Director of Education & Community Programs
Juan Manzo (Citizen Artist) is an Arts Education professional & advocate with almost two decades of experience in the field. He has led arts education programs and professional development workshops in Arts Integration for teachers and young people in New York and California. Juan has worked as a Teaching Artist and Arts Education Consultant for multiple organizations including StageWrite, The Old Globe, San 2020-2021 4 Francisco Opera, Young Audiences of the Bay Area, La Jolla Playhouse and Center Theater Group. As a member of the Board of Directors for the Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area, he has worked for a stronger and more equitable arts education community in the Bay Area. A strong believer in using the arts for creative engagement and problem solving, he is deeply committed to ensuring access to the arts to all students regardless of socioeconomic status or race.
Shannon R. Davis
Director of Community Connections
Shannon R. Davis is a Bay Area-based Director/Performer, originally from her ancestral homeland of Wisconsin. She is in the CalShakes Artist Circle, and a company member of In The Margin Theatre. She holds an MFA in Directing & Acting from UW-Madison. Shannon has worked with the following: American Conservatory Theatre, New Native Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The American Repertory Theatre, American Indian Community House, CalShakes, Anchorage Opera Company, Theatre of Yugen, Berkeley Rep, MoxieArts NY, Brava Theater, Tantrum Theatre, Ashland New Play Festival, Forward Theatre, Shotgun Players, TheaterWorks, Theatre Bay Area, Marin Shakespeare, San Francisco Playhouse, Renaissance Theaterworks, Playwrights Foundation, Vortex Rep, others. www.shannonrdavis.com
Associate Director of Education
Natalie Greene (Associate Director of Education) is an artist and educator working at the intersection of dance, theater, and community engagement. Natalie worked with the award-winning devised performance ensemble Mugwumpin for more than a decade, and was Artistic Director from 2016-2022. As a choreographer and intimacy director, Natalie has worked with 42nd St. Moon, AlterTheater, Aurora Theater, Cal Shakes, Center Rep, Custom Made, Cutting Ball, Portland Center Stage, and Shotgun Players. Her dance-theater work has been presented by California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco Airport, ODC Theater, Dance Mission Theater, San Francisco City Hall, Danspace (NYC), DiMenna Center/Baryshnikov Arts (NYC), Club Principe (Spain), and Montescudaio Amphitheater (Italy). Natalie has performed with numerous Bay Area dance companies and choreographers including Deborah Slater, Emily Keeler, Erin Mei-Ling Stuart, Kim Epifano, and Mary Armentrout.
As Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Performing Arts & Social Justice at the University of San Francisco from 2006-2021, Natalie directed USF's intergenerational performance company Dance Generators and led the international exchange program Minds in Motion in Tacna and Lima, Peru. She has served on faculty at San Francisco State University, ODC School, and San Francisco Arts Education Project, and has led workshops and trainings in the United States, Peru, Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia and Ecuador. Natalie is a passionate advocate for socially-conscious arts education. Her research focuses on ethical means and specific tactics for bringing people together for embodied creative experiences that build a culture of consent.
Alejandra Maria Rivas
Conservatory & School and Community Programs Coordinator
Alejandra Maria Rivas is a theatre artist and administrator currently living in the Bay Area. Administratively she has worked with A.C.T. since 2019, first as a Conservatory Fellow, then as a Conservatory Associate of Academic Programs, and now working in both the Conservatory and Education & Community Programs departments. They have also worked as a teaching artist and after-care supervisor with California Shakespeare Theatre in their Summer Conservatory and at their student matinees. She has organized and run trainings for student leaders and organizers at Saint Mary's College of California in their New Student & Family Programs department, assisting students and families transition into higher education and working in their Residential Experience offices assisting students, resident advisors, and resident directors in their daily on-campus life.
Artistically, Alejandra wrote Magic Fruit with Kimiya Shokri with TheatreFirst and La Paloma which had staged readings as a part of the Bay Area Women’s Theatre Festival as a part of their BIWOC+ Reading Series (2020 and 2022), previously staged in an Under 30: One Acts Festival. They directed Late: a cowboy song with A.C.T.’s MFA students in their Sky Fest and stage managed History Keeps Me Awake with T1. Other credits include, Performer: amémonos, Cabaret, In the Heights, Twelfth Night, Lysistrata, and Impure Thoughts (without apology). Assistant/Directing: selections from 365 Plays/365 Days, Inked Baby, This is Modern Art, And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi. Alejandra has a BA in Performance & Theatre Studies with a minor in Psychology from Saint Mary’s College of California.
