Education Team

Education Team

Elizabeth Brodersen

Director of Education & Community Programs

Before her appointment as A.C.T.'s first Director of Rducation in 2011, Brodersen led A.C.T.'s audience education efforts for 19 years as Publications Editor, overseeing all of the theater's dramaturgical publications. Brodersen co-chaired the Education Committee formed by the A.C.T. Board of Trustees during its 2009 strategic planning process and has guided the resulting expansion of A.C.T.'s educational and community-focused programming. As a member of A.C.T.'s senior management team, she now oversees the central components of the theater's Education & Community Programs, which serve more than 18,000 people each year: ACTsmart arts education programs that bring residencies and workshops to Bay Area schools and community organizations, with an emphasis on socioeconomically disadvantaged youth; the internationally acclaimed Young Conservatory, which provides theater training to young people aged 8–19; Student Matinees of mainstage and M.F.A. Program productions; Will on Wheels annual Shakespeare tour; Back to the Source professional development institute for educators; the Fellowship Program for emerging theater professionals; and social justice-focused, community-based theater programs that support San Franciscans from marginalized communities in telling undertold stories. She has served as dramaturg/assistant director on A.C.T. Conservatory productions of Maxim Gorky's Philistines, Sarah Daniel's Dust (world premiere), and Horton Foote's Laura Dennis and as research dramaturg on A.C.T.'s mainstage production of The Tosca Project. Brodersen is the founding editor of Words on Plays, A.C.T.'s celebrated in-depth study guide for each subscription production, which has informed and entertained A.C.T. students, teachers, and subscribers for 25 years. Her writing has also appeared in the publications of theaters across the country and in Stagebill magazine. She is a graduate of Princeton University and the Columbia University School of Law. Brodersen received the A.C.T. Artistic Director's Award in 2000 and the San Francisco Unified School District's Dreamcatcher Award in 2012. She has served on the Judges Panel for the annual Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education since its inception in 2015.

 

Vince Amelio

School & Community Programs Operations Manager

Vincent Amelio has been involved in theater administration as well as youth and community services for over a decade. Before joining A.C.T., he was the recreation specialist for the Gilroy Youth Center and Ochoa Migrant Camp. He has served on the Gilroy Youth Task Force and worked for South County Cal-SOAP. Prior to working for the City of Gilroy, Amelio worked for Cal Performances in office administration and event management. He spent multiple years working as a staff leader and assistant director for Summer Theater Arts Repertory. Amelio attained his B.A. in English literature and theater and performance studies from UC Berkeley. His undergraduate thesis, American Dreams and Nightmares: An Examination of the Western and Film Noir, received special commendation, and his film A Day in the Life won awards at the Campus Movie Festival.

 

Stephanie Wilborn

Community Programs Manager

Ida B Wells High School Residency
Boys & Girls Club Residencies

Stephanie Wilborn has been involved in theater education and community arts organizing for over a decade. After several years creating after-school curricula for nonprofit organizations such as the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, and homeless shelters throughout Southern California, Wilborn developed a passion for community engagement and arts activism. Part of her focus is finding ways to implement safe and fun teaching strategies with low-income communities. She became the A.C.T. Education & Community Programs Fellow in 2016 and assisted with teaching at continuation schools, such as Ida B. Wells High School and Downtown High School, helping students create original work for performances seen by hundreds. During her fellowship, Wilborn also helped produce several events engaging the community, including Every 28 Hours, a one-minute play festival highlighting police brutality and injustice. In her current role as A.C.T. Community Programs Manager and lead teaching artist in A.C.T.’s intensive residency at Ida B. Wells High School, she works to create a space for diverse various communities to become members of the A.C.T. family. Recently she revamped Every 28 Hours into an annual Black arts festival for the Bay Area that is nationally recognized. She continues to work closely with partners in San Francisco’s Bayview and Tenderloin neighborhoods and in Oakland to ensure that diverse groups have access to theater outside and inside their communities. Her mission is to use theater and social justice as a platform to give voice to those who are often overlooked or underrepresented onstage.

