Teaching Artists

Bay Area Shakespeare Camps are led by trained theater professionals!

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Michael Abts Teaching Artist

Michael Abts is an actor, educator, and coach and is thrilled to be teaching with SF Shakes. It has been ten years since he last worked with SF Shakes on the school tour of Twelfth Night playing Duke Orsino and Sir Toby Belch. Other Bay Area credits include work with Berkeley Rep, Center Rep, Marin Shakespeare Company, Livermore Shakespeare Festival, Ross Valley Players, and Naked Masks Theater Company. He earned his MFA at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy For Classical Acting in Washington, DC.

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Amelia Adams+ Teaching Artist

Amelia Adams is a Bay area actor, director, and puppeteer. She is a teaching artist with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Cal Shakes and Circus of Smiles. Favorite credits include Raina Petkoff in Arms and the Man (Spotlighters Theatre), The Mai, and The Lacy Project (Strand Theatre Co). Amelia toured her commedia dell’arte production to both coasts, and premiered her solo production A Mischief of Rats at the SF Fringe Festival. Amelia graduated from Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and continues to specialize in ensemble based physical theatre.

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Caitlin Evenson Teaching Artist/Site Coordinator

Caitlin is delighted for her first summer as an SF Shakes teaching artist. She has worked with SF Shakes in their school tour production of MACBETH and recently toured with the TheatreWorks educational OSKAR shows teaching children about anti-bullying and gender expression. Selected theatres include Custom Made Theatre, Livermore Shakespeare Festival, California Shakespeare Theater, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, the Breadbox, Ragged Wing Ensemble, and Los Altos Stage Company. Caitlin has taught for TheatreWorks and Cal Shakes and she holds an honors degree from UC Berkeley. She is also a proud recipient of the 2015-16 TBA TITAN award.

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Sean Robert Garahan Teaching Artist

Sean is an actor and a proud member of the SF Shakes Resident Artist Company. He’s also a teacher, tour manager, house manager, stage technician, occasional director, and all around theatre lover. Acting is his first and truest passion - and he is excited to be back on stage playing Paris in this summer’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Sean has a BA in Theatre from Emerson College and is an EMC member of Actor’s Equity.

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Becca Gilbert Teaching Artist

Becca Gilbert is thrilled to be working with Bay Area Shakespeare Camps! She is a recent graduate from UCSB where she received her B.A. in theater with a concentrations in directing, playwriting and theater and the community. Becca has been teaching playwriting in Isla Vista at the local elementary school and at the teen center for the past two years. She was also part of The Odyssey Project at UCSB, a collaborative theater project between youth from a juvenile detention center and undergraduate students. In her spare time she enjoys crocheting and cooking.

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Christian Haines Manager

Christian Haines is the founding Artistic Director of Amios in NYC and the Producing Artistic Director of ShotzSF in San Francisco. Directing credits include: Boeing Boeing (coming up at RVP), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Tides), A Message (Arabian Shakespeare Festival), Heroes and Other Strangers (Best of Fringe NYC), Strictly Convenience (Fourfold Productions), Icarus' Mother (Actors Theatre of San Francisco) and a bunch of Shotz plays. Ensemble creations include: Brundibar (The Actors Center), Aloyisius in New York (Amios), Woyzeck, (Wits End). As an Actor he has been seen in The Elephant Man, Romeo & Juliet, Miss Julie, Death of a Salesman, Macbeth, King John, Woyzeck, Richard III, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Trip to Bountiful and dozens more. Mr. Haines holds an MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory.

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Suzanne Halka Teaching Artist

Suzanne is a San Francisco based writer, choreographer, director, actor, and teaching artist.  She began directing youth in Virginia, and has taught several summers for SF Shakes in the Players, Sprites, and Upstart Crows programs.  She is also one of the directors of the Junior Acting Troupe. Her favorite roles include The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet: CSI, and The Dying Swan from Carnival of the Animals.  Suzanne interned with The American Shakespeare Center, and to have studied theatre while abroad in London.  She is excited to return to SF Shakes and can’t wait to sink her teeth into her favorite play, Hamlet!

