The Crew

Nurturing Creative Confidence Through Self-Expression and Theatrical Play

Ariella - Head Creator, Sound Designer, Teacher

Ariella Cooley

Head Creator. Sound Designer. Teacher
Bio
Strider Patton in a short sleeved shirt looks off camera left, smiling

Strider Patton

Project Management
Bio
Ariella - Head Creator, Sound Designer, Teacher

Chelsey Mony
Teacher

  • Favorite Character:
  • Alice
  • Favorite Magic Powers:
  • Flying
  • Favorite storybook land:
  • Wonderland
Bio
Mel is smiling with dark hair with heeavy bangs and large, stylish glasses

Melania “Mel” Rivas

Head of Product Development
Bio
Mary looks into camera with dark hair in a ponytail

Mary Eriette Atanante

Teacher and Characters
Bio
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Creativity is as important as literacy.

- Ken Robinson

The Rabbit Hole is a theatrical space where children are exposed to the creative arts in a playful way.

Our Approach

Arts education is about creating a whimsical atmosphere that is built around the joy of childhood.

Our Programming

Our programing is centered in make-believe, curiosity and kindness, allowing children to gain creative confidence and grow up with a sense of worthiness around their ideas.

Creativity is a powerful tool that lives inside every human and must be watered with nurture, wonder and care!

Here, we spend less time focusing on technique and instead center our program on the importance of imagination and theatrical play!

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Brooke Patton

Owner . Founder . Director 

My Favorites:

Brooke Patton

Brooke Patton spent that last decade in the classroom developing an imaginary play method designed to nurture creative confidence in early childhood education. She’s the leader of the Crew, having founded The Rabbit Hole Children’s Theater in 2012.

Having spent the first eight years in the classroom, she’s created heartfelt experiences for kids both in and out of the school. She’s developed lesson plans, theatrical kits, creative classes, and productions designed to nurture children’s creative development.

She came from a strong foundation in theatrical arts and graduated from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, where she studied Musical Theater. Brooke also holds a strong passion for human development linking the connection play servers for children’s creative development.

Her method is rooted in celebrating the creative process and honoring ideas that come from the child—allowing kids to discover the depths of their creative potential and grow up with a sense of worthiness around their ideas.

She is a mother to an incredible little girl and loves her family with her whole heart. 

Meryl Theo Press

HEAD CREATOR.ILLUSTRATOR.TEACHER

My Favorites:

Lady Lagoona - A fantasy character with a teal headdress in an under the sea scene

Meryl Theo Press has an affinity for play. She brings humor, music, visual art, and empathy to her work with the Crew at The Rabbit Hole. With these tools, she enjoys creating magical worlds for kids to inhabit, in order to stimulate their imaginations, encourage self-expression, and nourish joy.

In the classroom, her focus is on “seeing” the child. In her illustrations, Meryl appreciates detail and seeks a thread of storytelling. In summoning voices for The Rabbit Hole’s audio plays, she digs deep and scoops out the absurd characters within. She uses her longtime love of singing to bring musical elements to Rabbit Hole classes and productions.

Meryl studied printmaking and painting at California College of the Arts and has performed with various bands in San Francisco, the United States, and Europe. She has been a part of The Rabbit Hole since 2016. Meryl’s 9-year-old daughter Vida is her most treasured and valuable collaborator.

Ariella Cooley

HEAD CREATOR.SOUND DESIGNER.TEACHER

My Favorites:

Ella as Oliver Whizgear

Ariella Cooley has been teaching and creating at The Rabbit Hole since 2017. As a lead teacher, she uses theater games, song, dance, masks, puppetry, and crafts to tell stories with the kiddos in her class.

As sound designer, she pulls from her classroom experience to make the Rabbit Hole Queendom come to life aurally. Crafting whimsical underscores, creating kooky sound effects, and finding expressive character voices make her tasks endlessly enjoyable!

Ariella earned her B.A in Theatre Arts from UC Santa Cruz, focusing primarily on acting and directing. Her work as a vocalist and songwriter inspired her expansion to audio production and theatrical sound design.

At Rabbit Hole, she is able to tap into all of these artistic loves and fold them into her work with children.

Strider Patton

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

My Favorites:

Strider Patton is founder and director, Brooke’s husband, and partner in The Rabbit Hole. A third-generation self-taught artist, Strider grew up appreciating and making art.

He is a professional contemporary visual artist himself, specializing in sculpture, murals, and studio art. When he is not in his studio or on an installation, he is working with the Crew at The Rabbit Hole. Building sets, designing products, creative planning, and the occasional puppet show keep Strider involved with the company from many angles.

He has worked with youth and communities since he was young, valuing the role that creative expression plays in communities and individual lives.

Chelsey Mony

Teacher

  • Favorite Character:  Alice 
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Flying
  • Favorite storybook land: Wonderland

Chelsey is an actress, dancer, improviser and has an exuberant passion for musical theater. Her love of theater began when she was a little girl.

When she is not helping those in need, she found joy in performing in a community theater group in Las Vegas- having starred in multiple shows for the past 5 years.

