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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.

Michael Mendelson

Managing Artistic Director
Shakespeare, Acting 1, Styles, Professional Lab

Michael is Artistic Director of Portland Shakespeare Project, a Resident Artist at Artists Repertory Theatre and the resident Shakespeare teacher with The Actors Conservatory. Well known in Portland as an actor, director and teacher, Michael received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Wayne State University and a Master of Fine Arts from University of Washington’s Professional Actors Training Program. While in New York City, he studied with Tanya Berezin. Michael’s directing credits include The Importance of Being Earnest, The Understudy, Intimate Apparel and both directed and starred in Mistakes Were Made for Artists Rep. For Portland Shakespeare Project: An Educational First Reading of The Winter’s Tale translated by Tracy Young, The Tempest, The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It and Lear’s Follies and from the Play on! Shakespeare, staged readings of Ranjit Bolt’s Much Ado About Nothing and Jeff Whitty’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 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 staged readings of Botticelli (Profile Theatre) and Dinner With Friends (Mt. Hood Repertory Theatre). His acting credits at Artists Rep include Indecent, 1984, Small Mouth Sounds, Magellanica, An Octoroon, Marjorie Prime, Trevor, The Price, also Tribes, The Skin of our Teeth, Blithe Spirit, The Quality of Life, Ten Chimneys, Red Herring and Sherlock in Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol, God of Carnage, The Cherry Orchard, Superior Donuts, Othello, Design for Living, Holidazed, Becky’s New Car, Three Sisters, Eurydice, House, Garden, Orson’s Shadow, Mr. Marmalade, Theater District and Love!Valour!Compassion! Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night with Portland Shakes. Other local credits include Scrooge in A Christmas Carol with Portland Playhouse and work with 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 SDC, AEA, and SAG-AFTRA.

Theresa Robbins Dudeck

Movement, Improvisation

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 published by Methuen Drama: Applied Improvisation: Leading, Collaborating, and Creating Beyond the Theatre (2018) and The Applied Improvisation Mindset (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/

Michael Griggs

Beat Analysis for the Actor 2 – Classical

Michael has been working in the theatre for many years as a director, actor, and producer. He co-directed E.M. Lewis’s Song of Extinction at Twilight Theater and directed and co-produced The Inheritance for Fertile Ground, Enjoy at CoHo Productions and directed Raven Stories at Tears of Joy Theatre. A Drammy award-winning director, other Portland theatres where he has directed include Artists Repertory Theatre, Hand2Mouth, New Rose Theatre, Storefront Theatre, Theatre Vertigo, Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center and The Other Side Theatre. He is the former Artistic Director of the New Rose Theatre (1985-1989), Bear Republic Theater of Santa Cruz, California (1974-1985), and the Portland International Performance Festival (1991-2002). He has directed more than 70 productions in regional professional, international and educational theatre, and has taught and guest directed at Portland State University, Lewis & Clark College, University of Portland, Linfield College, Willamette University, and is currently on the faculty of The Actors Conservatory. In past years he taught and directed internationally, working extensively in Japan, India, Latin America and Europe.

Chris Harder

Meisner Technique, Viewpoints, Graduation Thesis Research/Project

Chris is an award-winning actor, a director and theatre maker dedicated to artistic risk and the creation of new work. He is a Resident Artist with Artists Repertory Theatre and was an original member of the Sowelu Theater Ensemble for seven seasons. Chris has performed in a numerous plays and world premier workshops with nationally recognized playwrights and professional companies including; Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Third Rail Repertory, Portland Playhouse, Portland Shakespeare Project, CoHo Productions, Profile Theatre, Shaking The Tree, Sojourn Theatre, Stark Raving Theatre, Well Arts, Red Door Project, Sun Valley Shakespeare and Portland Civic Theatre Guild. As a creator, Chris developed and performed two original solo shows (The Centering and Fishing For My Father) touring to both Edmonton and Boulder International Fringe Festivals. In film and television Chris has worked with Academy Award winning artists and is a proud member of the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and Actors Equity Association. Chris has been teaching acting for over 20 years. www.chrisharder.com

