Founder/Producing Artistic Director
Joanie McElroy is a Birmingham native having graduated from the University of Montevallo in Alabama with a B.F.A. in Theatre and a M.Ed. from Mercer University in Atlanta. By day, she is an educator at South Forsyth Middle School in Cumming and by night and weekends, plays at the theatre. In 2014, she founded Merely Players Presents and incorporated in 2018 as a non-profit corporation. Over the past 20 years, most of Joanie’s time at the theatre has been spent in the director’s chair, but finds producing plays and bringing other artist’s dreams to life part of her mission. In 2008, she wrote a one-woman play, Thus Spoke the Mockingbird, dealing with the life and work of Harper Lee which has been performed several times, most recently in 2018 to favorable reviews. Her theatre company continues to flourish including a writer’s group, Merely Write!, and a devised theatre group planned for the near future. Some of the plays Joanie has directed over the years include The Rainmaker, Death of a Salesman, Proof, Our Town, Clybourne Park, God of Carnage, Of Mice and Men, Ages of the Moon, To Kill a Mockingbird, and A Raisin in the Sun for which she won “Best Director of a Play” by the Metropolitan Atlanta Theatre awards. A lifelong Alabama football fan, Joanie shares a blessed life with husband Steve and is the proud mother of Nicholas, Ian, and Barbara and grandmother to Myles. Her cup overflows.
“IN THE END… We only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have,and the decisions we waited too long to make.” ― Lewis Carroll
Director of Development
By day, Jillian can be found as one of Northside Hospitals Cancer Institute’s Operations Coordinator or behind the lens shooting at Jillian Walzer Photography. Jillian graduated from University of Vermont with an Allied Health and Sciences degree; however Jillian’s creative side is a must! As an Atlanta-based actress, she has had the pleasure of working with several local theatre companies around town including: Bad Seed Theatre Company, Lionheart Theatre Company, New Origins Theatre, Onion Man Productions, OnStage Atlanta, and Stage Door Players.
Prior to Atlanta, Jillian lived East to West Coast performing on stage as well as in front of the camera. A couple stage favorites are: Tina in TONY N' TINA'S WEDDING, Myrtle Mae Simmons in LEND ME A TENOR, Mary in LAUGHING STOCK Lou in IN LIEU OF FLOWERS and producing VAGINA MONOLOGUES, marking that as one of her greatest achievements.
Jillian is currently a MainStage Actor with Sketchworks Comedy where she performs regularly throughout the year at The Village Theatre and beyond. She too is the former Executive Artistic Director at Onion Man Productions and is thrilled to be sitting on Merely Players Presents Board.
Writing Development Coordinator
Daniel Guyton is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter from Atlanta, GA. His plays have been produced nearly 500 times around the world, and he has been published in over 40 anthologies and solo publications, including several of the Best American Short Plays collections. His play “Three Ladies of Orpington” recently won 7 awards from the Metropolitan Atlanta Theatre Awards. He is a theatre professor at Georgia State University and Georgia Military College, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Writers Guild of America East. In addition, he is a member of the Fayette County Arts Council, and is a board member of the Georgia Theater Conference. For more info, please visit: www.danguyton.com.