Chelsey  moved to the Bay Area in 2019, and  joined the Rabbit Hole team. Her love of theater and wonder will be an excellent asset to the team as she encourages children to find their own unique love of theater and wonder.

Creating a safe space for children to exercise their imagination and creativity is her mission in this work.

Melania 'Mel' Rivas

HEAD OF PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

My Favorites:

Mel, a person with dark bangs and glasses, wearing a red cardigan, packs boxes at the Rabbit Hole Theater

Mel is an eclectic, curious and creative individual who has learned and experimented with many different arts & crafts forms since she was a little kid.

Fascinated by the healing power of art and its ability to express our inner worlds, she has pursued and completed studies in art, early childhood education and psychology.

Mel has taught bilingual exploratory art to children during the last 5 years and now she makes use of her passion for creativity and children’s education to bring The Rabbit Hole Children’s Theater ideas to life for kids all over the world to enjoy!

Mary Eriette Atanante

TEACHER AND CHARACTERS

My Favorites:

The ice fairy in front of her crystal palace

Mary has been a teacher at The Rabbit Hole Children’s Theater for the last four years. You can find her teaching a class, creating activity books, dressing up and performing for kids or jamming at a birthday party! 

A recent graduate from San Francisco State University studying Theater and Communications,  Mary  loves to help children unlock their imaginations and motivate them to create the wonderful ideas in their mind!

Mary Eriette Atanante

Teacher and Characters

  • Favorite Character:  Sabirel
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Flying
  • Favorite storybook land: Camelot

Mary has been a teacher at The Rabbit Hole Children’s Theater for the last four years. You can find her teaching a class, creating activity books, dressing up and performing for kids or jamming at a birthday party! 

A recent graduate from San Francisco State University studying Theater and Communications,  Mary  loves to help children unlock their imaginations and motivate them to create the wonderful ideas in their mind!

Melania 'Mel' Rivas

Head of Product Development

  • Favorite Character:  Sailor Moon 
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Flying
  • Favorite storybook land: Neverland

Mel is an eclectic, curious and creative individual who has learned and experimented with many different arts & crafts forms since she was a little kid.

Fascinated by the healing power of art and its ability to express our inner worlds, she has pursued and completed studies in art, early childhood education and psychology.

Mel has taught bilingual exploratory art to children during the last 5 years and now she makes use of her passion for creativity and children’s education to bring The Rabbit Hole Children’s Theater ideas to life for kids all over the world to enjoy!

Strider Patton

Project management

  • Favorite Character:  Wizard Merlin
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Invisibility
  • Favorite storybook land: Middle Earth

Strider Patton is founder and director, Brooke’s husband, and partner in The Rabbit Hole. A third-generation self-taught artist, Strider grew up appreciating and making art.

He is a professional contemporary visual artist himself, specializing in sculpture, murals, and studio art. When he is not in his studio or on an installation, he is working with the Crew at The Rabbit Hole. Building sets, designing products, creative planning, and the occasional puppet show keep Strider involved with the company from many angles.

He has worked with youth and communities since he was young, valuing the role that creative expression plays in communities and individual lives.

Ariella Cooley

Head Creator.Sound Designer.Teacher

  • Favorite Character: Pirate
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Flower Power
  • Favorite storybook land: Narnia

Ariella Cooley has been teaching and creating at The Rabbit Hole since 2017. As a lead teacher, she uses theater games, song, dance, masks, puppetry, and crafts to tell stories with the kiddos in her class.

As sound designer, she pulls from her classroom experience to make the Rabbit Hole Queendom come to life aurally. Crafting whimsical underscores, creating kooky sound effects, and finding expressive character voices make her tasks endlessly enjoyable!

Ariella earned her B.A in Theatre Arts from UC Santa Cruz, focusing primarily on acting and directing. Her work as a vocalist and songwriter inspired her expansion to audio production and theatrical sound design.

At Rabbit Hole, she is able to tap into all of these artistic loves and fold them into her work with children.

Meryl Theo Press

Head Creator.Illustrator.Teacher

    • Favorite Character: A drowsy cat with a cupcake farm  
    • Favorite Magic Powers: Flying 
    • Favorite storybook land: Narnia not under the white witch’s rule

    Meryl Theo Press has an affinity for play. She brings humor, music, visual art, and empathy to her work with the Crew at The Rabbit Hole. With these tools, she enjoys creating magical worlds for kids to inhabit, in order to stimulate their imaginations, encourage self-expression, and nourish joy.

    In the classroom, her focus is on “seeing” the child. In her illustrations, Meryl appreciates detail and seeks a thread of storytelling. In summoning voices for The Rabbit Hole’s audio plays, she digs deep and scoops out the absurd characters within. She uses her longtime love of singing to bring musical elements to Rabbit Hole classes and productions.

    Meryl studied printmaking and painting at California College of the Arts and has performed with various bands in San Francisco, the United States, and Europe. She has been a part of The Rabbit Hole since 2016. Meryl’s 9-year-old daughter Vida is her most treasured and valuable collaborator.