Teaching Artists

Bay Area Shakespeare Camps, Residencies and workshops are led by trained theatre professionals!

Anne Yumi Kobori

Anne Yumi Kobori+ Education Programs Manager

Anne Yumi Kobori is an actor, director, playwright, costume designer, and teaching artist. She adapted Chekhov’s The Seagull and played Nina in Utopia Theatre Project’s inaugural production in 2014. Her plays Seeds and Every Day Alice have premiered at Utopia. Her performance credits include the title role in Hamlet, Desdemona in Othello, Ariel in The Tempest (Silicon Valley Shakespeare), Ophelia in Hamlet on Tour (San Francisco Shakespeare Festival), Peggy Maruyama in Allegiance (CCCT), and numerous ShotzSF comedy shorts. Anne is the Education Program Manager of SF Shakes, and will be directing a Butoh-inspired Macbeth with their touring program this fall. www.AnneYumiKobori.com

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Brittany Villars Teaching Artist

Brittany Villars is a Teaching Artist, Director, and Actor. A Seattle Native who loves to share stories. Graduated with B.A in Communications: Film studies and a minor in Dramatic Arts from Northwest University. For the last six years they have served as a teaching artist with Seattle’s Young Shakespeare Workshop. They’ve portrayed Rosalind in YSW’s As You Like It in 2016 & 2017 summer shows. They directed the main stage production of The Tempest, served as the Stage Manager for the production of The Diary of Anne Frank, and participated on stage in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and at Northwest University. They are looking forward to working alongside fellow artists at San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.

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Carolina Morones Teaching Artist

Carolina is an Actor and Bilingual Teaching Artist focused on theatre that empowers through poetry and movement. She returns to the Bay Area after 7 seasons in residence at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Graduate of Santa Clara University with a BA in Theatre & Performance and of Kent State University with an MFA in Acting. Currently in her 2nd year teaching in-school residency programs for A.C.T in San Francisco, and is excited to be teaching this fall at Studio A.C.T. 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’ Ward 6.

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Ella Ruth Francis+ Teaching Artist

Ella is a writer and performer who first came in contact with SF Shakes in their summer camps when she was 6 and fell completely in love with the Bard's language. Since then she completed the actor training program with the Pacific Conservatory Theatre (PCPA). Some favorite acting credits include Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (SF Shakes) and Natalie in Next to Normal (Los Altos Stage).


Evan Held Teaching Artist

Evan is a recent graduate from the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts (PCPA), and excited to be back home in the Bay Area. He's been involved in numerous Shakespeare productions across the years. He's done shows all over Sonoma and Marin counties with companies like Shakespeare in the Cannery, Redwood Theater Company, Santa Rosa Junior College, and Marin Summer Theater.

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Henry Alper Teaching Artist

Henry Alper is a longtime member of the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival family, since  joining as a camper in the first grade! The Festival is what sparked his love of Shakespeare and has kept him coming back ever since. He is currently on a gap year while pursuing his BFA in theater at Emerson College. He has taught previously with SFShakes, most recently As You Like It this past summer. As a performer, he most recently could be seen as the titular role in Hamlet with Pale Fire Theater, the Palo-Alto based community theater he founded. He’d like to thank SFShakes for sticking with him for over a decade.

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Joseph Schmitz Teaching Artist & autism specialist

Joseph Schmitz, founder of Eureka Street Learning, and our partner in the "Shakespeare's Heartbeat" program for kids on the autism spectrum, feels fortunate to work in technology, education, and theater in the Bay Area — exciting fields in a wonderful place. When not making video, writing, or acting, he has the pleasure of teaching improv and videomaking in Bay Area classrooms. He is a co-founder of Special Focus, a performing arts program for special education students in Northern California.

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Lauren Kivowitz Teaching Artist & Inclusion Specialist

Lauren Kivowitz is a performer and teaching artist with a Master's degree in Applied Theatre from CUNY School of Professional Studies. As an actor, Lauren has had the opportunity to perform across many theatrical genres, from Shakespeare to experimental theatre, straight plays to operetta and musical theatre, and she was part of an improv and sketch comedy troupe for many years. As a teaching artist, Lauren facilitates classes for folks of all ages and abilities, using combinations of improv, role-play, music, storytelling, and play-building. Lauren is a strong believer in the transformative power of theatre, 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 theatre and other creative arts.

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Merav Berger Teaching Artist

Merav Berger is a Jewish educator and consultant in the Bay Area who practices action- and arts-based pedagogy. She is currently in the dissertation phase of her PhD, and she supports teachers in cultivating creative and person-centered classrooms, offers leadership training for Jewish youth and teens, and facilitates creative-based enrichment programs in synagogues, preschools, and Jewish day schools. With a BA in acting from Boston University, Merav has an extensive background in Shakespeare and is currently active in the Bay Area Shakespeare community. Some of her favorite roles over the years include Hermia and Starveling from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Goneril from King Lear.

