved herself. A private piano teacher, she has a BA in Music Business from Northeast Missouri State (now Truman University) and has played piano since she was 7. Kari and her husband Jeff recently co-founded South Texas Arts Academy in Devine, where she is the managing director and music instructor. They have five daughters; Kari homeschools the one still living at home.

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Teacher, Director

Grace Lynn is a proud CSDC alumna where she fostered her love for theatre from the years 2009-2018. During her time at CSDC, she trained for competitions in Shakespeare and other disciplines, where she collectively won over 17 awards during high school. After graduation she received classical training in London from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Royal Shakespeare Company, Dell Arté International, and Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance where she is set to complete her BA Hons in Theatre Studies.  Grace looks forward to bringing her knowledge and enthusiasm for theatre into her classroom. She hopes CSDC pupils will carry on the art of playing for the rest of their lives, thus illuminating God’s gifts through their abilities.



Jessica is a drama teacher at South Texas Arts Academy and works in the entertainment department at SeaWorld San Antonio. She got involved in theater when she was six-years-old and immediately fell in love with it. Jessica began as a student at Crystal Sea Drama Company several years ago. She is thrilled to now be teaching at CSDC and sharing the joy of theater with her students.

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rhapsody hanson


Rhapsody is a CSDC alumni with a natural passion for theater. She joined CSDC in 2019 and has been acting and helping in shows ever since. She values the skills she has gained from Crystal Sea and how it has helped her to grow. She is very grateful for everything that she's been able to learn at CSDC and how she can now share that knowledge and passion for theater through teaching.


Technical Director

Steve Dunn is a former high school thespian and retired Army chaplain with Masters Degrees in Christian Counseling and Religious Education. He likes to tinker with woodworking and participate in long distance rucks/runs in his free time. He is the father of three boys who have been involved with CSDC as students for 6 years.

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