Faculty

Faculty

Rachael Adler studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in NY, and was later designated there to teach the Meisner technique. Rachael also trained with Larry Moss, Sandra Seacat, Bill Hickey and Earle Hyman at HB Studios in NY, Loyd Williamson at the Actors Movement Studio, in addition to other powerful mentors. Following an acting and modeling career in NY and CA, Rachael founded two Meisner acting conservatories in the Bay Area: Studio Magnetic and the Waterfront Playhouse & Conservatory. Rachael is the Master Meisner Teacher at MeisnerEspana in Barcelona, Spain.

 

Liz Anderson is an actor, filmmaker, and teaching artist. She is a graduate of the San Francisco School of the Arts theater program and holds a B.F.A. in theater from NYU 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. Liz has worked with numerous Bay Area theater companies, and is a company member with the Leela Faculty Armando Ensemble and PlayGround at Berkeley Rep.

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 work 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.

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.

 

Tricia Cronin is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and photographer. She studied with the Hubbard Street Dance Company, Joel Hall, and Act One Studios in Chicago, before taking her career to New York. There, she danced with several music artists, performed in original Off-Broadway shows, and in Broadway productions such as Grease, A Chorus Line, and Swing! Tricia has been teaching and choreographing for over 20 years across the country. She has taught at A.C.T. since 2012, currently teaches contemporary dance workshops in San Francisco, and has helped to found dance and theater programs at several schools in San Francisco and the Bay Area.  

Julie Douglas is a Bay Area actor, 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 UCSC. She has taught students of all ages for a variety of organizations including A.C.T., St. Mary's College, We Players, S.F. Shakes, Cal Performances, Stanford Live, Spotlight: Girls, and more. Julie is a certified instructor of the Michael Chekhov Technique. She has performed in the Bay Area with Idiot String, We Players, Impact Theatre, SF Shakes, Shotgun Players, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the Medical Clown Project, and more. 

Frances Epsen-Devlin has performed for the past 30 years in national tours and regional productions of musicals and plays, working with Houston Grand Opera, Pasadena Playhouse, Westchester Broadway Theatre (NY), Starlight Theater (KS), Spreckels Theatre (SD), A.C.T., 42nd Street Moon, Woodminster and San Jose Stage Company. Since 1998, Ms. Devlin has served on the faculty of Studio A.C.T., STC, A.C.T.’s M.F.A. Program and Young Conservatory, teaching Voice Building, Musical Theater, Acting, Voice and Speech, and directing the Spring Cabarets. Frances holds a B.S. in Theater /Vocal Performance from Northwestern University and an MFA in Acting from A.C.T.

 

Paul Finocchiaro has taught at Studio ACT since 1989. He has performed at ACT, Berkeley Rep., The Magic Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Eureka Theatre, Marin Theatre Company and has worked with Word For Word Performing Arts Company for over 20 years in San Francisco and Europe. He is a Vietnam veteran, a long time musician in various ensembles and holds an MFA in playwriting.

 

Dan Griffiths has performed and taught nationally and internationally. Instructor; Clown Conservatory San Francisco, Clown LAB SF, Columbia College Chicago, Roosevelt University, and Indiana University Northwest. Most recently Dan taught Clown at The Wu Qiao International Circus Festival in Shijiazhuang China and at The Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theater. Dan has studied with Marcel Marceau, David Shiner, at The School for Mime Theatre and The Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theater. Dan holds an M.A. in Experimental Performance from New College of California and an M.F.A in Interdisciplinary Art from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Margo Hall is an award winning actor/director/playwright who has performed and directed in theaters throughout the Bay Area. She was last seen in BARBECUE at SF Playhouse, which she also directed. She has taught and directed in the ACT MFA program, and appeared on the Geary Stage. She is a founding member of Campo Santo, an award winning multi-cultural ensemble, where she has directed, performed and collaborated on several new plays with artists such as Naomi Iizuka, Jessica Hagedorn, Phillip Kan Gotanda, and Octavio Solis. She received her MFA from Catholic University of America and is currently teaching acting at Chabot College and UC Berkeley.

