Faculty

Faculty

LIZ ANDERSON is an actor, filmmaker, teaching artist, and native San Franciscan. She is a graduate of the San Francisco School of the Arts theater program and holds a B.F.A. in theater from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. She has served as a bilingual arts educator and curriculum designer in public schools in Los Angeles and San Francisco, master teaching artist for the Brava Theater Academy, theater department chair for the Academy of Arts and Science, and program director for the Stonestreet Studios NYU Tisch LA Intensive Program. Anderson has worked with California Shakespeare Theater, Magic Theatre, Brava, Playwrights Foundation, and is a company member with the Leela Faculty Armando Ensemble and PlayGround at Berkeley Rep. Her film, TV, and voiceover work includes Trauma, Dyke CentralSanFranLand, Bioshock Infinite, TV pilot The Grey Area, WWII sci-fi film The Toll, as well as numerous TV and radio commercials.

CRISTINA ANSELMO is an actor, director, and teaching artist. She has been teaching Introduction to Film Acting for both the Studio A.C.T. and the Young Conservatory during the last six years. She has worked in episodic, industrials, and commercial formats both in L.A. and the Bay Area. In addition to on-camera work, she has worked in narration and voiceovers. In the Bay Area, she has appeared on stage at SF Playhouse, Capital Stage, Jewel Theatre, Stanford Summer Repertory, TheatreWorks, and Pacific Rep, among others. LA credits include shows at A Noise Within and Grove Theatre Center. She was a member of Theatre of N.O.T.E., Actors Alley at the El Portal, and Pasadena Shakespeare Company. In addition, she was a member of the inaugural class of the Antaeus Academy under the artistic directorship of Dakin Matthews. She trained at LAMDA, and received her B.A. at Santa Clara University.

HEIDI CARLSEN is a director and experimental theater artist whose 15 years teaching experience spans kids to adults in New York, California as well as Poland. She most recently directed You Can't Take It With You and Into The Woods in the Bay Area. Carlsen has presented in numerous venues including: BAX, NYTW, The New School, Ontological-Hysteric, HERE, Judson Church and in L.A. at REDCAT and Highways. Carlsen received a Fulbright Scholarship to Poland where she created a dance/opera titled, +--Infinity. She graduated with an MFA in directing from CalArts. Heidi is a Feldenkrais practitioner who specializes in working with performing artists.

NANCY CARLIN is an actor, director, writer, producer, dialect and vocal coach, and acting teacher. A former company member of the American Conservatory Theater, Nancy is a longtime associate artist with the California Shakespeare Theater and a member of PlayGround. She has performed and directed extensively in regional theaters, including A.C.T., Berkeley Rep, San Jose Rep, Aurora Theatre, Shotgun Players, and the Oregon, California, Santa Cruz and Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festivals. As playwright, her musical, Max Understood, was developed at the O’Neill National Music Theatre Conference and the New York Musical Theater Festival, and premiered at the Cowell Theater in SF this year. Nancy co-produced the feature film Haiku Tunnel and has appeared in a number of films. Ms. Carlin is a member of SDC, AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and the Dramatists Guild. She is the recipient of numerous Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, and DramaLogue awards for Best Principle Performance, Best Supporting Performance, and Best Director. Carlin is a Lecturer at the University of California Santa Cruz and teaches for Cal Shakes, A.C.T., Berkeley Rep, ArtsBridge, Stagebridge, and coaches privately. She holds a B.A. in comparative literature from Brown University and an M.F.A. in acting from A.C.T.

MICHAEL TRUMAN CAVANAUGH earned an Honors BFA in Stage Management from the University of Utah, a Masters in Puppet Arts from the University of Connecticut, and completed the Professional Training Program at Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. He is a teaching artist at the Berkeley Playhouse, the Kinetic Arts Center, and Circus of Smiles. Michael also teaches clown classes for adults with his program Everybody Laughs. Michael is a member of Actor’s Equity Association, Union International de la Marionette-USA, Puppeteers of America, and the San Francisco Bay Area Puppetry Guild.

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.

