Jo Ann

Civic Theatre of Allentown has named JoAnn Wilcheck Basist as Board President. Basist has been an arts educator for 43 years. Upon graduating with a BA degree in Acting/Elementary Education from Cedar Crest College and a Master’s Degree in Education from Kutztown University, she started her professional teaching career at St. Thomas More School in Allentown where she taught 5th grade for 21 years and was the director/creator of dozens of productions for the school and the parish during her time there.

Basist is a 1973 Graduate of the Civic Theatre School program. She started her tenure as a drama teacher at The Civic Theatre School of Allentown in 1981 and has been the Administrator of the Theatre School for the past 27 years. She has created numerous showcase extravaganzas for the Summer Theatre School program and has had the honor of mentoring some of the valley’s finest young actors. Basist works closely with Artistic Director, William Sanders and co-directs the theatre school productions with him. She has served on the Executive Board as First Vice-President for a number of years at Civic and has developed a Cat in the Hat Literacy Program that tours numerous schools in the Allentown School District as well as several other districts. Basist frequently appears as The Cat in the Hat to engage youngsters in an interactive reading experience at a variety of local venues. She has on numerous occasions developed special events and programming for Mayfair and The Cops and Kids Reading Experience. She has also taught for many years at The City Arts Cultural Camp (in collaboration with Civic) and has had the opportunity to collaborate with fellow Allentown Arts Programs.

Basist is an adjunct professor at Cedar Crest College where she teaches Acting and Public Speaking. She also frequently directs student productions at Northampton Community College and Cedar Crest.