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Faculty

Nationally recognized talent

Get personal. Small classes with accomplished, working theatre professionals means ample one on one attention for each student. Our faculty are award-winning performers, directors, artistic directors, filmmakers, and veteran teachers. We also bring in guest professionals throughout the year, such as artistic directors, agents, professional actors and alumni to share their experiences and insights.

Beth Harper

Artistic Director
Acting1, Theory Into Practice 1 & 2, Professional Orientation 1 & 2

As the Conservatory’s Artistic Director, Beth designs the curriculum for both the Studio and Conservatory training programs, teaches several acting classes, selects the season of plays, and directs one of the season’s productions.

An award-winning actor, Beth has been involved in local, regional and national theatre for the past 20 years. She was most recently seen in Artists Repertory Theatre’s Circle Mirror Transformation. She has toured Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East with Arts America, and performed in a Northwest tour of Voice of the Oregon Trail. Area directing credits include Drawer Boy featuring William Hurt and Allan Nause at Artists Repertory Theatre, A Piece of My Heart and The Dancers at Lewis & Clark College, Sylvia at Laughing Horse Summer Theatre, and How I Learned to Drive at Artists Repertory Theatre.

Beth did her graduate work in theatre at Portland State University and was a recipient of the 2000 Leslie O. Fulton Fellowship for Artistic Excellence.

Diana Burbano

New Play Development
Production – Year 2

Diana is a Colombian immigrant, a playwright, an Equity actor, and a teaching artist at South Coast Repertory and Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble. Diana’s play Ghosts of Bogota, won the Nu Voices festival at Actors Theatre of Charlotte in 2019. Ghosts was commissioned and debuted at Alter Theater in the Bay Area in Feb 2020. She was in Center Theatre Group’s 2018-19 Writers Workshop cohort and will be joining the Geffen’s Writers Lab in 20-21. She has worked on community projects with South Coast Repertory, Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble and Center Theatre Group.

Plays: Sapience, Playground-SF 2020, Winner Latinx Theatre Festival, San Diego Rep 2020, Finalist Bay Area Playwrights Festival 2020, Policarpa, Semi-finalist Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Festival 2018, Finalist Bay Area Playwrights Festival 2018, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Brown Swan lab 2017, Drama League Rough Draft series May 2017, Honorable Mention, Jane Chambers Award 2017, Parsnip Ship 2017. Fabulous Monsters, Playwrights Arena production 2020 (postponed), Latinx Play Festival, San Diego Rep 2017, Festival51 2016 winner. Picture me Rollin 35th William Inge Festival, Inkfest/2cents, Silueta, (about Ana Mendieta), with Tom and Chris Shelton, Listen to the play at play4keeps.org/play/silueta/ Caliban’s Island (TYA) 2017 Headwaters New Play Festival at Creede Repertory. (Published by YouthPLAYS).

The short piece Linda was written for the 365 Women a Year project and has been featured in more that 20 festivals over the last year, including Center Theatre Group’s community library series. Diana recently played Amalia in Jose Cruz Gonzales’ American Mariachi at South Coast Repertory and Arizona Theatre Company, and Marisela in La Ruta at Artists Repertory. You can also see her as Viv the Punk in the cult musical Isle of Lesbos.

Theresa Dudeck

Improvisation – Year 1

Theresa teaches improvisation and applied improvisation all over the world in both academic and professional settings. She is a recent Fulbright Scholar, which took her to Brazil to teach and direct, and considered one of the foremost teachers of Keith Johnstone’s impro system of training.

Theresa wrote the critically acclaimed Keith Johnstone: A Critical Biography (Bloomsbury 2013) and is co-editor of two books on applied improvisation: Applied Improvisation: Leading, Collaborating, and Creating Beyond the Theatre (Methuen Drama 2018) and The Applied Improvisation Mindset (forthcoming 2021). She is also the co-founder of one of the only international symposiums focused on theatrical improvisation, the Global Improvisation Initiative (GII) and co-director/executive producer of the YouTube docuseries “On Keith: Artists Speaks on Johnstone & Impro.” 