Beth Harper

Artistic Director Emeritus
Theory Into Practice, Monologue Development

Ms. Harper began her professional acting and directing career over 35 years ago at Artists Rep. Her directing credits with Artists Rep include FM, Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music, How I Learned to Drive, and Drawer Boy (featuring Allen Nause). Ms. Harper is the founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of the The Actors Conservatory, a nationally accredited independent school for actor training. Beth has directed over 35 productions for the Conservatory. Her favorites include: A Piece of my Heart, Holy Ghosts, This Random World, Good Kids, and Fuddy Meers. Beth loves to travel and has worked both nationally and internationally as a performing artist. Beth is a commissioner for the National Association of Schools of Theatre, is the recipient of the Leslie O. Fulton Fellowship for Artistic Excellence and received the Drammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 for her outstanding leadership and accomplishment in education and professional theatre.

Shelly Lipkin

Acting for Film, Graduation Thesis Research/Project

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

Beat Analysis for the Actor 1 – Realism, Styles, Breath & 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

Studio Program
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.

Chris Mikolavich

TAC Production Manager, Technical Director

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.

Michael O’Connell

Voice

Mike is an award-winning actor, director, and teaching professional. He has taught at Portland State University for twenty years specializing in Voice for the Actor and Script Analysis. Mike is a certified Fitzmaurice Voicework Associate Teacher, a proud member of Actor’s Equity, VASTA, and studied the Linklater technique through Louis Colaianni. MFA, University of Missouri at Kansas City.

A founding member of Third Rail Repertory Theatre and program director of its Mentorship Program. Mike is devoted to the growth of emerging artists and an enthusiastic kick-ball coach. Mike led and fostered Portland Center Stage’s hallmark outreach program, Visions and Voices, and directed the Promising Playwrights of JAW. Mike has worked outreach for Artists Repertory Theatre teaching life skills through theatre in a wide variety of venues. As a private audition coach, Mike has assisted candidates towards acceptance in multiple top ten graduate programs.

Representative examples of recent work: Director: “Gidion’s Knot”, “The Flick”, Third Rail Repertory Theatre. Actor: Portland Playhouse: “Wakey Wakey”, Artists Repertory Theater: The “Thanksgiving Play”, Third Rail: “The Lying Kind” (Drammy Award), “Recent Tragic Events”, (Drammy Award), “The Realistic Joneses”, “The Nether”, “Penelope”, “The Night Alive”, Coho Theater: “The Few”, “The Year of the Rooster”.

Bruce Poinsette

Studio Program
Stereotypes in Storytelling: How It Happens, Why It Matters and What We Can Do

Bruce Poinsette is a writer and community organizer whose work is primarily based in the Portland Metro Area. A former reporter for the Skanner News Group, his work has also appeared in the The Oregonian, Street Roots, Around the O, and We Out Here Magazine, as well as projects such as the Mercatus Collective and the Urban League of Portland’s State of Black Oregon 2015. In addition to his professional writing work, Poinsette also serves as the Media Action Team Leader for Respond to Racism LO, a grassroots anti- racism organization in his hometown of Lake Oswego, Oregon.

William Earl Ray

Acting 2, Advanced Scene Study

William (Bill) Earl Ray is a Director/Actor with 40+ years of experience in the business. Directing credits are: Lonely Planet, No Niggers, No Jews, No Dogs (The No Play), Two Trains Running, Skeleton Crew, King Liz, AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’, A RAISIN IN THE SUN & HAVING OUR SAY, staring Ms. Irma P. Hall (Big Mama of Soul Food movie fame, and A Family Thing), BEEHIVE, THE 60’s MUSICAL, THE GIN GAME, THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS, FIRES IN THE MIRROR, A SONG FOR CORETTA, A LOVESONG FOR MISS LYDIA, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, JERRY’s GIRLS, AGNES OF GOD, THE HEIRESS, SEA MARKS, CEREMONIES IN DARK OLD MEN, LILIES OF THE FIELD, and others. Some of William’s acting credits would include, THE WHIPPING MAN, MASTHAROLD AND THE BOYS, THE MEETING, BLUES FOR AN ALABAMA SKY, DRIVING MISS DAISY, MISERY, GOD’S FAVORITE, TWO TRAINS RUNNING, JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE, DIRTY WORK, COBB, MISS EVERS BOYS, THE SUNSET LIMITED, PIANO LESSON, AUDIENCE, OF MICE AND MEN, A STREET CAR NAMED DESIRE, SIMPLY HEAVENLY, BANK JOB, AMEN CORNER and others. TV and Film credits include – THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN, THE GAS CAFÉ’, CADILLAC RANCH, THE TEMP, DR. GIGGLES, TERROR IN THE TOWERS, BETTER OFF DEAD, WALKER TEXAS RANGER and the soon to be released short film, Con Alma, See Me, Big Foot and Metal.