826 Valencia Podcast Field Trips
ANDY ALABRAN (he/him) received his B.A. in Theater from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his M.F.A. in Acting from the American Conservatory Theater. He is a teacher, director, and performer. He has taught at the American Conservatory Theater Young Conservatory and Studio, California Shakespeare Theater, Oakland School for the Arts, 826 Valencia (Tenderloin), Voice One, Stagebridge, Mission High, Burton High School, and Hayward High School. He served as voice and speech coach for the Y.C. productions: "Begets", "The Wolves", and "Hookman". He has performed with Theatre First, the Shotgun Players, and Killing My Lobster. A current company member of the 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 with San Francisco’s premiere sketch comedy group Killing My Lobster. With KML, he also performed, wrote, directed, taught, and produced where credits included The Shakespeare Bug (world premiere), The Whole Megillah, KML Plays with Beckett (at A.C.T.), and Patronizes the Arts.
Downtown High School | Hilltop Special Services Center | SMAT Workshops
Reyna Brown (she/her) is an artist, leader, activist, poet, teacher, director, and facilitator. As a teaching artist, Reyna has worked with students from kindergarten through adults with organizations such as StageWrite, University of San Francisco, San Quentin State Prison, and Handful Players. In 2019, she interned in Governor Newsom’s office with his legal clemency team where she advocated for the rights of those who are currently incarcerated to a fair chance at commutation. She graduated from the University of San Francisco with a BA in Performing Arts & Social Justice with a concentration in Theater and a minor in Peace and Justice Studies. At USF, Reyna was elected Student Body President and has been recognized multiple times for her impact and creative growth, including with the Leo T. McCarthy Public Service Award, the Cathy Gallagher Performing Arts & Social Justice Award, and the Schlegel Social Justice Award.
Aptos Middle School
Yari Cervas (all pronouns) is an awarded theatre director/dramaturg, teaching artist, and somatic worker inspired by stories of restorative justice, queerness, and trauma recovery. They are proud to have collaborated with numerous organizations including South Coast REP, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, and San Diego REP. As the founding Artistic Director of MaArte Theatre Collective in San Diego, they produced, developed, and directed two dozen plays by emerging Pilipinx playwrights including world premieres Your Best American Girl (Best of the ‘19 SDFringe Fest, Critics’ Pick, & Cultural Exchange awards); The Fire in Me (Award of Recognition from the State Legislature of California) co-produced by Asian Story Theatre; and You’re Safe Here in partnership with Allain Francisco M.D. and the UCSD School of Medicine to foster empathy for patients navigating relationships with mental healthcare providers. Yari has developed works that have gone on to the National Playwright’s Conference at the Eugene O’neill (2022) and National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival (2022). Previously, Yari was honored by the first ever Santa Barbara Double Indy Award for performance as Dido in Dido, Queen of Carthage and for directing the world premiere of Tar and Feather (Westmont College). Most recently they directed the world premiere of Desert Rock Garden at New Village Arts (Award of Recognition from California State Assembly). In response to the COVID pandemic, an inaugural participant of The Catapult Project, and later commissioned by Bay Area Playwrights Festival and Z-Space to present workshops for artists, Yari is the creator of Practical Somatics offering body-based meditations to empower individuals to overcome trauma in their daily lives. Yari believes that by practicing breathing, intuitive movement, and compassionate self awareness we are better positioned to heal our relationships with ourselves and our wider communities. yaricervas.com
Ida B. Wells High School
Larry Dorsey Jr. has performed on our stage with the Tony award winning Broadway musical Freestyle Love Supreme. He is a San Francisco native, an iHeartRadio personality for Hip Hop station KMEL, company player with premier Bay Area improv theatre BATS, stand-up comedian (learned the art working security for the world-famous Punch Line while taking workshops at the legendary improv club), and Poet alumni at historic Youth Speaks. He graduated from SF State University in Creative Writing, Academy of Art University in Motion Pictures & Television, and the Meisner Technique Studio acting program…Also studying elsewhere (including A.C.T.) in classes ranging from clowning to public speaking, etc. He is known for storytelling, having an adventurous spirit, as well as his community/cultural empowerment. In his free time he creates social media content: @larrydorseyjr
Lowell High School
Callie Floor, since coming to the Bay Area in 1987, she has designed for many theaters, including ACT, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, San Francisco Mime Troupe, California Shakespeare Theatre, West Bay Opera, Zaccho Dance Theatre, Word for Word, and San Francisco Opera Merola Program.
Kathryn C. Gubler
Lowell High School
Kathryn Gubler is a queer Bay Area stage manager and lighting designer. She has worked with local companies such SF Playhouse, Shotgun Players, and Town Hall Theatre Company. Kathryn has taught during Cal Shakes Summer Conservatory as a teaching assistant and workshop leader for lighting design. She is driven to promote brave spaces for self exploration and discovery for all theatre artists. Kathryn has earned her Bachelors in Technical Theatre and Design from Saint Mary’s College of California.