margohall.com

Tim Huls is an actor, filmmaker, and community leader. His career began as a production coordinator for the SAG feature film, Being Us (2010). Tim has landed many principal roles in commercials for many national brands including Charles Schwab and Soda Stream.  In 2017, Tim wrapped production as the lead in the independent feature film “Rough Edges.” As a stage actor, he has performed with NCTC, SF Playhouse, Marin Shakes, and Tabard Theatre. He is also the founder of the performance organization Planets & Branches. He loves to read Rilke. Tim is represented by NYLO Talent Agency. 

TimHuls.com • Instagram: @intimothy_h

 

Mark Jackson is an award-winning theater maker whose work in theater, dance, and performance has been seen in the Bay Area at the American Conservatory Theater M.F.A., Art Street Theatre, Aurora Theatre Company, Cutting Ball Theatre, Encore Theatre Company, EXIT Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Potrzebie Dance Project, San Francisco International Arts Festival, SF State University, Shotgun Players, and Z Space; Nationally at The Studio Theatre (Washington D.C.), The Catamounts (Denver), and Hunger & Thirst (NYC); Internationally at Arts International Festival IV (Japan), Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Bread & Roses Theatre (UK), English Theatre Berlin and Deutsches Theater Berlin (Germany).

markjackson-theatermaker.com

 

Monique Jenkinson is a multifaceted artist whose work considers the performance of femininity as a powerful, vulnerable and subversive act. She and her drag queen alter ego Fauxnique (who made herstory by winning a major pageant) perform locally, nationally and internationally in a range of contexts from nightclubs to theaters to museums. Most recently, she engaged in an embodied conversation with Gender Theory pioneer Judith Butler and was in residence at Headlands Center for the Arts. She has created curriculum for San Francisco Art Institute and St. Mary’s College of California and is writing a memoir for Amethyst Editions/Feminist Press.

fauxnique.net

Warren David Keith is an actor, teacher and director. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Yale School of Drama and has served on the faculties of Barnard College, The New School, U.C. Davis, American Conservatory Theatre, The Nueva School and as a Teaching Fellow for the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition to theaters in NYC and across the East Coast he has also appeared at A.C.T., Aurora Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, Marin Theater Company, S.F. Playhouse, TheatreWorks and Word for Word. On-screen appearances include: Haiku Tunnel, Love and Taxes, Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Big Lebowski and A Serious Man.

 

Drew Khalouf has a wide range of experience teaching students of all ages and abilities. For two years he toured nationally as an actor and interpreter, teaching hearing and deaf students in both spoken English and American Sign Language. Terry Gross interviewed him about his work with inner-city students in Cleveland's public schools for NPR's Fresh Air. Drew has acted in over forty productions with touring and repertory companies in the United States. In the Bay Area he has performed at A.C.T., Golden Gate Opera, Sierra Repertory Theatre, and in The Muse, a musical he wrote, composed and performed. Drew is a graduate of A.C.T. MFA.

 

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.

 

Dave Maier is an award-winning fight director with more than 200 professional credits. He is the resident fight director at San Francisco Opera and Cal Shakes. Dave has choreographed fights for many bay area theatres including ACT’s mainstage and MFA program, Berkeley Rep, Magic Theatre, Aurora Theatre, SF Playhouse, Center Rep, Santa Cruz Shakespeare and Shotgun Players, among others. He is a Senior Instructor with Dueling Arts International and an adjunct faculty member at San Francisco Conservatory of Music and St. Mary’s College of California. He is also a guest lecturer at UC Santa Cruz and Stanford University. 

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.