LAUREN ENGLISH is a founding member and Artistic Associate at The San Francisco Playhouse where she also serves as Casting Director, casting all mainstage and Sandbox productions. Most recently she directed The World Premiere of 1 2 3 by Lila Rose Kaplan in The SF Playhouse's Sandbox Series. Some of her favorite Playhouse roles include: Kate inSeminar (TBA Award Nomination), Pilot in Grounded, Steph in reasons to be pretty, Sally in Cabaret, Emily in Our Town and Lisa in The Glory of Living. Other recent performance credits include: Sally in Talley's Folly directed by Joy Carlin at The Aurora Theatre and Helena in A Mid Summer Night's Dream at California Shakespeare Festival. Selected New York Theater performance credits: TACT's Off Broadway Production of The Cocktail PartyHamlet at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and The Idealist at The New York Times Theatre. She has also worked at the Public Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater, Lark Theatre and Playwrights Realm. Locally, she has worked with The California Shakespeare Festival, Word for Word, Marin Theatre Company, Marin Shakespeare Company, PlayGround and The Magic Theatre, among others. She is a two-time BATCC award winner and three-time Dean Goodman award recipient. Lauren teaches acting at San Francisco State University, City College of San Francisco, San Jose State University and coaches privately. Training: Foothill Theatre Conservatory, M.F.A. from NYU’s Graduate Acting Program.

JULIE DOUGLAS is a Bay Area actor, theater maker, teacher, and clown. She holds an M.F.A. in Ensemble Based Physical Theatre from Dell'Arte International and a B.A. in Theatre from University of California at Santa Cruz. She received some of her early training at ACT’s Young Conservatory and Summer Training Congress. Before getting her MFA and moving back to the Bay Julie made theatre in Chicago as a company member of The Moving Dock Theatre Company as well as performing with various local companies. She teaches students of all ages for theatre companies, schools, and community groups including Studio ACT, We Players, Cal Performances, Stanford Live, Dell'Arte International, Inferno Theatre, Summerfield Waldorf, Go Girls!, Ferndale Repertory, The Emma Center, and The Theater School (Sonoma). Julie is a certified instructor of the Michael Chekhov Technique through her training with Michael Chekhov Association. She has trained and performed internationally in Italy, Russia, and Bali. Julie has performed here in the Bay Area with Impact Theatre, SF Shakes, Shotgun Players, Shakespeare Santa Cruz and more. She is also a core actor with the site-integrated theatre company We Players where she has performed in Ondine at Sutro Baths, Macbeth at Fort Point, and Odyssey on Angel Island. Julie gets to be silly on a regular basis as a hospital clown with The Medical Clown Project and has performed in various clown cabarets and festivals of devised performance.  

FRANCES EPSEN-DEVLIN graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the School of Speech in Theater from Northwestern University. In 1988 she landed the lead role of Sheila in Michael Butler's twenty year revival of Hair. Since that time she has toured nationally and performed regionally with Pasadena Playhouse, Houston Grand Opera, Westchester Broadway Theatre, Kansas City-Starlight, Spreckles Theater in San Diego, A.C.T., 42nd Street Moon, Woodminster, and San Jose Stage Company. Frances performed as the lead vocalist in NYC with the Michael Carney Big Band Orchestra at the Plaza, Waldorf Astoria, and for President Clinton in Washington D.C. In San Francisco, she has had an extended runs as jazz vocalist at the Ritz Carlton, Mandarin, and Plush Rooms. For the past 20 years, Ms. Devlin has served on the faculty of Studio A.C.T., the M.F.A. Program, STC, and the Young Conservatory of the American Conservatory Theater teaching Voice Building, Musical Theater, Acting, Voice and Speech, and directing the Spring Cabarets and Musicals. She received her M.F.A. in Acting from A.C.T. in 1993. In addition, Ms. Devlin served as Master Acting Instructor of the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami from 1997–1999. Ms. Devlin runs a private voice studio in San Francisco serving clients from the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and beyond.

PAUL FINOCCHIARO is a Vietnam veteran and holds a master's degree in theater from Long Island University. He has been teaching acting at A.C.T. for 18 years and has taught acting and film at Chabot College. He has directed plays with inmates at Solano and San Quentin state prisons, has produced a cable television show with teens in East Palo Alto, and is an artist in residence with the Institute on Aging. As an actor, he has won Bay Area Theatre Critics' Circle Awards for his work in Steven Berkoff's East, Eugene O'Neill's Plays of the Sea, and Word for Word's Stories by Tobias Wolff. He is a longtime Bay Area musician, playing with various jazz, blues, and bluegrass ensembles.

