The O'Reilly's Need Your Help

My family and I need your help. For decades my husband and I have made our living as professional performing artists: working as actors, directors, choreographers and most importantly theatre educators. We have given freely of our time and talent to work with students of all ages in many different circumstances, while at the same time raising two brilliant sons (ages 21 and 17) who are also highly interested in the arts. Sadly, due to two unfortunate and unrelated circumstances, my husband and I have both lost our jobs as educators and teaching artists. We ask for your aid as we both enter a process of finding and transitioning into new jobs while simultaneously raising our sons.

A little more about us:
My husband, Allen, worked as an acting ensemble member for more than 20 years and the Director of Education for more than 10 years at a highly respected Atlanta Theatre company. Many well-respected professional theatre companies have now closed from lack of funding, and the state government has cut 90% of its arts funding. Now, unfortunately, the latest theatre company that is about to close is this very theatre, and Allan has just lost his job due to lack of funding.

I have taught skills in listening and physical and mental concentration that have enabled students to stop taking ADHD medications and control their behaviors themselves. Almost 100% of the students I have worked with privately on acting or interview techniques have gotten the thing they were auditioning or interviewing for at the time that we worked together. My husband and I have gone into schools in low-income neighborhoods and produce plays with the students to help them develop their speaking and presentation skills. I was even given an award for teaching excellence, which serves as a testament to my commitment to my full-time teaching job that I unfortunately lost in 2012 due to complications within the administration.

My husband and I long to continue to teach and change lives through our work. Our ability to give back by way of the arts has temporarily been stifled, and we humbly ask for any help you can send us in this time of transition.

We don’t just teach theatre to create new performers. We teach the skills necessary in theatre performance, which also happen to be the skills needed to really perform to your best level in all areas of life.
Any funds that come in after we get back on our feet financially will be shared with the other artists in our community who have been adversely affected by the closing of many of their work places.

Thank you for your support of the arts and the arts in education. Arts educators don’t just teach students how to better performers. We teach students the skills they need to be better human beings. Thank you for supporting my family and the arts and please share this with anyone that may be interested in the arts and/or education. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, I would be happy to talk with you.

Below, please find testimonials from former students and colleagues in the arts:

Teresa DeBerry has been a part of my life for a very long time. She helped to mold me as a performer more than any other teacher. She has always worked very hard to develop her students and herself and I can't imagine how difficult it must be for her to reach out like this. Please consider donating to her family - Tera Buerkle

"Teresa DeBerry taught my first theatre class in school and cast me in my first play in junior high. I went on to do a total of 15 more shows in junior high and high school. Alan O’Reilly also helped me with my college auditions, and I went on to be a Presidential Scholar in Theatre at Wake Forest University. I’m now pursuing an acting career in Atlanta, and KNOW I would not be here without their early guidance and passion for the arts when I first started. They both inspired the passion and drive in me, and I cannot wait to see what other lives they touch after this period of transition. " - Celia Quillian


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Teresa DeBerry 
Kennesaw, GA
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