creative team

Arianna Hurtado | Actress, Instructor, and NECS Program Coordinator 

Arianna knows how important community service and social justice is to our community. She is an active community leader, advocate, and volunteer. Her initial involvement with NECS was in 2007 when she participated in “The Lorax” as the Lorax. In the 2020 summer she made a full circle when she applied to be a development intern. Arianna was asked to come on as an administrative assistant and quickly promoted to Program Coordinator in Fall 2021. She is also one of NECS’ Drama Instructors. Arianna graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she obtained a BFA in Drama with a minor in Business Entertainment Media and Technology. She looks forward to continuing to be an integral part of New Era Creative Space.

Natalie Anerson | Artistic Director

Natalie Arneson won the 2016 Manhattan Association of Clubs and Cabarets Award for Best Female Debut for her original show “Mama Drama.” As an actor she has appeared in New York with Playhouse Creatures, MCC, and the New York Musical Festival. She graduated from the Guildford School of Acting in England. While overseas she worked with Britt Eklund and Sylvester McCoy (of “James Bond” and “Dr. Who” fame, respectively), toured England and Germany in “The Importance of Being Earnest,” and was cast by Trevor Nunn in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s

“The Woman in White.” She is regularly seen on The Depot Stage and at 54 Below in concerts such as “Sondheim Unplugged” and “Simply Streisand.” She has worked in theater education for nearly 20 years and loves sharing her passion for musical theater with her students. She lives in Putnam Valley with her husband and three children.

Kristy Boyd | Artistic Director

Kristy holds a degree in Musical Theatre and a minor in Leadership Studies from Marietta College in Ohio, and another degree in Interior Design from the Art Institute of New York. She works as an Interior Designer at a small firm in Goshen, NY. Kristy first began working with children in a theatre setting when she was the Education Intern at the Pensacola Little Theatre in Pensacola, Florida. Since then it has been a passion of hers to work with children and teach and direct theatre. Kristy has worked with NECS creative team for over seven years as the director of the Children’s Theatre Company of Peekskill. Kristy would like to thank all of the kids for their energy, effort, and excitement towards the CTC production each year, and also to her fellow staff members for their continued commitment.

Susan Cody| Music Director

Susan Cody studied music at Ithaca College. She is a full time private music teacher since 1979, mostly piano, but flute and voice as well. She has taught classroom music and created a series of classes in the elements of music called “What’s That Sound?” Susan Cody has been the Music Director for The Children’s Theatre Company of Peekskill since its beginning in 2006. She is currently directing the One World Youth Choir. Susan has also had a lifetime commitment to furthering the unity of the human family. Among her many activities to this end was The Leaves of One Tree Race Unity Workshop, which she and friend Barbara Arrington developed and led for many community groups for over ten years. She shares her home and studio space with her graphic designer husband, Tom and spends as much of her time as she can with her nine grandchildren.

Leslie Fields Cruz | Artistic Director, Actor & Producer

Leslie Fields-Cruz has directed several youth theater shows including “Show Way”, “Henry Box Brown“, “Respect” , and “Change Reaction” with New Era Creative Space (NECS), and “Once on This Island”, “Grease”, and “Best Friends” with City Lights Youth Theater. When she is not playmaking at NECS, Leslie is the Executive Director of Black Public Media, a non-profit media arts organization that has funded awarded winning documentary films such as “I Am not Your Negro” and “180 Days: Inside an American High School”. Leslie is also the Executive Producer of the PBS series “AfroPOP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange”. She serves on the board of New York Women in Film & Television and lives in Cortlandt Manor with her family. In her down time…does she really have any? Leslie can be found watching sci-fi tv and movies, especially Star Wars.

Eileen Davis |Dancer & Choreographer

Brooklyn born and bred, Eileen now resides in Croton on Hudson with her husband and two daughters. She moved to the scenic Hudson Valley in 2000 to raise her own ducklings. In addition to the study of theatre and dance, Eileen spent 10 years traveling the world as a dancer. She worked with the “Le Masquerade” entertainment company, which brought original and “Broadway” inspired performances to the audience. Eileen has also produced and choreographed many shows for the children in her local school district.

Pete Donnelly |Song Writer, Musician & Producer

Pete Donnelly is a New York-based songwriter, musician and producer. A dynamic and engaging performer whose songs are both poignant and light-hearted, Donnelly is a founding member of the Figgs, who have a worldwide fan base and a lengthy discography, and is also an honorary member of the legendary band NRBQ. Pete’s Music is built upon sturdy pop melodies, and played with a genuine sense of care, Donnelly’s songs are testaments to his artistry.

Equally adept in the studio as the stage, Donnelly has spent the better part of his life producing, engineering, and performing on hundreds of records by artists such as Shelby Lynne, Soul Asylum, John Legend, Graham Parker and a myriad of others. 

Ocean Morisset |Photograher

Ocean Morisset an internationally exhibited, self-taught (freelance) photographer specializing in Photojournalism and Documentary photography. Ocean also explores Fine Art photography and engages with a wide range of subjects in life, though his passion remain in telling stories with images. Ocean’s choice of subject matter reveals his humanitarianism, as he has a keen eye for the unnoticed and under-appreciated aspects of life, and presents them in a way that the viewer takes hold of the image for their own self-reflection.

Ocean currently resides in Peekskill, New York.
You may view his work at

Sharon NDiaye  | Cooking Instructor

Sharon NDiaye is the owner/teacher of “Cooking with Kids” and she has taught hundreds of children in our community. She is passionate about multicultural education and cross-cultural understanding and is a self-proclaimed “foodie!” With a background in restaurants, international cultural immersion programs and children’s education, “Cooking with Kids” is a natural combination of Sharon’s passions. Sharon loves hearing from parents whose children have learned more confidence in the kitchen and who have expanded their food options as a result of her class! “Cooking Around the World” classes have helped many children learn important life skills!

Belle Ritter | Dancer/Choreographer

Belle Ritter began her professional studies at the High School of Performing Arts in 1983 where she received training in Classical Ballet, and Modern Dance techniques (Graham, Horton and Limon). In addition, Belle has trained at the Bronx Dance Theater, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Broadway Dance Center and Herbert Berghoff Studios in New York City. She continued to study dance at Purchase College Dance Conservatory, working with choreographers Kevin Wynn, Doug Verone and David Parsons. Belle has always sought opportunities to merge her passion for dance, commitment to family and community with the importance of a well rounded education as a performing arts educator/instructor throughout NYC and Westchester. As the owner/director of Dance Networks, in Peekskill, she has been able to create a family-friendly environment offering varied styles of classical, cultural and social dance classes for all ages.


Meredith Ziemba Art Instructor

Meredith Ziemba has been teaching and engaging the artist within for twenty years. Meredith’s educational experiences as Montessori arts teacher, art instructor, arts education administrator, and program designer insure that her students are encouraged to create their own works of art with confidence and technique.