Theresa worked as a professional Los Angeles-based actor/singer/dancer before discovering her passion as a theatre scholar-practitioner-educator. Alongside teaching theatre, over the last two decades, Theresa has directed twenty-seven productions, several of which were new plays in development. Theresa earned her PhD in Theatre from University of Oregon and is a member of Actors’ Equity and the Screen Actors’ Guild. For more information on Theresa, please visit: https://www.theimprofessor.com/

Chris Harder

Meisner Technique – Year 1

Chris is an actor, director and theatre maker dedicated to artistic risk and the creation of new work. He is a Resident Artist with Artists Repertory Theatre and has performed on numerous Portland stages over the past 20+ years. 

Chris began teaching with The Actors Conservatory in 2014, and also currently teaches with Portland Playhouse, and Oregon Children’s Theatre, as well as his private classes.  He holds a commitment to collaboration and playful artistic expression with a goal to help students make personal discoveries, identify challenges, and set objectives in their growth for authentic, unique, and dynamic storytelling. 

For more information on Chris, please visit: www.chrisharder.com

Linda Hayden

Movement – Year 1

Linda is a classically trained actress and teacher who has been working professionally in the theatre for the past 30 years. After graduating from Illinois State University, she continued her studies at Dell ‘Arte International graduating from the Professional Training Program and later touring professionally with the Dell ‘Arte Players Company.  She has studied acting and physical styles with a wide variety of artists including, Uta Hagen, JoAnne Akalaitis, “Avner the Eccentric”, and Carlo Mazzone-Clementi.  She was a founding member of “Option Out”, a Seattle based theatre company dedicated to educating at risk youth around issues of dating and domestic violence. 

Her acting credits include Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Empty Space, Dell ‘Arte Players Comapny, Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre, Profile, Coho, Tygres Heart, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Illinois Shakespeare Company and The Haven Project.  Teaching credits include Dell Arte Outreach, Seattle Repertory Mobile Outreach Bunch, Young Musicians and Artists, Portland Center Stage Visions and Voices, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Portland Parks and Recreation and Run for the Arts.  She has been honored with an OTAS award and nominated for a Drammy.  She is a proud member of Actors Equity Association.

Shelly Lipkin

Audition Technique – Year 2

Shelly is an actor, director, playwright & screenwriter. He was Co-Artistic Director of Cygnet Productions from 2000 to 2003 where he co-authored, produced and starred in Vitriol & Violets – Tales From The Algonquin Round Table which won the 2004 Oregon Book Award for Drama. His second play, Sylver Beaches, was also nominated for an Oregon Book Award. His current screenplay “Morry” is a semi-finalist for the Academy Nicholl Fellowship.

At Third Rail Repertory Theatre he starred in Collapse winning a Drammy Award for supporting actor. At Artist Repertory Theatre he has starred in The Clean House, Blue/Orange and Gross Indecencies; at Profile Theatre he starred in The Price and Sisters Rosensweig and starred in Twelfth Night with Tygres Heart Shakespeare Company. He has also performed with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Santa Fe Repertory Theatre, PCPA in Santa Maria, and other theatres across the country.  

Prior to moving to Lake Oswego he spent 20 years in Los Angeles as a television and film actor. In the past he has taught at Portland State University, UC Berkeley, California Institute of the Arts, Marylhurst University, Clark College, Lakewood Theatre and Northwest Children’s Theatre, Shelly currently teaches acting, screenwriting and directing at The Art Institute of Portland, screenwriting at Mt. Hood Community College and privately.

Sarah Lucht

Text Analysis – Year 1, Breath and Energy

Sarah is a professional (AEA, SAG/AFTRA) actress, educator and workshop facilitator. She began her teaching career at Portland Actors Conservatory in 1998 and, in their program, has taught Acting Two, Text Analysis and a variety of workshops focusing on Meisner, Auditions Techniques, and Breath and Energy for the Actor (a self-developed course utilizing Reichian breath-work, the bioenergetic work of Alexander Lowen, and Meisner-influenced scene study).

Sarah is an Education Associate for Artists Repertory Theatre where she designs and facilitates workshops for all ages, in coordination with the theatre season. She also teaches Auditioning, Scene Study and various audience enrichment programs for Artists Rep, as well as teaching Shakespeare, playwriting, and scene study in area high schools. She is a founding member of the Portland Shakespeare Project, and a faculty member at the Haven Institute in British Columbia where she co-leads acting workshops for business professionals with Jane Geesman. Sarah also does private coaching for performing artists and business leaders, with a special emphasis on breath and energy work.

