Education Team

Juan Manzo

Director of Education & Community Programs

Juan Manzo is an arts education professional and advocate with over 15 years 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. Manzo has worked as a teaching artist and arts education consultant for multiple organizations, including StageWrite, The Old Globe, San 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 for all students regardless of socioeconomic status or race.

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

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.

 

Hannah Clague

ACTsmart Residencies Coordinator

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.

 

Jarrett Holley

School and Community Programs Associate

Jarrett Holley is honored to work with A.C.T. after having previously worked with African American Shakespeare designing fights and dances for their 2017-2018 season. He is originally from Memphis, TN but has lived and worked in the Bay Area for 10 years after graduating from the Academy of Art University with an AA in Motion Pictures and Television here in the city. He has a passion for languages, swords, and stage combat and is known as the resident Star Wars encyclopedia among his friends. 

Teaching Artists

Carlos Aguirre

Downtown High School Residency

Carlos Aguirre (actor, musician, vocal percussionist, educator) has been performing both as an actor and hip-hop artist in the Bay Area for over 19 years. He has shared the stage with The Roots, Eryka Badu, Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige, Jam Master Jay, L.L. Cool J, Macy Gray and George Clinton among others. He his currently producing his original rap and beatbox adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart as well as sharing his experience by teaching at various schools and at-risk environments throughout the Bay Area.

 

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 WoyzeckThe Death of MeyerholdA Seagull in the HamptonsTruffaldino 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 MegillahKML Plays with Beckett (at A.C.T.), and Patronizes the Arts.

Brit Frazier

San Francisco Boys & Girls Club Tenderloin residency

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.

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.

 

Ely Sonny Orquiza

Ida B. Wells Residency
Bessie Carmichael / Galing Bata Residency
San Francisco Boys & Girls Club Columbia Park residency

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

Jerry Rosenstein Arts Project

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.

 

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

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