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Our Team

Kristianne Kurner

Founder & Executive Artistic Director

Kristianne founded New Village Arts in 2001. Trained as an actor and director, she has worked on every mainstage production at NVA, with her favorite acting role being John Wesley Powell in Men on Boats. Directing credits include: American Hero, Awake & Sing!, The Weir, The Nutcracker, Wait Until Dark, The Trip to Bountiful, Much Ado About Nothing, Summer and Smoke, True West, Sailor’s Song, The Waverly Gallery and A Lie of the Mind. Her work has received numerous awards, including San Diego Theatre Critics Circle and Patté Awards for Theatre Excellence. She is the recent recipient of the Clare Rose Sabbatical Award from Fieldstone Leadership Network. Education: BFA Theatre, The College of William & Mary; MFA Acting, the Actors Studio/New School.

Rae Henderson-Gray

Managing Director

Rae came to NVA after several years serving as the Membership Director for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Carlsbad.  Prior to that, she was the Music Director for LEGOLAND, CA for four years.  At NVA, Rae has worked in a variety of capacities, including (but not limited to!) Bookkeeper, Front of House Associate, Actor, Interim General Manager, and Controller.  She has a BS in Accounting, a BA in Theatre Arts, and is currently working toward a Master’s degree in Accounting.  She has appeared on the NVA stage in SudsAround the World in 80 Days, and Beehive.  Other San Diego theatrical credits include MOXIE, Moonlight, Diversionary, Starlight, and the Welk Resort.  

Junne Esguerra

Director of Operations 

As a “Navy Brat” born in Washington D.C., Junne Esgerra lived up and down the East Coast of the United States and in the Philippines before planting roots in San Diego. Junne’s performance experience is limited to a Square Dance recital in early elementary school, getting asked to leave a Hula dance in a family/friends Christmas performance due to having two left feet, and self-serenades in her car. She enjoys cooking, the outdoors, and traveling. Junne has her Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences, with an emphasis in Sociology, Political Science, and History, and earned a Master’s in Public Administration. Junne has a wealth of front-line and leadership experience working in the non-profit sector. Junne has owned and operated her own business and is well-versed in organizational development, compliance, and policy/procedure development. She is thrilled to be a part of the NVA team.

Joy Yvonne Jones

Associate Artistic Director 

Originally from Houston, Texas Joy Yvonne Jones attended The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and went on to study at the University of Minnesota in the Guthrie Theatre BFA Actor Training Program. Joy first discovered her passion for Theatre at the age of 10, when she was given the role of Harriet Tubman in the Black History Program at her church. Joy believes that every story has a purpose, and as an artist, she is responsible for giving it breath. She is a recipient of the San Diego Critic Circle Craig Noel Award for Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play for her performance of Saartjie Baartman in Voyeurs de Venus at Moxie Theatre.  She is an accomplished playwright and power as well as the President of the San Diego Black Artist Collective.  Joy comes to New Village Arts with over seven years of experience as a teaching artist. Joy is a creative hurricane working on the revolution at the speed of inspiration with her baby boy Leo James on her hip.

Ahmed Kenyatta Dents

Associate Artistic Director 

Ahmed Kenyatta Dents is a 20-year veteran of the San Diego performing arts and media scenes serving roles of Director of Venue Experience, Patron Services Manager, Systems Administrator, IT Manager, Development Associate, and Application Support Specialist, Ahmed has also been an in-studio producer, radio host, live event host, and voiceover artist. He has most recently been seen in the roles of “Mister” in Common Ground Theatre’s “This Is A Low” (2021), “Canada” in the Coronado Playhouse production of “Harlem Duet”(2021) and “Mr. Scruples” in the Genesis Opera production of “The Impresario”. Ahmed is also currently Managing Director of The Carlsbad Music Festival, and Board Member at Common Ground Theatre. 

Samantha Ginn

Director of Education

Samantha Ginn moved to Carlsbad, CA from the east coast in 1993 with her family and a very serious bowl cut.  She always had a lot of energy and found she learned best in school when teachers were using movement, theatre, music, and the arts integrated into their lessons.  Sam fell in love with being onstage when she was cast in her first production of “Robin Hood” as Townsperson #7.  From there she was hooked, and went on to get her B.A. in Theatre Arts from Sonoma State University.  After college, she has loved performing on stages across San Diego such as; New Village Arts, Moxie Theatre, Diversionary Theatre, ion theatre, La Jolla Playhouse’s WOW Festival, InnerMission Productions, and more.  Not only does she have a passion for all things theatre, she has a passion for working with people with neurodiversity through the arts.  She is so grateful to Kristianne Kurner and New Village Arts for recognizing the importance of inclusive theatre.  It’s at NVA where Sam was able to start initiating inclusive arts programs such as “Monday Night Live,” “The Mainstage Players,” and directing summer productions with actors with disabilities (The Little Prince, Secret Superheroes, The Great, Smelly, Slobbery, Small-Tooth Dog, Stellaluna, and The Mechanicals).  She is so thrilled to be the Education Manager at a theatre that has always felt like a second home.

Bre Eugenio

Patron Services Manager

Bre was first introduced to the world of performance as a dancer. She was represented by DDO Artistic Agency in LA where she went on countless auditions, landing jobs like being a background dancer on Dance on Sunset, Hoopersize me exercise video, a featured dancer in the Kung fu Panda music video, and dancing for the WNBA LA sparks basketball team as a Sparkid for two seasons. Now retired from dance, she came to New Village Arts to explore her love of theatre, and discovered a passion for working behind the scenes. Bre has worked front of house for 3 years, including House Management, Bar, and Box Office. She loves NVA, and is so excited to help the company continue to flourish! 

Sakshi Tiwari

Manager of Marketing and Engagement

Sakshi is from India, a country rich in culture and diversity. She made the difficult decision to leave a career in World Events and Intellectual Property in India that she had been developing for six years to move with her new husband and start a new exciting adventure! She feels like being able to work with some of the brightest, friendliest, and most empathic people at New Village Arts has opened up unlimited possibilities. Instagram Reels and preparing Samosas are two of her strong suits; let her know if you need help with either. She is a true Bombay gal who loves Bollywood dance! Namaste!

Kiara Hudlin

Lead Patron Services Representative

Kiara “Kiki” Hudlin is honored to be on the staff of New Village Arts. Kiki is currently working towards her BFA in Theatre Arts at Mira Costa Community College and previously studied Theatre at Humboldt State University. Although she is used to being on stage, she’s excited to be behind the scenes for once.

Lanette Granger


Born and raised in Los Angeles County. Math was my favorite subject in school, and it was a natural transition into bookkeeping. Earned a BS (Bachelor’s of Science) degree in Business Administration with a major in Accounting from Cal Poly, Pomona. Worked as a bookkeeper while raising three daughters. Later, earned a MLIS (Master’s of Library and Information Science) degree from San Jose State University, and worked as a cataloging and systems librarian at two community colleges. Did collection development for one of their Theater Arts programs. Relocated to San Diego in 2017, continued remote bookkeeping, and worked as a part-time librarian at SD Miramar College. Excited to work with such friendly and creative spirits at NVA. Their passion for their work is boundless, and for me to branch out to the nonprofit accounting processes.