A Resident Artist with Artists Repertory Theatre since 2013, Sarah first appeared at Artists Rep in The Artificial Jungle almost thirty years ago. Since then, she has appeared in numerous productions at Artists Rep, as well as other local theatres, including most recently at Artists Rep:  Everybody, The Thanksgiving PlayThe Importance of Being EarnestTrevorThe Skin of Our Teeth, and Ten Chimneys. She has also appeared at Portland Center Stage, Profile Theatre, and Lakewood Theatre.

Jacklyn Maddux

Voice / Alexander Technique

​Jacklyn has been teaching voice for over thirty years and is a Certified Alexander Technique teacher (ATI). She has appeared OFF Broadway and regionally (Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre, New York Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse, Kennedy Center, Thirteenth Street Theatre, etc.) She is an Artistic Member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre (NYC).

In Portland, Jacklyn has appeared at Profile Theatre, Third Rail Repertory Theatre, Shaking The Tree Theatre, Chapel Theatre and Corrib Theatre. Jacklyn is also a playwright. Her STRANGE SIGHTINGS IN THE GREAT SOUTHWEST was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Her play, TIME BEING, was given a reading by the Reading Parlor. She is currently working on two new plays, UNSCRAMBLED EGGS and BAD BABIES, A WESTERN FAIRYTALE.

Jacklyn has taught voice, speech and the Alexander Technique at the Neighborhood Playhouse (NYC) and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award. She is a member of Actors Equity and the Dramatists Guild.

Michael Mendelson

Shakespeare

Michael is Artistic Director of Portland Shakespeare Project, a Resident Artist at Artists Repertory Theatre and the resident Shakespeare teacher with Portland Actors Conservatory. Michael received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Wayne State University in 1986 and a Master of Fine Arts from University of Washington’s Professional Actors Training Program in 1989. Michael has worked professionally in theatre arts as an actor since 1989, a director since 2003 and a teacher since 2004. Michael has been teaching Meisner technique / foundation work since 2004 and scene study, both beginning/intermediate and intermediate/advanced privately since 2009.

Michael’s area of expertise would be in moment to moment emotional availability work. Helping an actor discover something authentic about themselves and be bold enough to share it. To reveal deep truths through the text and character. While in New York City, 1999-2003, he studied Meisner technique and scene study with Tanya Berezin. First as a student then as a protege. Michael began teaching with Portland Actors Conservatory in 2011 the foundational Meisner work. Repeat Exercises, independent activity, the knock at the door, and applying the repeat work to scene study. Influenced and mentored in my Shakespeare work by both Lisa Harrow and Bill Alexander, In 2012 I began teaching Shakespeare with the Conservatory.

Michael worked with Classic Stage Company and Play On Shakespeare in NYC during the summer of 2019 as a participant in the Play On! Shakespeare festival, presenting in 5 weeks, staged readings of all 36 new translations of Shakespeare’s major plays in chronological order. Michael’s directing credits include Looking For Tiger Lily, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Understudy, Intimate Apparel and both directed and starred in Mistakes Were Made for Artists Rep. Other directing credits include The Tempest, The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It and Lear’s Follies, and from the Play On! Project out of Oregon Shakespeare Festival staged readings of Ranjit Bolt’s, Much Ado About Nothing and Jeff Whitty’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Portland Shakespeare Project), An Act of God (Nebraska Repertory Theatre), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Northwest Classical Theatre Company), Stones In His Pockets (Public House Theatre), As Is (Key Productions), The Meaning of Prayer (Verbatim Productions) and work with Profile Theatre and Mt. Hood Repertory Theatre.

His acting credits at Artists Rep include over 40 productions.Other theatre include Portland Shakespeare Project, Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Portland, Profile Theatre, Miracle Theatre, Northwest Classical Theatre Company, triangle productions!, Tygres Heart Shakespeare, Portland Center Stage, Reader’s Theatre Repertory and New Rose Theatre. New York credits include Revolving Shakespeare Company, Theatre 1010, The Normal Heart (Lincoln Center/Clark Studio Theatre), Genesius Guild and The Barrow Group. Regional credits include work at PCPA Theatrefest, Paper Mill Playhouse, A Contemporary Theatre, Saint Michael’s Playhouse, Penobscot Theatre Company, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, First Stage Milwaukee, Idaho Rep, Attic Theater and Wisconsin, Utah and Berkeley Shakespeare Festivals. Michael is a proud member of AEA, SAG/AFTRA,& SDC. For more information on Michael, please visit: www.mvmendelson.com