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Shawna James Teaching Artist

Shawna, a Bay Area native, thrilled to be coming home and spending her first summer with SF Shakes interning and teaching. Shawna has worked professionally in the Bay Area (Magic Theater), Michigan (Interlochen Shakespeare Festival), and in Boston (Company One Theatre, Boston University). Shawna began teaching in high school as a music teacher and has gone on to teach all over the country both in theater and music. She has spent the past two summers teaching at Interlochen Arts Camp in Interlochen, Michigan of which she is an alumni. She is currently a BFA Theater Arts candidate at Boston University with a minor in Arts Leadership and holds a diploma from LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts) for Classical Acting.

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Charlie Lavaroni Teaching Artist

Charlie Lavaroni is a rising sophomore at the University of California, Davis where is pursuing a double Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theater. Favorite previous credits include: Lady Macbeth (Macbeth); Brick Pollitt (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof); and The Baker (Into the Woods). He has participated in Upstart Crows and has interned, understudied, and performed at the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival (or SF Shakes). He is a true believer that theater can change lives for the better, bridge communities, and heal. He plans on continuing his passion for teaching, acting, and literature through the lenses of teaching, acting, and public service. http://charlielavaroni.weebly.com/

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Phil Lowery+ Teaching Artist

Phil is a director, actor, stage manager, teacher, and a proud member of the SF Shakes Resident Artist company, through which he has taught hundreds of children and teens in our Bay Area Shakespeare Camps and Tailor-Made Residencies since 2007. He has performed with Shakespeare on Tour (Macbeth) and Free Shakespeare in the Park (The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet and, this summer, The Winter’s Tale), and with other Bay Area companies, including Shotgun Players, Central Works Ensemble and Lamplighters Music Theatre, where he is on staff. Phil also teaches Middle School Theatre at Children’s Day School in San Francisco, and has directed operas and operettas around the Bay Area for companies such as Berkeley Opera, Pocket Opera, Lyric Theatre of San Jose, and Lamplighters.

Regina Morones

Regina Morones+ Teaching Artist/Manager

Regina is excited to be making her Bay Area comeback as Benvolio in SF Shakes' Romeo and Juliet. She's a Bay Area native who's happy to be home again after being away getting a B.A. in Theatre Arts at Clark Atlanta University and completing an M.F.A. in Acting at the University of Iowa. Her passion is to continue to create and be a part of theatre that uplifts the marginalized by planting seeds of hope, tolerance, and change to promote healing and unity in her community. Her professional credits include Silo Tree and Four Stories at the Iowa New Play Festival, The Story of Me & You at The Good Works Play Festival in Atlanta, Meet The Past at the Atlanta History Center, More Than Petticoats at the Tabard Theatre, and Poison Places: Teens Living in the Age of AIDS at the Oakland Ensemble Theatre. Special thanks to SF Shakes for welcoming her home with open arms and kind hearts!

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Rem Myers Teaching Artist

Rem Myers is a director, dramaturg, producer and teacher and is excited to be working with the folks at SF Shakes for the first time this summer. He has directed with the Cutting Ball Theater (where he is also an associate artist), PianoFight, FaultLine Theater, Theater Pub, the Young Playwrights Project (TheaterWorks), Those Women Productions, and the Playwrights Foundation. When he is not theatering, he teaches at the Urban School of San Francisco.

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Olivia Ochoa Teaching Artist

Olivia Ochoa is delighted to be back for her third season as a teaching artist. Olivia recently returned from Cleveland, OH where she spent the 2016-17 season as an Artistic Apprentice at Cleveland Play House. A director and dramaturg, her recent work includes Between Riverside and Crazy (assistant to the director) and directing Much Ado About Nothing and Mary's Wedding. She earned her BA in Theatre from Trinity University.