Anne Yumi Kobori
Z Space Collaborator - Young Writers of Color
Anne Yumi Kobori (she/hers) is a Japanese-American playwright, actor, producer, director, and teaching artist. As a director, she has worked with Utopia Theatre Project, EnActe Arts, Los Altos Youth Theatre, and SF Shakespeare Festival, where she spent 5 years as Education Program Manager. She has written multiple short plays for production: The Art of Suffrage (Best of PlayGround 25), New Year, Coward’s Flame, Give Me the Sky (MondayNightPlayGround), Simulation (Pear Theatre), Roses in the Desert (Dragon Theatre) and The Disappearance of Betty La Rose (Neighborhood Stories). Her full-length plays Seeds and Every Day Alice, and her adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull, have premiered with Utopia Theatre Project. Currently, Anne is a co-writer for Braided, a play exploring Native American liberation and Japanese American resilience, in development with Theatre of Yugen. Recent projects include Script Co-Conspirator for A.C.T.’s production of Neo Symposium, and the Pear Slices short play festival with Pear Theatre, where she is a Playwrights’ Guild member. BA Theatre Arts, summa cum laude, Santa Clara University. www.anneyumikobori.com
AccessSFUSD: The Arc
Lauren Kivowitz (she/her) is a performer and teaching artist with a master's degree in Applied Theatre. As an actor, Lauren has performed across theatrical genres, from Shakespeare to experimental theatre, straight plays to operetta and musical theatre, and improv and sketch comedy. As a teaching artist, Lauren facilitates classes for folks of all ages and abilities, using combinations of improv, role-play, music, storytelling, and play-building, and in 2020 she received the ArtCare Arts Learning Achievement Award for her work with ACT and AccessSFUSD: The Arc. As an advocate, Lauren has focused her career on finding ways to support individuals with disabilities in getting equal access to and inclusion in creative and performing arts. A strong believer in the transformative power of theatre, she 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 theatre and other creative arts.
Francisco Middle School (JRAP) | Visitacion Valley Middle School (JRAP)
I found a love for variety arts early on. When I was 6, I went to an outdoor play and a performer was singing a song in the middle of the audience. I remember the joy and energy of that person being right next to me and thinking “Ok, this is it. This is who I want to be”. I found interactive and improvisational performance early in my career and that lit a spark in my mind and heart that has informed every step of my life. Through character, improvisation and interaction I have found new spaces in places we feel are solid and immovable. I am a clown, actor, and director specializing in physical theater, interactive performance, and performer generated works. As a co-artistic director of Under the Table ensemble theater, a major theme of our work has been an examination of the performer’s relationship to the audience. Under the Table has created immersive sets that transport the audience into a facsimile of a submarine in our original production of Monster (2013), as well as created an interactive rock fight with the audience that captures a hilarious siege in our take on The Hunchback(s) of Notre Dame (2011). Under the Table has co-created seven original productions, touring and teaching nationally and internationally. I have also worked as a clown doctor for the last 18 years finding moments of delight, fun and transformation within medical facilities throughout the U.S. Currently I am the lead clown at Laguna Honda with the Medical Clown Project. As a teaching artist I have worked with The New Victory Theater, NYU, Occidental College to name a few. My focus as a teaching artist has been examining character interaction, comedy and site specific performance. Currently I am a lead teaching artist for American Conservatory Theater’s education program. I have performed with San Diego Rep, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Big Apple Circus, and Third Rail Projects. With Third Rail Projects, I played the role of “The Mad Hatter” in Then She Fell, a New York Times Top Ten Pick of 2012, and the role of “Sam” in Ghost Light, performed at Lincoln Center, which was New York Times Critic’s Pick in 2016. I co-wrote and directed Bad Kid, a New York Times Critic’s Pick in 2012, and directed the Chicago Neo-Futurists’ production of Mike Mother, a Time Out Critic’s Pick. I am a graduate of the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre.
Ely Sonny Orquiza
Galing Bata - Bessie Carmichael | Aim High | SF Community School
Hilltop Special Services Center
Marina Middle School (JRAP), Peralta Elementary School
Kimiya Shokri (she/hers) is a Bay Area born and raised Iranian American educator, and theatre maker, committed to creating equitable theatre and uplifting the narratives of her students. She teaches acting courses at Saint Mary's College of California, and she is a teaching artist with American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, and StageWrite. Since graduating from Saint Mary's College of California, she has worked with companies across the Bay Area as an educator, actor, director, writer, and dramaturg.