Chris Mikolavich

TAC Production Manager
Theatre Management

Chris has been with the Conservatory since its inception in 1985. He has acted, directed, and stage-managed both locally and nationally. He is a scenic designer, a lighting designer and an award winning sound designer – he has over 120 sound designs since his first in 1985 – and was awarded the Outstanding Sound Design Drammy (co-designed with Wayne Anderson) for Coyote Ugly

Chris is the Conservatory’s resident sound designer and Producing Technical Director. As the former resident set builder for Portland Actors Conservatory Chris has constructed nearly every theatre set for the Conservatory in its 34 year history (93 so far), through 2017. In addition to working for many Portland theatre companies, he has been the Technical Director, Shop Foreman and Facilities Manager for Lewis & Clark College Theatre Department where he taught Technical Theatre and Drafting for Theater, and through Lewis & Clark College’s Graduate School of Continuing Education – Teacher Re-certification in Theatre Program, he taught Designing For Theatre .

He has been a casting director for feature films, TV movies and national commercials, and has toured internationally as Lighting Director for recording artists from Atlantic Records, Arista Records and RCA Records recording labels. For the Grand Opening of the Performing Arts Center in downtown Portland, Chris was rigging assistant to Phillipe Petit – the highwire artist who illegally traversed between the Twin Towers in NYC.

Dámaso Rodríguez

Director at Artists Repertory Theatre
New Play Development and Production – Year 2, BIPOC Playwrights Advanced Scene Study – Year 2

Dámaso is in his eighth season as Artistic Director of Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland’s longest-running professional theatre company, which became a member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) under his leadership. Plays developed during his tenure have been produced in New York, Chicago, London, and throughout the U.S. Acclaim for Artists Rep developed projects includes the Dramatists Guild Foundation Award, the Edgerton New Play Award, NEA Funding, American Theatre Magazine’s Most Produced Plays list, and coverage in the New Yorker and the New York Times. He is a Co-Founder of L.A.’s Furious Theatre, where he served as Co- Artistic Director from 2001-2012 (named to LA Weekly’s “Best Theatres of the Decade” list). From 2007-2010 he served as Associate Artistic Director of the Pasadena Playhouse, where he directed main stage productions and oversaw programming for the Playhouse’s second stage, including its Hothouse New Play Development Program. He has directed a broad range of new and classic plays including over 20 Artists Rep productions, along with work at South Coast Repertory, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Conservatory Theater, Seattle Rep, Intiman Theatre, A Noise Within, The Playwrights’ Center, New Dramatists, The New Harmony Project, The Theatre@Boston Court, Pasadena Playhouse, and Furious Theatre.

Dámaso is a recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, the Back Stage Garland Award, the NAACP Theatre Award, and the Pasadena Arts Council’s Gold Crown Award. His productions have won or been nominated for dozens of awards including Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Awards, LA Weekly Theatre Awards, and Stage Scene LA Awards, among others. He was honored as a Finalist for the Zelda Fichandler Award by the Stage Directors & Choreographers Foundation and was named a Knowledge Universe Rising Star by Portland Monthly.  He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Zeina Salame

aka Dr. Z
Acting 1 – Year 1, BIPOC Playwrights Adv. Scene Study – Year 2

Zeina holds a PhD in Theatre Arts and Graduate Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Oregon where she was also listed among “100 Ducks Who Made a Difference.” Her dissertation, “Carried in One Woman: Reflections on Arab American Female Solo Performance” emphasizes the profound value of personal story, the self, and social justice as aesthetics.
A two-time participant in the National Institute for Directing and Ensemble Creation (Pangea World Theatre, Art2Action, Inc.), Zeina credits those experiences for their great influence on her scholarly and creative work. Her teaching and artistic philosophies center on community building, mentorship, activist dramaturgy, radical aesthetics, body positivity, gender inclusivity, anti-racist and anti-colonial classroom, production, and professional practices.

As a longtime arts educator, projects have included collaborations with youth organizations serving under-resourced communities, K-12 public schools, colleges and universities, and advocacy groups aiding refugees, womxn, and the unhoused.
Additional work as an Applied Theatre practitioner includes Zeina’s time as UO’s Coordinator of Improvisational Science Communication Training Activities, during which she used improv to coach STEM researchers across levels and fields as they worked toward their communication goals.

