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.

Eugenie Chan is artistic director and playwright of Eugenie Chan Theater Projects. Theatres that have produced or developed her award-winning plays include: ECTP/6NewPlays, The Public, Playwrights Horizons, Ma-Yi, Houston Grand Opera: HGOco, Cutting Ball, Magic Theatre, SF Mime Troupe, Crowded Fire, Northwest Asian American Theatre, East West, and Perishable. She has received commissions from Houston Grand Opera, Cutting Ball, San Francisco Arts Commission, and the Magic/Sloan Science Initiative. Her award-winning screenplays have been seen at the Big Apple, San Diego, Disorient, Berlin, and Cinestory Film Festivals. Eugenie is a Resident Alumna of New Dramatists, Playwrights Foundation, and Cutting Ball. Adjunct Professor, University of San Francisco Performing Arts & Social Justice Department.

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.

 

Deb Fink has been an acting teacher and career coach in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York, since the early 1990’s.  She currently teaches, coaches and consults on camera acting through her program Comfort On Camera, in group classes, to corporate clients and in private and semi-private sessions. Deb teaches, or has taught, for The Waterfront Conservatory, the San Francisco Acting Academy/SFAA (Casting Networks), Voice One, UC extension, Marin Shakespeare Company, JE Talent as well as on set for TV, Commercial, Film and Industrial shoots. While in New York, Deb coached on camera auditions for clients at the William Morris Agency (WME).  A graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Deb is a professional actor in Theater, Film, TV and Voiceover.

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.

 

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

Maya Herbsman is a theatre director, intimacy director, and teaching artist. She is also currently the Associate Artistic Director at Cutting Ball Theater. She received her BA in Theater from Wesleyan University, where she was awarded the Rachel Henderson Memorial Prize for excellence in directing. As an intimacy director, she has worked with Shotgun Players, Aurora Theatre Company, Cutting Ball Theater, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Crowded Fire Theater, New Conservatory Theatre Center, Quantum Dragon Theatre, Custom Made Theatre Co., and Golden Thread Productions. Favorite intimacy credits include Women Laughing Alone with Salad (Shotgun Players) and La Ronde (Cutting Ball Theater). She is currently an apprentice with Intimacy Directors International.

Timothy 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

 

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.

 

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. 

Michelle Maxson is a professional actress, maker, teacher, and occasional casting director for independent film. As an actress she has worked in New York City, the SF Bay Area, and internationally. She has created original works in NYC at The Culture Project, HERE Arts Center, Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, and in SF at the Climate Theater. In film she has worked as an actress and local casting director for the independent films Burn Country, starring James Franco and Melissa Leo, and Freeland, starring Krisha Fairchild and Lily Gladstone. Michelle started her teaching career in 2002 using theater as tool to teach conflict resolution/social emotional learning to at-risk youth in New York City. From 2008-2010, she was the program director of San Francisco based Rising Voices, a writing and performance internship for formerly incarcerated women, and she is currently an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco.

 

Carolina Morones is an Actor and Bilingual Teaching Artists focused on theatre that empowers through poetry and movement. She returns to the Bay Area after 7 seasons in resdience at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Graduate of Santa Clara University with a BA in Theatre & Performance, Kent State University with an MFA in Acting and a Teaching Certificate from the Great Lakes Michael Chekhov Consortium. Most recently she played the role of Sonia Sotomayor in She Persisted, the Musical at Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Beatrice in Shakespeare In Detroit’s Much Ado Para Nada and Darushka in Central Works’s Ward 6.

Sam Pinkleton is a New York City­–based director and choreographer. His work on Broadway includes Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 (Tony Award nomination); Significant Other; Amélie, A New Musical; Heisenberg; and Machinal. His opera credits include Salome (Oper Köln), Trouble in Tahiti (Dutch National Opera), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opéra-Orchestre National de Montpellier). Pinkleton’s upcoming work includes Soft Power (The Public Theater) and Break the Night (Virgin Voyages). He has directed and choreographed off-Broadway at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep., Roundabout Theatre Company, The Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Theatre for a New Audience, as well as regionally at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theater, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, TheaterworksUSA, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Center Theatre Group,  and McCarter Theatre Center. He is a collaborating artist with The Civilians, Pig Iron Theatre Company, and The Dance Cartel.

 

Thaddeus Pinkston has been a member of the YC and Studio A.C.T. faculty for 12 years. As the YC Cabaret Program accompanist, he plays and arranges music for the Musical Ensemble, Cabaret Ensemble, Middle School Cabaret Ensemble, and a number of special events and musical theater classes. Thaddeus was musical director and co-composer for “Saint Tous” which premiered at La Mama along with Broadway Legend Andre De Shields. He also musical directed and toured with the Fifth Dimension’s rendering of “Ain’t Misbehavin” and served Musical Director for The Color Purple's Benefit Concert in San Francisco. He has accompanied a host of stellar performers and ensembles for American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Telluride Jazz Festival, Jazz Legend Stan Getz, Blues icon singer Koko Taylor known as the “The Queen of the Blues,” American folk singer Joan Baez, Maurice Hines, Freda Payne, and Jennifer Holiday.

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.

 

Radhika Rao is an actor, improviser, storyteller, director, writer, and arts educator/consultant. She has performed theater in the United States and abroad. She has an Ed.D from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and specializes in creating curriculum that integrates theater into diverse learning situations for various populations and organizations. Her work is steeped deeply in respect for life and social justice. Her collaborations include work with American Conservatory Theater, Cutting Ball Theater, Young Audiences of Northern California, Noorani Dance, Leela Improv, Enacte, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Eth-Noh-Tec Storytelling, Berkeley Repertory Theater, New Conservatory Theatre Center, Larkin St Youth Services, Life Theatre Services, Green Art Workshop, University of San Francisco, Santa Clara University, Samuel Merritt University, Stanford University, Adyen, Cisco, and HCL America.

radhikarao.org

 

Tom Ross inaugurated Berkeley’s Aurora Theater Company with Barbara Oliver in 1992.  He served as its Managing Director and Producing Director - and was Artistic Director from 2004 to 2019.  He has directed and produced shows all over the Bay Area, including helming 27 productions for Aurora. Additionally, during a seven year period, Tom co-produced over 140 solo performers for the SF Solo Mio Festival. Prior to coming to the Bay Area, Tom worked for impresario Joseph Papp at NYC's Public Theater, first as his Executive Assistant and then as Co-Director of Play and Musical Development.

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.