William is a member of Actors Equity, Screen Actors Guild and a graduate of the Evergreen State College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the performing arts.

Jamie Rea

Professional Orientation

Bio coming soon!

Miriam Schwartz

Shakespeare 1

Miriam Schwartz (she/her): Originally from Seattle, WA, Miriam Schwartz has spent the majority of her career in Minneapolis where past credits include roles at the Guthrie Theater, Mixed Blood Theatre, Six Points Theatre, Artistry MN, 7th House Theatre Company, Arrow Theatre Company, and The Playwrights’ Center. She is the recipient of a 2018 MN Theatre Award for Exceptional Individual Performance for her work in the Guthrie’s production of INDECENT– a role she was honored to play again at Artists Rep in collaboration with Profile Theatre in 2020. Miriam is a graduate of the Guthrie Theater’s BFA Actor Training Program. 

Luisa Sermol

Dialect Intensive

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.

Paul Stein

Paul Stein

Design Lab, Theatre Management, Production Management & Tech
Studio Program – Sketch Comedy and Playwriting

Paul Stein has directed and produced world premiere plays, comedy events and solo shows in theaters and festivals across the United States, Canada and Europe.  Formerly the Executive Producer of the Comedy Central Stage, a talent development venue for Comedy Central and Viacom, Mr. Stein produced over 1,600 live shows during his tenure. From first-look showcases to in-house pilot presentations, Paul worked with such noted performers as W. Kamau Bell, Russell Brand, Chris Garcia, Nikki Glaser, Marc Evan Jackson, Marc Maron, Randall Park, Jill Soloway, Sarah Silverman, Daniel Tosh, Reggie Watts, and Kristina Wong, to name a few.  Additionally, Paul was a Venue Producer for HBO at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, The Comedy Festival at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and the HBO Workspace in Los Angeles.

He is the creator and artistic producer of The Car Plays, an immersive site-specific event where shorts plays are performed to patrons in parked cars.  For ten years, Car Play productions have presented over 100 world premiere plays throughout Southern California and collaborated with over 500 theater artists.  The Car Plays have been produced at the La Jolla Playhouse for their WoW (Without Walls) Festivals; for Segerstrom Center’s Off-Center Festivals; and for Theatre Communications Group at their TCG National Conference.

As an instructor, he has taught playwriting, sketch writing, solo performing, and technical theater production at a variety of acting training programs including: The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, I.O. West, Second City Hollywood, Westside Comedy, UCB Theatre, VS. Studio, and most recently for Portland Community College and Kickstand Comedy.  He is excited to call Portland his new home with his wife, Lynn and their 12-year old daughter, Kiera.

Andrea White

Acting 1, Theory Into Practice

Andrea White is an Actor, Director, and Teaching Artist. She has taught theater and directed students ranging from Elementary to Conservatory Level with a concentration on devised work and Scene Study.

Andrea has been seen on Portland Stages in productions of Portland Playhouse’s Gem of the Ocean (Black Mary), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Dussie Mae), Radio Golf (Mame), Artist Repertory’s Two Sister’s and a Piano (Sophia) for which she won a Drammy Award for Best Supporting Actress. While in Los Angeles, Andrea was in a two year run of the 30th revival of the musical HAIR! directed by James Rado. Her television credits include Family Matters, NYPD BLUE, Living Single, Leverage, and Grimm.

Andrea is delighted to return to the Conservatory.