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.
Shakespeare, Styles, Advanced Acting / Rehearsal & Performance
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. www.mvmendelson.com
Theresa Robbins Dudeck
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/
Audition Technique, Monologue Development, Professional Orientation
Phillip is a classically trained actor and professional acting coach from San Antonio, TX. On stage, he has performed with Tony Award Winning Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Titan Theatre Company, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Intiman Theatre, Portland Shakespeare Project, and Artists Repertory Theatre. In front of the camera, Phillip has appeared in ads for clients such as: Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, Brooks Running, Altra Running, Oregon Health Insurance, and AutoNation among others. Phillip holds a B.F.A. in Acting from Texas State University, and an M.F.A. in Acting from The University of Washington. www.philliprayguevara.com
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
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.
Text Analysis for the Actor 1 – Realism & 2 – Classical, Theory Into Practice, 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 Play, The Importance of Being Earnest, Trevor, The Skin of Our Teeth, and Ten Chimneys. She has also appeared at Portland Center Stage, Profile Theatre, and Lakewood Theatre.
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.
Kristen Mun-Van Noy
Studio Program – Stage Combat
Kristen Mun-Van Noy was born and raised on the island of Oahu where she started her theatrical stage combat training. She has been training and working in the field of theatrical combat for almost 20 years and since 2012 she has been working as a fight choreographer and teacher in the city of Portland, OR. She owes her training to Dueling Arts International and her time as assistant fight choreographer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (09-10) with resident Fight Director U. Jonathan Toppo. She has received multiple Awards for Best Fight Choreography. Outside of Portland she has worked at Utah Shakespeare Festival and Idaho Repertory Theatre. She is a proud graduate of Maryknoll High School (05) and Southern Oregon University (09).
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”.
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 Technique 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.
Luan Schooler is the Director of Artistic Programming at Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, Oregon. There she has commissioned and developed work with notable American playwrights including E.M. Lewis, Yussef El Guindi, Larissa FastHorse, Hansol Jung, Kareem Fahmy, Dael Orlandersmith, Ethan Slater & Nick Blaemire, Diana Burbano, Linda Alper, Andrea Stolowitz, Daniel Kitrosser, and more. Prior to joining Artists Rep, she was the Literary Manager/Dramaturg for Berkeley Rep, where she worked with many luminary writers, including David Edgar, Naomi Iizuka, Salman Rushdie, Dominique Serrand, Rinde Eckert, and Robert Fagles. Additionally, she served as dramaturg for the new Play On! translation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet by Lisa Peterson. During her time at Artists Rep, she has directed productions including the world premiere of The Thanksgiving Play (Larissa FastHorse), A Doll’s House, Part 2 (Lucas Hnath), The Children (Lucy Kirkwood), and co-directed with Dámaso Rodríguez The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart (David Greig). In addition to working with Ellen Lewis on Strange Birds, Luan is also dramaturg on Ellen’s new epic play, The Great Divide (a co-commission between Artists Rep and Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s American Revolution program), and recently directed her play, True Story.
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 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.
Acting Technique 1, Movement (Suzuki)
Joellen Sweeney (she/her) is a Portland-based actor, director and teaching artist. She has performed locally with Artists Repertory Theatre, Anonymous Theatre, Shaking the Tree Theatre, Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, and others, as well as regionally with Seattle Shakespeare Company. When creating and performing her own work, Joellen is passionate about storytelling that connects audiences more deeply to their environment. In 2016, she co-founded Bedrock Theatre, a performance collective that combines storytelling, live music, and hiking in parks and wilderness areas. She has also directed site-specific works for Renegade Opera and Enso Theatre Ensemble. Joellen received her MFA in Acting from the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program. joellensweeney.com
Angie Tennant (they/them) is an actor, teaching artist and private coach who has recently relocated to Portland after a decade of performing in New York City. They hold an MFA in Acting from The New School for Drama, where they studied under greats like Kathleen Chalfant, Dianne Weist, Cotter Smith, and Peter Jay Fernandez. They went on to teach at Circle in the Square, The New School for Drama, and Columbia University’s MFA in Acting Program. As an actor, Angie is a proud member of Actor’s Equity and has performed Off-Broadway and on regional stages in New York, New Jersey, and now Portland. For more information about Angie’s acting, teaching, and private coaching, visit www.angietennant.com
Amanda Vander Hyde
Amanda Vander Hyde is currently a freelance Intimacy Choreographer in Portland, specializing in working on queer, femme projects as well as with youth and young professionals. She has recently worked at Linfield University, Portland Opera, Bag & Baggage, and was also Intimacy Coordinator for multiple productions at Portland Center Stage in the year of 2022 and 2023. She is currently the resident Intimacy Choreographer for Valley Shakespeare Company. She is also a Stage and Production Manager in the Portland Area. Currently, she is the Production Manager of MediaRites Productions, one of the Stage Managers in rep at Oregon Children’s Theatre, and on the Stage Management team at Portland Center Stage. She holds a BFA in Technical Production from Western Oregon University. In her ample spare time, she is also a friend, a wife, and a cat mom.
Samantha Van Der Merwe
Advanced Acting / Rehearsal 1
Samantha Van Der Merwe/ Founding Artistic Director- Shaking The Tree “She creates lush, often dark and fantastical, environments that bring home the hard issues we need to face but are often unwilling to do on a daily basis. It’s a vision that needs to be supported because in her hands, some plays can be transformative.” Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Samantha Van Der Merwe has now lived in the United States for 26 years, and is the founding Artistic Director of Shaking the Tree Theatre in Portland, OR. Founded in 2003, Shaking the Tree Theatre has become known for melding the boundaries of theatre and visual art by presenting thrilling and unconventional theatrical experiences.
Directing projects: Forbidden Fruit, Fucking A (Suzan-Lori Parks), Chick Fight (Devised/words by Sara Jean Accuardi), Family (Celine Song), REFUGE (Art Installation/Devised), BAKKHAI (Euripides/Anne Carson), Escaped Alone (Caryl Churchill), _____ the wolf (devised), SALT (devised), Macbeth (William Shakespeare), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Bertolt Brecht), Come to the Table, Mike Pence (Devised), Miss Julie (August Strindberg, adapted by Craig Lucas), We’re All Mad Here (Devised), Venus and Adonis (William Shakespeare), Head. Hands. Feet. (Devised & Edna O’Brien), Orpheus and Eurydice (Devised), A Doll’s House (Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Frank McGuinness), Passion Play (Sarah Ruhl), Suddenly Last Summer (Tennessee Williams), Masque of the Red Death (Featuring Playwrights West), One Flea Spare (Naomi Wallace), Wilde Tales (Oscar wilde, adapted by Karin Magaldi), Far Away (Caryl Churchill), The Tripping Point (Featuring Playwrights West), Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act (Athol Fugard).
Bio and headshot coming soon!