NICK GABRIEL is a Sadler Award–winning graduate of the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program, the Director of Studio A.C.T., and the Director of AMTC. He is a principal actor in the resident company at A.C.T., where he has appeared inScorchedEndgame (opposite Bill Irwin), ArcadiaGood BreedingNapoli!Orphan of Zhao, and Once in a Lifetime. He serves on the faculties of A.C.T.’s ACTsmart education and outreach program, 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.

W. D. KEITH has appeared at theaters throughout the Bay Area. His credits include the premiere of Theresa Rebeck's What We're Up AgainstUncommon VisionThe Rules of Charity; and Mauritius— all at Magic Theatre; War Music'Tis Pity She's a WhoreMary StuartMachinal, and Arcadia at A.C.T.; Death Defying ActsA Life in the TheatreHysteriaThe Devil's Disciple, and The First Grade for Aurora Theatre Company; Rhinoceros and Heartbreak House at Berkeley Repertory Theatre; InfidelitiesLife X Three, and The Good German at Marin Theatre Company; Olive Kitteredge with Word for Word; and productions at TheatreWorks, San Jose Stage Company, and California Shakespeare Theater. His film credits includeRaising ArizonaFargoThe Big LebowskiA Serious ManHaiku Tunnel, and Moonlight Sonata. He has served on the faculties of Barnard College, The New School, UC Davis, University of San Francisco, and A.C.T. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Yale School of Drama.

DREW KHALOUF teaches voice and speech, acting, and Shakespeare for Studio A.C.T., and has a wide range of experience teaching students of all ages and abilities. Terry Gross interviewed him about his work with inner-city students in Cleveland's public schools for NPR's Fresh Air. During his two years as actor, interpreter, and “voice” on national tour with a deaf theater company, he taught hearing and deaf students in both spoken English and American Sign Language. Khalouf has acted in more than 40 roles with touring and repertory companies in the United States, among them Guildenstern inRosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Johnny Boyle in Juno and the Paycock, and Jesus Christ in Godspell. He also appeared in A.C.T.'s The Tempest, Golden Gate Opera's Plump Jack, Sierra Repertory Theatre's The Threepenny Opera, and The Muse, a musical in prose and verse, which he wrote and composed. Khalouf is a graduate of A.C.T.'s Master of Fine Arts Program in Acting.

JESSICA KITCHENS is a Northern California native who did her undergraduate studies in Theater and Political Science at UC Davis and received her M.F.A. in Acting from A.C.T. After her graduate studies, she lived in New York City, working as a professional actor as well as devising, writing, and producing her own work. Kitchens has performed with such companies as A.C.T.Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Geva Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, Magic Theatre, Cape Playhouse, Idaho Repertory Theatre, New Light Theater Project, and Shotgun Players, among others. She is a recipient of the Maureen McKibben Alumni Fellowship Award from A.C.T. and the 2011 Shenson Performing Arts Fellowship from The Shenson Foundation.

TRISH MULHOLLAND is an actor, casting director, writer, teacher, and coach who has worked at theaters around the Bay Area including A.C.T., Aurora Theatre, and San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. A graduate of Australia’s National Theatre Drama School and Melbourne University, Trish has also worked in film, television, voiceover, and radio; she won an Australasian Radio Pater Award and also hosted radio shows in Italy and France. Trish taught acting at Los Medanos College and is a longtime member of Shotgun Players. She is Casting Director for Shotgun’s mainstage and Champagne Reading series and will be directing in 2016.

THADDEUS PINKSTON’s skills as a sensitive and impeccable accompanist in all styles of music have earned him the highest respect of the singers and musicians with whom he works. Thaddeus was musical director and co-composer on “Saint Tous” done at La Mama with Andre De Shields. He also musical directed and played piano for the Fifth Dimension’s rendering of “Ain’t Misbehavin”. He has accompanied a host of stellar performers and ensembles including A.C.T., Telluride Jazz Festival, Tyne Daly, Michelle Lee, Tommy Tune, and Lisa Vroman.