 

Kari Prindl, BA Oberlin College, MA AmSAT. After a severe dance injury, Kari discovered and healed with the Alexander Technique. She then trained in the Technique, for 1600 hours, with Frank Ottiwell, who taught the 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, working with individuals of all ages and from all walks of life. She specializes in working with performers, and has taught at various institutions across the country, including San Francisco State University, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Henderson State University in Arkansas, and A.C.T's M.F.A. Program.

alexandertechnique-sf.com

 

Mark Rafael is a writer, teacher, and actor. Bay Area appearances include Jihad Jones and the Kashalnikov Babes and ReOrient Fest for Goldenthread, Ted Kaczinski Killed People with Bombs, Schrodinger’s Girlfriend, and Joe Goode’s Body Familiar for the Magic Theatre. Film and Television credits include Titanic, Star Trek Voyager, The Practice, Babylon 5, Trauma, and Chance for Hulu. He teaches at the University of San Francisco, Studio A.C.T., and at the Academy of Art University. He received a BA from Brown and an MFA from Yale University. He is author of Telling Stories: A Grand Unifying Theory of Acting Techniques.

 

Katie Rubin is a nationally touring solo performer, comic, and regional theater actress. She has an MFA in Acting, teaches Improv in the Continuing Studies Dept. at Stanford, and facilitates a Writing Class called “Tell Your Story” (tellyourstorywithkatie.weebly.com), which facilities writers of all kind in developing their work. Katie has written and toured three-hour-long stand-up comedy shows and five original solo theater pieces. Recent acting credits:The Heir Apparent at The Aurora, The Taming at Marin Shakespeare, The North Plan, In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play, and Hunter-Gatherers at Capital Stage.

Patrick Russell has performed in the theaters across the Bay Area, including A.C.T., California Shakespeare Theater (As You Like It), Aurora Theatre Company (Body Awareness, Trouble in Mind, Awake and Sing!), San Francisco Playhouse (Noises Off, Red Velvet, Seminar, reasons to be pretty, 77%, and Trouble Cometh), Magic Theatre (Fool for Love), Marin Theatre Company, Marin Shakespeare Company (Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Three Musketeers), CenterREP (Old Wicked Songs), and Shotgun Players (Care of Trees). Film credits include Being Us and Rapunzel’s Etymology of Zero. Patrick is a member of Actors' Equity and SAG-AFTRA. He received his BFA in acting from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA in acting from A.C.T.

Alyson Rutter recently moved to the Bay Area after 10 years as a union actor in NYC where she starred in the award-winning films Video, Apathy and The Great Love Rosemary, and performed in numerous stage productions. She can also be seen in The Knick, Damages, Bored to Death and the feature film We Only Know So Much. Directing credits include: The Pavilion, called a “tantalizing revival” by the New York Times, Dying City, Gruesome Playground Injuries, among others. She wrote and performed her one-woman show, The Goldilocks Effect, at The Barrow Group Theatre Company where she also taught acting.

Naomi Sanchez has performed and taught extensively in the Bay Area and across the United States. As a vocal coach and accompanist at Studio A.C.T., Ms. Sanchez teaches musical theater courses and has been the musical director for numerous studio projects and productions. She performed her arrangements of the ACT Young Conservatory's Forever Young: the Music of Bob Dylan at the National Theater in London. Ms. Sanchez studied at Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music, where she received a B.M. and M.M. in Piano Performance.

 

Melissa Smith (Conservatory Director, Head of Acting) has served as Conservatory Director and Head of Acting at A.C.T. since 1995. During that time, she has overseen the expansion of the M.F.A. Program from a two- to a three-year program and the further integration of the M.F.A. Program faculty and student body with A.C.T.’s artistic wing. Prior to assuming leadership of the A.C.T. Conservatory, Smith was the director of the program in theater and dance at Princeton University, where she taught introductory, intermediate, and advanced acting. She has taught acting, improvisation, and scene study to students of all ages in various colleges, high schools, and studios and is featured in Acting Teachers of America: A Vital Tradition. As a professional actor, she has performed at regional and off-Broadway theaters, including Soho Rep, Primary Stages, the Hangar Theatre, A.C.T., California Shakespeare Theater, and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Smith holds a B.A. from Yale College and an M.F.A. in acting from Yale School of Drama.