Instructors
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Instructors

Matt Chapman is a performer, director, and teacher of physical theatre and clown. He is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Brooklyn’s Under the Table, collaborating on each of the company’s 11 works produced since its founding in 2001. Recently relocated to Oakland, Chapman spent the last few years on the Faculty at Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre in Blue Lake, California. He currently continues his work with the school as director of admissions and recruiting and as a guest instructor. He has taught clown at Marymount Manhattan College and Manhattanville College in New York, and has taught workshops and classes at such places as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Actors Theatre of Louisville, A.C.T., New York University, Vassar, Sarah Lawrence, Towson, the University of Iowa, Iowa State, James Madison University, University of North Dakota, Minot State, NYC’s People’s Improv Theatre, the New York International Fringe Festival, and the Brooklyn Arts eXchange.

 

Nick Gabriel is a Sadler Award–winning graduate of the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program and the director of Studio A.C.T. He is a principal actor in the resident company at A.C.T., where he has appeared in Scorched, Endgame (opposite Bill Irwin), Arcadia, Good Breeding, Napoli!, The Orphan of Zhao, and Once in a Lifetime. He serves on the faculties of A.C.T.'s ACTsmart education and outreach community programs, Young Conservatory, Summer Training Congress, San Francisco Semester, and M.F.A. Program. He is a collegiate instructor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and has guest lectured at several colleges and universities. Gabriel has also played principal roles in major productions at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, the Brooklyn Lyceum, Capital Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, New York's Town Hall, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), South Coast Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Center REPertory Company, North Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, and Saratoga Shakespeare Company. He starred in the West Coast premiere of Ordinary Days, directed by Ethan McSweeny, and was a principal singer in the world premiere of A Celebration of Leonard Bernstein with the San Francisco Symphony, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. Gabriel trained and danced with the Berkshire Ballet Company, is a certified instructor of the Michael Chekhov Technique, evaluates theater arts curricula for the New York State Education Department, and received his undergraduate degree in musical theater from the University of Michigan. He is a Ten Chimneys Foundation Lunt-Fontanne Fellow.

 

Mark Rafael is an actor, educator, and author. His Bay Area appearances include Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes and ReOrient Fest for Golden Thread, Ted Kaczynski Killed People With Bombs, Schrodinger's Girlfriend, and Joe Goode's Body Familiar for Magic Theatre, The Best of Playground (9 & 11), and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. He has also appeared regionally at Yale Repertory Theatre, American Stage, Wisdom Bridge, and Northlight Theatre, among others. Film and television credits include Titanic, Star Trek Voyager, The Practice, Babylon 5, and Wings. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.F.A. from Yale University. His book, Telling Stories: A Grand Unifying Theory of Acting Techniques, was published by Smith & Kraus.

 

Radhika Rao is an actor, director, storyteller, writer, and educator. She has performed theater on stages and streets all over India, Boston, San Diego, and, most recently, in the Bay Area. Some of the theaters Radhika has collaborated with are: Arabian Shakespeare Festival's New Works Festival, Douglas Morrisson Theatre, Asian American Storytelling Festival (Eth-noh-tec) in the San Francisco Bay Area, Olympians Festival, Leela Improv, New Conservatory Theatre Center, The Cutting Ball Theater, Bay Area Children's Theatre, Brava Theater Center, Contra Costa Civic Theatre, and SF Shakespeare Festival, where she is a resident artist. Radhika graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2009 with an Ed.D. in Culture, Communities, and Education, where her research focused on how theater could be used in fostering citizenship and transforming communities. She has taught theater to kindergartners, university students, as well as to diverse groups from nonprofit organizations, tech startups, and corporate organizations.

 

Patrick Russell has performed in theaters across the Bay Area including A.C.T., San Francisco Playhouse, Aurora Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Marin Shakespeare Company, CenterREP, Shotgun Players, Killing My Lobster, and PlayGround. Most recently, Patrick appeared in the world premiere productions of Trouble Cometh and 77% at San Francisco Playhouse. Film credits include the feature film Being Us, the web series SanFranLand, the short films The Secret Life of the Hotel Room and We Were Awesome, and the animated short film The Etymology of Zero. Patrick was the voice of GooglePlay, TiVo, and SlimJims.  His voice-over work can be heard in numerous radio and Internet advertisements. As an instructor at A.C.T., Patrick has taught acting and Shakespeare in the Summer Training Congress; acting, movement, voice, speech, and film with Studio ACT; and acting and improv in the Young Conservatory. As a recruiter for ACT’s various acting programs, Patrick has taught audition workshops at universities across the country. Other institutions in which Patrick has taught include The Academy of Art University, Shakespeare at Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center with California Shakespeare Theater, the Summer Shakespeare Conservatory at California Shakespeare Theater, and with Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s outreach program. Patrick received his B.F.A. in acting from the University of California, Santa Barbara and is a graduate of A.C.T.’s Master of Fine Arts Program.

 

Dominique Salerno* is an actor, director, and playwright. She holds an MFA from American Conservatory Theater and an AB from Princeton University. Her recent acting credits include: Love and Information (A.C.T.), Mr. Burns (u/s A.C.T.), A Christmas Carol (A.C.T.), Lysistrata (Faux-Real Theatre Company), and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Shrek, and Pirates of Penzancel (Santa Rosa Summer Rep). Directing credits include: Half (2014 Roma Fringe Festival, Italy), Imelda (A.C.T. SkyFest), and This American Life (A.C.T. SkyFest). Her own one-act play, So Small A Thing, was featured in the San Diego 2015 Fringe Festival. Salerno also has over a decade of improv performance experience, and has trained at the UCB Theater, Magnet Theater and The Groundlings. 

 

Rebecca Struch is a theater artist, educator, and community organizer. Before joining A.C.T., she received her M.A. in applied theater arts from the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts and her B.A. in theater arts and gender, women, and sexuality studies from the University of Minnesota. She has an extensive background in community and youth development through liberation arts and participatory research, including more than five years of training and experience in Theatre of the Oppressed and drama in education. Her domestic arts and community organizing experience ranges from devising new works with formerly incarcerated youth in Los Angeles to coaching youth in a pedagogies of art and social change program at Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota. Internationally, she trained in Brazil at the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed and has worked with therapists, youth, and health educators in Rwanda and Kenya. In Los Angeles, she served as the founding program coordinator for the Liberation Arts and Community Engagement (LACE) Center. Struch also worked with Peer Health Exchange for three years in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland. Most recently, she served as the Bay Area program director, training college volunteers and managing a school-based health education program for 2,500 high school students.

 

 

Ben Quinn is an actor, musician, educator, and music producer. He has performed onstage regionally, in the Bay Area, and in New York City, where he now lives. His recent NYC appearances include Phantom Pains (Benefit of the Doubt), and The Waterman (Ant Fest). Ben holds an MFA from the American Conservatory Theater, where he received the Carol Channing Award, and a B.S. from the University of Evansville where he received the Jeanne Suhrheinrich Award for Outstanding Senior. As an ACT student, he performed in A Christmas Carol, Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play (u/s), as well as many Conservatory and SkyFest productions. Ben has worked as an educator with ACT’s Young Conservatory, Stage Coach, and as a historical interpreter with the Cincinnati Museum Center. As a musician, he plays all around NYC in a variety of folk & bluegrass bands.

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