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Natalie Ayala Teaching Artist

Natalie Ayala is ecstatic to be back as a teaching artist with SF Shakes after playing Luciana and Duke in The Comedy of Errors, as well as playing Juliet in Romeo and Juliet on tour. She was most recently seen in Plethos Productions as Yolanda in In The Heights. Other performances include Memoria del Silencio ( Elia) SF Shakes' Hamlet  Voltemand/Player Sailor), Sweet Charity ( Hostess), and All In The Timing (Kafka). At San Francisco State University her credits include Shakespeare Goes To School Cabaret, Trifles (Mrs. Peters) and Immaculate (Gabriel.) When she is not acting, she is teaching drama/directing shows at many schools.

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Nicole Odell Teaching Artist

Nicole is a Bay Area native, earning her B.A. in Drama from SFSU in 2010. She then relocated to Los Angeles, where she trained at the Second City Conservatory, performing sketch/improv at local theatres and festivals. In 2014, she returned to the Bay, and since then has taught and performed improv with Leela SF and has written, performed, and taught sketch comedy with Killing My Lobster, San Francisco's oldest sketch comedy theatre company. Nicole has performed in shows with a variety of Bay Area theatre companies, including Faultline Theatre Co, EXIT Theatre Co, Livermore Shakespeare Festival, and New Conservatory Theatre Center.

Robyn Grahn

Robyn Grahn+ Resident Artist

Robyn Grahn was last seen in the 2017 & 2018 Seasons of San Francisco Shakespeare Tour and absolutely loved it! She recently has taken on the role of Engagement Coordinator and looks forward to facilitating new community stories. She also works for the Mountain Play in Marin acting as Community Engagement Coordinator. Favorite Shakespearean roles include Adriana and the Courtesan (Comedy of Errors), Viola (Twelfth Night), Mercutio & Friar (Romeo and Juliet), and Phoebe (As You Like It). Robyn is often acting or directing with the monthly produced SHOTZ SF. She studied with ACT and the Moscow Art Theatre School. robyngrahn.com

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Ryan Lee Teaching Artist

Ryan recently moved from New York City, where he worked as an actor, director, and theatre teacher. He has enjoyed working in Regional Theatres around the country such as Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Artists Repertory Theatre, Rubicon Theatre Co, Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival, Sierra Repertory Theatre, and Ensemble Theatre Co, having played such Shakespearean roles as Hamlet, Berowne, Feste, Mark Antony, Polixenes, Cassio, Edgar and ALL OF THE ROLES in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As a teacher, he currently teaches for Livermore Shakespeare Festival, and has taught for Bishop O’Dowd High School, the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, Queens Theatre, Stagedoor Manor, and was an adjunct professor at Lee Strasberg Institute, NYU and CSULB. He was the Artistic Director and teacher of a theatre education program in NYC, where he taught in over one hundred public schools. www.ryanleetheatre.com

Sydney Schwindt

Sydney Schwindt+ Resident Artist

Sydney is an actor, fight director, teaching artist, and visual artist. She joined the SF Shakes family in 2015 playing Rosalind in the tour of As You Like It. Favorite acting credits include: Laertes Hamlet, SF Shakes; Sally Ride She Persisted the Musical: Bay Area Children’s Theatre; Helena A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Benvolio Romeo and Juliet, Helena Landless Mystery of Edwin Drood Davis Shakespeare Festival; Cassandra Jihad Jones & the Kalashnikov Babes Arabian Shakespeare Festival; Hartford Stage, Berkeley Rep, Mirage Entertainment, The Hampton Theatre Company. Education: BFA Hartt School of Music, Dance, and Theatre, Accademia dell’Arte, Society of American Fight Directors, DAI, SF Clown Conservatory. www.sydney-schwindt.com

Will Shattuc

Will Shattuc+ Resident Artist

Will Shattuc is an Oakland-born and Oakland-based director, playwright, teaching artist, and graphic designer. An SF Shakes legacy, they got their start at a 2001 camp as Marc Antony wearing a pillowcase, and have since gone on to Assistant Direct The Winter's Tale and serve on the 35 Speeches Committee. They started and run Oakland Classical Theater Co., dedicated to putting on free work with under-30 artists in Oakland; they have since performed Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing. They also do the graphic design for a number of companies, including SF Shakes. Will graduated from Hampshire College with a B.A., focusing on ensemble theater and conservation ecology. They are an alumni of the Shakespeare Academy at Stratford, CT, and studied Viewpoints at Divadlo Archa in Prague. Their play Voidmother was workshopped at the New Works Lab in Stratford.