 

Vanessa Ramos

School Programs Manager

Vanessa Ramos has been working with youth in the arts for over a decade. In the role of educator, she has enjoyed teaching music, movement, and storytelling to children throughout the Bay Area in both public and private schools, as well as with nonprofit arts organizations such as StageBridge, La Peña Cultural Center, and California Shakespeare Theater.  She also rocks the backstage as a production/stage manager and has enjoyed countless opportunities to engage in the production of new works. Recent credits include serving as the resident production/stage manager for Central Works Theater and as tour manager and stage manager for New Conservatory Theatre Center's YouthAware educational theater program. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where she studied music and theater and performance studies. She received her Orff training at The San Francisco School in 2010 and is a member of the Northern California American Orff-Schulwerk Association (NCAOSA), as well as Americans for the Arts. She is currently working on her M.S. degree in arts administration from Drexel University.

 

Hannah Clague

Education & Community Programs Fellow

Hannah Clague graduated from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance with a bachelor of music in vocal performance and a minor in writing. At Michigan, she worked with the U of M Educational Theatre Company as a company member, stage manager, and music director. She has also worked with Michigan Opera Theatre as in intern in the Education and Community Programs Department and with the Ann Arbor Summer Festival as the educational outreach intern. She wrote a play, Kickball, about allyship and empathy on college campuses.

 

Teaching Artists

Andy Alabran

826 Valencia Tenderloin Workshops

Andy Alabran received his B.A. in theater from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his M.F.A. in acting from A.C.T. He is an actor, director, writer, teacher, and producer. He has taught acting and voice in A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory and in Studio A.C.T. He has also taught youth in A.C.T.’s intensive residency at Mission High School, in A.C.T.’s podcasting collaboration with 826 Valencia in the Tenderloin, at Oakland School for the Arts, and in the Cal Shakes Summer Conservatory. He has performed with Theatre First, Shotgun Players, and Killing My Lobster. As a company member of Shotgun Players since 2000, his acting credits include Woyzeck, The Death of Meyerhold, A Seagull in the Hamptons, Truffaldino Says No (world premiere), and Mother Courage. He served as creative director of San Francisco’s premier sketch comedy group, Killing My Lobster. KML credits include The Shakespeare Bug (world premiere), The Whole Megillah, KML Plays with Beckett (at A.C.T.), and Patronizes the Arts

 

Tristan Cunningham

Hilltop Special Services Residency

Tristan Cunningham is an actor, acrobat, and theater teaching artist. Her Bay Area acting credits include Julius Caesar with African-American Shakespeare Company, The Road  to Hades with Shotgun Players, Tenderloin with Cutting Ball Theater, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, The Winter’s Tale with California Shakespeare Theater, and The Arsonists with Aurora Theatre Company. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Medical Clown Project. Cunningham has been teaching circus arts to children for ten years. She is a well-trained summer camp counselor, head of acrobatics and clown, theater teaching artist, and director of circus summer camp for companies on the East and West Coasts. Her passion for teaching comes from her deep love for children and her belief that theater and circus are for everyone. She enjoys seeing her students grow not only in skills but in learning helpful tools they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Circus and performing have changed her life and she feels lucky to share this passion with her students.

Brit Frazier

Brit Frazier is a Bay Area actor, director, playwright, and teaching artist. She has had the blessing of creatively collaborating as an actor with Campo Santo, Cutting Ball Theater, Shotgun Players, Brava! for Women in the Arts, Ubuntu Theater Project, Marin Theatre Company, the San Francisco International Arts Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, and A.C.T. She recently played the title role of Hedda Gabler, directed by Yuri Urnov, at Cutting Ball Theater in San Francisco and Woman #2 in Home (Samm-Art Williams), by Samm-Art Williams, at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. As a teaching artist, Frazier has directed for Disney Theatrical Productions NY and Bay Area Children's Theatre as a part of their Disney Musicals in Schools Program and taught with California Shakespeare Theater, the East Bay Center for Performing Arts, StageWrite, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Marsh Youth Theater. She has also written her own workshop for young formerly incarcerated women of color for Community Works SF for the fall of 2018, titled Resurrecting the Goddess, which implements mindfulness, theater, dance, and creative writing techniques, along with Goddess folklore from around the world, to culminate  in a New Age rites of passage performance ceremony. As a playwright, she has birthed three original plays: Obeah, Dysphoria, and Pressure High. In 2018 TheatreFirst commissioned her to write Laveau, a solo ritual performance tribute to Marie Laveau. She also writes annually for Playwrights Foundation and San Francisco One-Minute Play Festival’s One-Minute Play Festival and Playwrights Foundation’s Flash Play Festival. As a director, she has completed a directing apprenticeship with Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Playground Series and directs for them periodically year-round. Recently Frazier directed Star Finch’s Take the Ticket in the recent production of Participants at TheatreFirst, and she debuted Laveau (her first solo piece) in TheatreFirst’s Between Us. Last summer, she shot her first independent film, Hidden Treasure, written and directed by Donald Lacy for the LoveLife Foundation; the film is now gracing independent film festival circuits from the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles to South Africa. Frazier assistant directed and dramaturged Hooded, Or Being Black for Dummies, by Tearrence Arvelle Chisholm, for The Custom Made Theatre Company, and in spring 2018 she collaborated as a writer and performer with Roger Guenveur Smith on Casa de Spirits for Campo Santo at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

