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Award winning teacher!
Award winning performer!
Award winning researcher!
Professional ​
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Master of Ceremonies


Group Facilitation





Dr. Sonny Kelly is a master of storytelling, acting, Shakespeare, theater arts, poetry, spoken word, group facilitation, interpersonal communication, performance studies, training and teaching.  He captures the attention and imaginations of audiences of all ages with the power of words.  Whether he is speaking English or Spanish, this artist knows how to use humor, energy, drama and intellect to engage all crowds, both large and small.


With over 20 years of experience as a professional actor, over a decade of youth work, and a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies, this artist knows the smart way to tap into the minds of students and workers of all ages. 

As a scholar, Sonny's focus is in Communication Studies, Interpersonal Communication, Performance Studies, and Critical Pedagogy. 

He is currently a full-time instructor of Communication at Fayetteville Technical Community College in Fayetteville, NC


He has taughtPublic Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, Introduction to Performance Studies, Performing LiteraturePerforming Culture, as well as Success & Study Skills


He has been a Teaching Assistant forIntro to Interpersonal & Organizational Communication, Intro to Performance, Intro to Media Production, Performing African American History, Organizational Communication, and Business Communication.

Dissertation: Pipelines to Pathways: Reframing and Reclaiming Black Youth Identity through Performance


Past credits include

- Award winning teacher of Interpersonal Communication, Organizational Communication, Public Speaking, and Performance at the community college and university levels.

- Served as a decorated officer in the U.S. Air Force.

- Served as an international aid volunteer, trainer, translator and community liaison in Ecuador and Mexico.

- Group facilitation for Theater Delta, Boomerang Youth, Inc., Floraffiti,  Hidden Voices, the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, and Fayetteville Urban Ministry

- M.C./Comedian for Cumberland County Human Relations Commission, Fry Foundation, several churches, Fayetteville Urban Ministry, Junior League of Fayetteville, Dublin Peanut Festival Scholarship Pageant

- Keynote speaker for North Carolina Juvenile Services Association, Action Pathways, Aspire Program, United Way of Cumberland County and Fayetteville Urban Ministry fundraisers.

- Storytelling with Black Storytellers' Alliance (MN), National Association of Black Storytellers and numerous schools and organizations across the nation


Film & T.V.

Friday Night Lights       Featured Guest               Direct TV 

Short Film Cinema       Co-Host                             Jabez Productions

Sandwich                      Supporting Actor             P.U.S.H. Productions

Chasing the Light         Narrator (bilingual)         Bauhaus Media Group, Inc.

Path of Life                   Supporting Actor             Promobile Productions

Stairway to Heaven     Supporting Actor               Lensville Productions



Fayetteville Duck Derby

U.S. Agencies Insurance (Regional)

Time Warner Cable (National)                                          

Gunn Honda                                                                                             

3M Web Commercial                                                                         

Northpark Mazda (Voice)                                           





Fayetteville Urban Ministry Intro              Time Warner Cable

Battlemind Training Video                         Kudzo Productions & U.S. Army

FAFSA Instructional Video (’07, ’08, ‘09)    T.G., Buckalew Media, Inc.

Freedom Calls                                              Motivational Productions

Texas Dept of Health Training Video       Clear Pictures

ACH Fryer Management Training             Hanahawk Communications, Inc.



The Talk                                      Writer/Actor                    Original 1-man show

Color of Courage                       Actor                                 Original 2-man show

Black, Blue & Invisible               Actor 2                              Mike Wiley Productions, NC

Hope’s Light                               Writer/Director                SonnyRey Productions, NC

The Piano Lesson                       Avery                                 Cape Fear Regional Theatre, NC

The Parchman Hour                Stokely Carmichael         Cape Fear Regional Theatre, NC

Othello                                       Iago                                   Cape Fear Regional Theatre, NC

To Kill A Mockingbird               Tom Robinson                Cape Fear Regional Theatre, NC

Storytelling                                 Storyteller                       Play Pen Theatre Troupe, NC

As You Like It                             Orlando                           The Gilbert Theater, NC

The Merchant of Venice           Bassanio                         The Gilbert Theater, NC

In the Blood                                Jabber                             The Gilbert Theater, NC

Taming of the Shrew                Petruchio                        The Gilbert Theater, NC

Midsummer Night’s Dream     Oberon                            The Gilbert Theater, NC

Arsenic and Old Lace                O’hara                              Angelo State Univ. Drama Dept

Statements After An Arrest…   Errol Philander              Stanford Univ. Drama Dept

Tales From the Sea                    Male Lead                       Stanford Univ. Drama Dept




National Institute for Staff & Org Development (NISOD) Excellence Award      2022

UNC Chapel Hill, Department of Communication, Sherrill-Pence Award for     2019

Applied/ Engaged Communication


UNC Chapel Hill Initiative for Minority Excellence, Chancellor’s Doctoral          2018 Candidacy Award


UNC Chapel Hill Tanner Teaching Assistants Award for Excellence in                2018

Undergraduate Teaching


UNC Chapel Hill Department of Communication Martha Nell Hardy Award     2018

for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching


UNC Chapel Hill Student Undergraduate Teaching and Staff Award for            2017

Undergraduate Teaching


UNC Chapel Hill North Carolina Excellence Award                                                 2015

Cumberland County United Way Volunteer of the Year                                        2014

Story teller

"I believe that the oral tradition is the best way we have to pass on the best elements of our heritage onto the next generation.  I use storytelling to teach timeless lessons and to connect communities and generations."




"I was designed to perform.  It's like breathing to me.  I breath life into my characters, and make each one authentically quirky, rich and fluid."



Speaker (MC, Host, Key Note Speaker, and Motivational Speaker)

"I can orchestrate an awards ceremony, motivate youth, train business leaders in constructive communication and team building.  If you need it done, my words and energy will engage, entertain and edify bridges!"



"When I'm on stage, my mission is to give the audience all that I have!  I come with electric energy, crazy characters, and thought provoking stories.  It's all clean and it's all hilarious!" 

UNC Chapel Hill
PhD, Communication, 2020
St. Mary's University, San Antonio, TX
MA, Communication Studies (Performance Studies), 2008


Stanford University

​BA, International Relations (Minor: Economics), 1998


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