DAVID PRETE is an actor, director, and writer originally from New York City. He holds an M.F.A. in Directing from Northwestern, and graduated from the New Actors Workshop conservatory where he studied with Mike Nichols (Tony- and Academy Award-winning director of The GraduateAngels in America), Paul Sills, and George Morrison who also taught Dustin Hoffman, Edie Falco, Gene Hackman, and others. David also studied Grotowski’s plastiques for three years with Andre Gregory, has taken workshops with members of the SITI Company, and Shakespeare & Co. He co-founded Water Theatre Company in New York where he worked as an actor and producer. He co-starred in the world premiere of the Off-Broadway play On The Line produced by Mike Nichols and Bill Haber. As an actor and director, he has worked in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and at many regional theaters in America including Steppenwolf’s Garage and main stage. He has also acted in independent films screened at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, the Long Island Film Festival, and the International Film Festival of NYC. He published two critically-acclaimed books of fiction with W. W. Norton: Say That to My Face (2003) and August and Then Some (2012), a Chicago Tribune Editor’s Pick. He has taught acting, directing, and writing at universities, training centers, prisons, and private classes throughout the US.

KARI PRINDL grew up around the world before graduating from Oberlin College with a degree in English with a concentration in theater. At Oberlin, she also took cello lessons at the conservatory and was extensively involved with the dance department. After college, she moved to San Francisco and trained in Alexander Technique with Frank Ottiwell, who taught Alexander Technique at A.C.T. since the company’s Pittsburgh beginnings in 1965. Since her certification in 1992, Kari has maintained a private practice in San Francisco and taught at various institutions across the country, including San Francisco State University, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Community Music Center, Henderson State University in Arkansas, and A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory, Summer Training Congress, and M.F.A. Program.

MARK RAFAEL is an actor, educator, and author. His Bay Area appearances include Jihad Jones and the Kashalnikov Babes and ReOrient Fest for Golden Thread, Ted Kaczynski Killed People With BombsSchrodinger'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 TitanicStar Trek VoyagerThe PracticeBabylon 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.

PATRICK RUSSELL received his B.F.A. in acting from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is a graduate of the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program in Acting. He has performed in theaters across the Bay Area, including A.C.T., Aurora Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Center Repertory Theatre, The Jewish Theatre, Shotgun Players, Killing My Lobster, and PlayGround. In addition to his work in film and commercials, his voice can be heard in numerous radio and Internet ads. As an acting instructor, Patrick has worked in A.C.T.'s Young Conservatory, A.C.T.'s ArtReach Program, California Shakespeare Theater's Summer Shakespeare Conservatory, and with teenagers in juvenile hall though California Shakespeare Theater. Patrick is a member of Actors' Equity and SAG-AFTRA.

NAOMI SANCHEZ has worked extensively with singers of all levels, from beginners to Broadway veterans. She has taught and accompanied singers in the Studio A.C.T. musical theater program since 2000, and has arranged original theater pieces for A.C.T.'s Young Conservatory, including the musical Forever Young: The Music of Bob Dylan, which toured to London's National Theatre. Sanchez is also a classical concert pianist and a member of the award-winning piano duo Pas de Duo, which debuted at Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim and has performed nationwide. She earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees in music from Indiana University.

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, to participating in the annual MayDay Parade and Festival at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre in Minneapolis. She has also worked at The Warehouse Theatre and Porthouse Theatre in various production roles, including lead carpenter and properties master, for four seasons. Internationally, she has trained in Brazil at the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed and has worked with therapists, youth, and health educators in Rwanda and Kenya. While in Los Angeles, she served as the founding program coordinator for the Liberation Arts and Community Engagement (LACE) Center, working to build a coalition of community-based organizations using the arts for social transformation. 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 more than 200 college volunteers and managing a school-based health education program for almost 2,500 high school students.

LAURA WAYTH received her M.F.A. from the American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University and the Moscow Art Theatre School Institute in Russia. Ms.Wayth has taught and coached contemporary and classical acting, voice and musical theatre at Tufts University, the College of the Holy Cross, the University of Miami, and the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire and Florida Atlantic University. She was a 2002-2003 Fulbright Fellow to Moscow, Russia where she taught acting Shakespeare to the students of the Moscow Art Theatre’s American Studio. In 2011 she was a Senior Fulbright Scholar to Romania, where she taught acting Shakespeare at Babeş-Bolyai, in Cluj-Napoca (teaching in both the Romanian and Hungarian studios of the School for Theatre and Television). She has worked internationally as a teacher and coach in Italy, Russia, Morocco, China and at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Ms. Wayth is the author of two books on acting: A Field Guide to Actor Training and The Shakespeare Audition, both available through Applause books. Ms. Wayth is a proud member of Actor’s Equity and lives in San Francisco. She is the Coordinator of Actor Training at the San Francisco State University School of Theatre and Dance.

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