 

Nailah Unole Dida-nese’ah Harper-Malveaux

Nailah Unole Dida-nese’ah Harper-Malveaux is an Oakland-based theater director, community organizer, and educator. She has a passion for creating, facilitating, and curating artistic engagements that center intersectional identities and challenge systems of injustice and complacency. In addition to working with Betti Ono Gallery on The Fire Next Time: A Call and Response, she is the program manager for the HIVE Project, a bold collaboration between three of the Bay Area’s most revolutionary theaters—Ubuntu, Crowded Fire, and Gritty City. The HIVE is an innovative audience development project designed to cross-pollinate the audiences of the participating theaters through a year-long theater sharing collective. Harper-Malvaux also freelances as a director and assistant director. She was recently the assistant director for Church, by Young Jean Lee, directed by Mina Morita at Crowded Fire Theater. In June 2018 she finished a 9-month fellowship at A.C.T., where she co-produced many community engagement events, most notably the inaugural Every 28 Hours: Black Arts Festival. Durnig her fellowship she also taught theater for social change in A.C.T. high school residencies, assistant directed Hamlet with Artistic Director Carey Perloff, directed Sunset Baby, by Dominique Morisseau, with A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program in A.C.T.’s Sky Festival and directed Brainpeople, by José Rivera, for the 2018 Fellowship Project. She returned to A.C.T. in fall 2018 to assistant direct Men on Boats, with director Tamilla Woodard. She has also held internships at Studio Theatre, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and Signature Theatre and took part in The 24 Hour Plays: Nationals as one of six up-and-coming young directors. Due to her leadership at the intersection of art and activism, she was recognized in a New York Times profile on the new forms and faces of student activism and had the humbling opportunity of participating in a panel on race and higher education at the Aspen Institute’s Symposium on the State of Race in America. She received her B.A. in American Studies and Theatre Studies from Yale University.

 

Lauren Kivowitz

Access SFUSD Residency

Lauren Kivowitz is a performer and teaching artist with a master's degree in applied theater from CUNY School of Professional Studies. She facilitates classes for folks of all ages and abilities, using combinations of improv, role-play, music, storytelling, and play-building. Kivowitz is a strong believer in the transformative power of theater, and is the founder of Inclusive Arts, an organization whose mission is to create opportunities to engage in critical dialogue and meaningful action surrounding issues of access, inclusion, and ableism in theater and other creative arts.

 

Natasha LaGrone

Creative Arts Charter Residency

Natasha LaGrone is a teaching artist, actress, writer, and radio/media personality. She hails from Flint, Michigan, and is a proud graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied mass communication and theater. LaGrone has worked with and trained at A.C.T., the Shelton Theater, Z Space, Viacom, Shop Floor Theatre Company, Flint Youth Theatre, and the DC Black Theatre & Arts Festival. She has worked on television production teams for BET Networks, Ken Ehrlich Productions–AEG, and WETA Television. In addition to her experience in arts and entertainment, LaGrone worked for the Obama administration as a presidential appointee in the Office of Public Affairs at the Department of Commerce and as a White House intern.

 

Ely Sonny Orquiza

Ely Sonny Orquiza is a multidisciplinary actor, director, and teaching artist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the founder and artistic director of the Projector Room Ensemble, an indie theater group committed to uplifting and introducing queer and multiethnic voices onstage. He applies his performance background and training in classical theater to marginalized communities—especially formerly incarcerated people, LGBTQ+ youth living with HIV/AIDS, and refugees—by creating an all-inclusive and accessible platform for safer spaces to devise original theatrical works as a form of healing, transformation, and self-reflection. He has worked on various projects with African-American Shakespeare Company, A.C.T. (assistant director), Bindlestiff Studio, Cal Performances, Campo Santo (production assistant), Custom Made Theatre Company, Magic Theater, New Conservatory Theatre Center, the Playwrights’ Center, Playwrights Foundation, San Francisco Opera, and Theatre Rhinoceros.