Select directing credits: (Guthrie Theatre’s Level Nine) Zafira and the Resistance, co-directed with Michael Malek Najjar and produced by New Arab American Theatreworks, (Western Oregon University) Middletown, (University of Oregon) Avenue Q, Stage Kiss, A Second of Pleasure, AD: Sila, AD: Ecstasy | A Water Fable, (Daytona State College) Batboy: The Musical, Urinetown, I Hate Hamlet, Reasons to Be Pretty.

A few favorite roles include solo performance of Heather Raffo’s 9 Parts of Desire, “Josie” in A Moon for the Misbegotten, and “Rosemary” in Picnic.
She has deep roots as a stage manager, has worked in radio, done a wee-tiny bit of film and television (students who can track down her minuscule music video moment get candy and a gold star), and even written for an award show or two while associate producing on a couple of Hollywood red carpet events. Ask her about her work as a “dramturgiographer/choreograturg”! She is also a co-founder of Florida-based theatre company, The 5 & Dime.

Luisa Sermol

Dialect Intensive – Year 2

Luisa Sermol is a classically trained actress and teacher who has been part of the Portland Theater community for over three decades. A graduate of the Juilliard School, she also holds a Masters in Education (Lewis and Clark College) and a BA in English Literature (Portland State University). She has studied voice/diction/dialects with such luminaries as Nancy Houfek, Catherine Fitzmaurice, Robert Neff Wiliams, Liz Smith, Brooks Baldwin, Deborah Lapidus, and Nancy Lane. She is a member Actors’ Equity Association, Screen Actors’ Guild and is a private acting coach.

Over the years, her teaching/workshop experience includes Portland Shakespeare Project, Portland Community College, Lewis and Clark College, Reed College, University of Washington, University of California, Santa Cruz, Foothill College, SIETAR (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research), Artists Repertory Theater Actors-To-Go, Rosemont Adolescent Treatment Facility, Open Meadow School, Multnomah County Juvenile Court System, and Portland Center Stage Outreach.

She is “pre-tired” from her full time public school teacher gig and is now living, acting and teaching in the Bay Area. In addition to teaching for The Actors Conservatory, she is a guest teacher for Portola Conservatory theater and the tony award winning, Theatreworks Silicon Valley. Her acting credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, Williamstown, Theatreworks Silicon Valley, City Lights Theatre, Hillbarn Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theater, Broadway Rose, Badass, Profile, Coho, Cygnet, Shaking the Tree, Corrib, Miracle and has been a guest artist with the Oregon Symphony and the Yakima Symphony. She has been honored with 5 Drammy awards for Actress in a Lead Role. Film/television work includes Leverage, Personals, Zero Effect, Grimm and the award winning animated short, Insect Poetry.

Carol Ann Wohlmut

Theatre Management

Carol Ann has been stage managing for 20+ years and is currently a Resident artist at ArtistsRep Theater in Portland, Oregon. While at ART she has stage managed:  The Weir, Art, The Shape of Things, Copenhagen, Top Dog/Underdog, The Lobby Hero, Mercy Seat, Enchanted April, The Seagull, Assassins, Mr. Marmalade, Mars on Life – The Holiday Edition, Rabbit Hole, Blackbird, Three Sisters, Design for Living, Othello, Ah, Wilderness!, Mars on Life-Live!, The Cherry Orchard, God of Carnage, Red Herring, Ithaka, Mistakes Were Made, The Playboy of the
Western World, Blithe Spirit, The Invisible Hand, The Liar, Broomstick, Mothers and Sons, Grand Concourse, Feathers and Teeth, The Importance of Being Earnest, An Octoroon, The Humans, The Thanksgiving Play, Skeleton Crew, It’s a Wonderful Life: a Radio Play, Revolutionists, 1984, LaRuta 
and Indecent.

In addition to stage management, Carol Ann has been a properties artisan, production manager, board operator, an even an accountant for a variety of theatres in the Portland area over the past 30+ years. These theatres include Portland Center Stage, Portland Rep, Stark Raving Theater, New Rose Theatre, Triangle Productions, Musical Theater Co, Metro Performing Arts, Northwest Children’s Theatre, and Carousel Co. Carol Ann also guest lectures on the topics of Stage Management, Theater Administrative Management and making a living in theatre arts.