Who We Are


Hearth & Mantel Theatre provides Mississippi with a community enriching creative environment by producing new and relevant works, offering theatre education for youth and adults, and creating opportunities for shared artistic experiences. 


Hearth & Mantel Theatre engages and cultivates a vibrant local community by exploring stories for Mississippi to nourish relationships and form a shared identity among those who call it home and those still searching.

We seek to do this by

  1. Producing theatrical productions
  2. Providing theatre education for people of all ages
  3. Celebrating and supporting the development of theatre in Mississippi 
  4. Fostering an invested public dedicated to the betterment of their local and greater community
  5. Cultivating empathy for others through theatrical storytelling
  6. And providing a sustainable and professional work environment for local and freelance artists



Founding Members

Michael Tobin – Technical Director and Resident Lighting Designer

Michaela Lin – Hospitality Director and Resident House Manager

Lydia Lippincott – Educational Director and Resident Costume Designer

Laina Kenyon – Founder and Managing Director

James Kenyon – Founder and Artistic Director

Frannie Maas – Communications Director and Resident Sound Designer

Mac Mitchell (Not Pictured) – Resident Playwright

James Kenyon
Artistic Director, Founder

James Kenyon, from Miami, Florida, graduated from Belhaven University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting and is currently working as the Associate Technical Director of the Performing Arts Center (PAC) at Jackson Academy. As the current artistic director of Hearth & Mantel, James seeks to create a space for community and expression. He is interested in art that offers people different lenses through which to view life and start conversations between people of varying backgrounds. As a director, he is most interested in small cast dramas and works featuring stories of unsung voices. He directed Hearth & Mantel’s inaugural production of If I Had Wings by Mac Mitchell in December of 2017. While at Belhaven University, James directed Milestone Around My Neck by Joseph Frost and assistant directed Night, Mother by Marsha Norman and Last Train to Nibroc by Arlene Hutton. He starred in Patrick Barlow’s The 39 Steps as Richard Hannay and Mike Grimaldi in Sketching the Soul by Jacqueline Lynch. He also appeared in Mississippi Opera’s Sondheim Cabaret at Dulling Hall in 2016 and worked with Shining Light Ministries as both a performer and technical associate in 2016 and 2017. In 2019, James appeared as Pavel in Hearth & Mantel’s premiere production of The Dying of Ida Greene by Michael Tobin as well as several Dismantled improv shows. Most recently, he appeared on stage as Albert in Big Mama’s Kitchen by Joseph Frost.

Laina Kenyon (Faul)

Managing Director, Founder

Laina Kenyon, from San Diego, CA, graduated from Belhaven University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Ministry. After having lived in California, Ireland, and Australia, Laina has decided to make Jackson home. Her cultural background and time abroad have made her appreciate diversity and culturally rich community. She is interested in telling stories of the marginalized and seeing art thrive in Mississippi. While at Belhaven University, Laina acted in the title role of Joseph Frost’s devised production of Johanne d’ Arc. She received KCACTF nominations for her work as Props Master and portrayal of Greenie in Mary Zimmerman’s The White Snake in 2017. Laina has also worked with the prison ministry Shining Light Ministries as a performer, spoken word team leader, and theatre team leader and director in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Laina Stage Managed and designed props for Hearth & Mantel’s inaugural production of If I Had Wings by Mac Mitchell in December, 2017. She played Sammy and designed props for After We Become Rain by Mac Mitchell in 2018. In 2019, she stage managed Hearth & Mantel’s production of The Dying of Ida Greene by Michael Tobin. In addition to contributing to Hearth & Mantel’s improv team Dismantled, Laina was last seen on stage as Bethany in Joseph Frost’s Big Mama’s Kitchen.