 

Marcelo Pereira

Mission High School Residency

Marcelo Javier Pereira was born in San Francisco and is an alumnus of A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory (YC). After leaving the Young Conservatory, he helped produce two off-Broadway productions, The Black Book, by Phil Blechman, and Rogerandtom, by Julien Schwab, and in 2014 cofounded San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company (BATCO) with the mission to unite artists and audiences through live theater that is reflective of the authentic perspectives and history of the San Francisco Bay Area (www.SFBATCO.org). He recently choreographed Urinetown: The Musical for the Young Conservatory. Recent acting credits include Not Another Holiday Show! (BATCO), Gravity: A New(tonian) Musical, Home for “All of” the Holidays (BATCO), Skippyjon Jones (Theatreworks USA), Rent (Syracuse Stage), A New Brain (Syracuse University [SU] Drama), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bathwater Productions). Directing credits include Celebrate 12th Night Joyfully with Kathryn Crosby (New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center), Cinderella (African-American Shakespeare Company), Not Another Holiday Show! (BATCO), La Posarela (San Francisco Community Music Center), The Complete History of America (abridged) (Black Box Players), and Too Many Tamales (Marsh Youth Theatre). #SupportTheArts

 

Radhika Rao

Bessie Carmichael / Galing Bata Residency

Radhika Rao is an actor, storyteller, director, writer, teacher, and arts education consultant. She has performed theater on stages and on streets throughout India, Boston, San Diego, and now the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a member of Eth-Noh-Tec kinetic storytelling ensemble and a resident artist of the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. Rao has a doctor of education (EdD) degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She specializes in creating curriculum that integrates theater into diverse learning situations for children and adults. She was the founding educational coordinator for Cutting Ball Theater and now serves as their teaching liaison to Larkin Street Youth Services. She also occasionally teaches at University of San Francisco and Santa Clara University. In addition to working with A.C.T., her collaborations include work with Young Audiences of Northern California, Enacte, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, New Conservatory Theatre Center, Green Art Workshop, Samuel Merritt University, and Stanford University. More at www.radhikarao.org.

 

Neiry Rojo

Mission High School Residency

Neiry Rojo is a Bay Area actor who has worked with Santa Cruz Shakespeare, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Cutting Ball Theater, Ross Valley Players, and more. She received her M.A. in theater arts with an emphasis in acting and directing from UC Santa Cruz. She is passionate about bringing the arts to young audiences and fostering a culture of inclusion, open-mindedness, and understanding.

 

Lauren Spencer

Downtown High School Residency

Lauren Spencer is a Bay Area–based actor and teaching artist. She is proud to have collaborated with A.C.T. (New Strands Festival, King Charles III, and Men on Boats), Crowded Fire Theater (Blackademics, Good Goods), Berkeley Repertory Theatre (Party People), and Marin Theatre Company (Ann Boleyn, Miss Bennet), among others. Most recently, Spencer directed the Collaborative Youth Arts Project world premiere production of Black Butterflies, by Darren Canady, at A.C.T.'s Strand Theater. She is a proud member of AEA and teaches with A.C.T., the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, StageWrite, and California Shakespeare Theater.

 

Liam Vincent

Galileo High School Short Term Residency
Will on Wheels Workshops

Liam Vincent has been a professional actor in the Bay Area for over 20 years. He has performed at A.C.T., California Shakespeare Theater, Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, TheatreWorks, Center REPertory Company, and Santa Cruz Shakespeare, as well as many other theaters across the country. His love for and belief in the continuing power of Shakespeare's text is what led him into teaching. He has taught at Berkeley City College, Cal Shakes Summer Conservatory, Oakland School of the Arts, Lowell High School, Wallenberg High School, Downtown High School, and 826 Valencia in the Tenderloin. He recently completed a residency at Galileo Academy of Science and Technology, where he co-directed Love, You Say, a production entirely written, designed, and performed by students. He also directed Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Pinter’s The Room for the A.C.T. Young Conservatory.

 

Elizabeth Halperin, Student Matinees  •  Apprentices: Joseph Givens, David McKneely, Raven Sisco, Monique Salazar

Buy Tickets Subscribe Calendar Donate Now
© 2018 American Conservatory Theater-a tax-exempt 501c3 nonprofit organization. Number 94-6135772.
Privacy Policy | Contact Us