About APAA

Appalachian Performing Arts Academy is a theatre arts education program serving Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. We work with students of all ages and cover a variety of disciplines. It is our goal to help foster a love of theater in our young students, expand the skillsets of our adult students, and bolster the confidence and creativity of all our students, no matter their age. We do this by offering three types of programming—outreach programs, individual coaching, and in-house courses.

Our Philosophy

There is a creative genius in all of us. Traditional education can sometimes bury that creativity in favor of more “practical” skills. Theatre education teaches those soft-skills often not taught in schools, things like: poise, confidence, self-initiation, empowerment, team building, and creative problem solving. We will help our students develop or improve many of these skills but above all these, our goal is to give you the tools to discover and reclaim your creative brilliance.

Whether you have your sights set on a career on Broadway or you are just interested in pursuing a fun new hobby, our professionally developed classes will give you the tools you need to meet your performing arts goals. We want to help you ace that audition, develop your original creative works, or find your creative voice. Our expert staff is here to guide you every step of the way as you develop your ideas, hone your skills and discover your unique talents.

About Michael Gerber

Michael grew up in Portland, Oregon. From a young age, he was interested in theater. Because of his modest upbringing, Michael took advantage of free programming in his local community, including joining several community theaters. It was there that he realized theater was not just a passing hobby; it was his life’s passion.

Michael received his bachelor’s degree from Western Oregon University before attending Ohio University to complete his MFA in Stage Direction. He has taught for more than 25 years at all levels and across the country. While he has performed, written, and directed professionally and semi-professionally.

Theatre education is Michael's passion. He is a trained, professional theater artist dedicated to teaching performing arts. He believes in the power of theater to change lives and has made it his life’s work to pass that gift to as many people as he can.