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Mark Rafael Teaching Artist

Mark Rafael has been acting professionally for over 30 years. Bay Area appearances include “Ted Kaczinski Killed People with Bombs”, “Schrodinger’s Girlfriend”, and Joe Goode’s “Body Familiar” for the Magic Theatre, and “The Best of Playgrounds 9 & 11”, “ReOrient Festival”, and the Bay Area Playwrights’ Festival. He has also appeared regionally at Yale Repertory, American Stage, Wisdom Bridge, and Northlight Theatre, among others. Film and Television credits include “Titanic”, “Chance”, “Trauma”, “Star Trek Voyager”, “The Practice”, “Babylon 5”, and “Wings” and the recent independent film, “Pushing Dead”. He is also the author of, “Telling Stories: A Unified Theory of Acting Techniques”, published by Smith and Kraus. He teaches at the University of San Francisco, Studio A.C.T., and the Acting program at Academy of Art University.

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Radhika Rao+ Manager

Radhika is an actor, director, storyteller, improvisor, educator, and proud to be an SF Shakes resident artist. She is a member of Eth-Noh-Tec kinetic storytelling ensemble and the cofounder of Colorized Improv, an improv movement expressing diverse social, cultural, and personal experiences towards creating a more equitable performative space. Some of Radhika's other recent performances were at: Cutting Ball Theatre, Bay Area Children's Theatre, Word for Word, Olympians Festival, Playwrights' Foundation Flash Plays Festival, Douglass Morrison Theatre, Arabian Shakespeare Festival, Festival Theatre Ensemble, and New Conservatory Theatre Center. Her favorite performance with SF Shakes has been as Brutus in Julius Caesar. Radhika has an Ed.D in Communities, Culture, and Education from Harvard University. She teaches acting, playwrighting, and lifeskills in schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area (with theatres like American Conservatory Theatre, SF Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory, and New Conservatory Theatre). She collaborates regularly with universities (e.g., Stanford, Harvard, Santa Clara, Samuel Merritt, California Western Law School, UC San Diego, CSU San Marcos). She is also available as a coach/trainer for corporations and non-profit organizations that are looking to build diverse leadership, public speaking, and teamwork skills, through the medium of mindful improv. More at www.radhikarao.org

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Ayelet Schrek Teaching Artist

Ayelet Schrek is studying English and Theatre at Brandeis University, where she is very active in her theatrical community. She is founder and Artistic Director of The Brandeis Association of Rising Dramatists, Brandeis' only playwriting club. Favorite roles include Mary in The Children's Hour, Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest, The Witch in Into the Woods, and Kate in Dancing at Lughnasa. She began directing in high school, and has pursued it in college with Edward Albee's The Goat, Or Who is Sylvia? and The Love of the Nightingale by Timberlake Wertenbaker, as well as directing for her sketch comedy troupe, Boris' Kitchen. An aspiring playwright, she has been produced five times in school and received staged readings from Playground and Young Playwrights Inc. Ayelet began Shakespeare Camp herself at age seven, and is thrilled to be back for her fourth year teaching.

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Libby Vega Teaching Artist

Libby holds a BA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College and an MFA in Staging Shakespeare (emphasis directing) from Exeter University in the U.K., where she studied at the Globe Theater in London and toured productions of Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest, and Troilus and Cressida. Now a professional drama teacher, math tutor, and director, she has worked around the Bay Area for such organizations as the CalShakes Summer Conservatories, Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, the San Francisco Olympians Festival, and the Bay Area Playwrights Foundation. She is also the co-founder of Those Women Productions, an independent theater company based in Berkeley, for which she has directed Just Deserts, When Briseis Met Chryseis, and My Name is Mother.

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Maryssa Wanlass*+ Teaching Artist/Manager

Maryssa is a Bay Area based actor, director, teaching artist, and SF Shakes Resident Artist. Local performance credits include Macbeth (San Francisco Shakespeare Festival), As You Like It, Hamlet, Merry Wives of Windsor (Livermore Shakespeare Festival), Betrayal (Pear Avenue Theatre), Persuasion (San Jose Stage), Crime and Punishment (San Jose Repertory Theatre), Enchanted April, Witness for the Prosecution (Center REPertory Company), Much Ado About Nothing, Good Person of Szechuan (Woman's Will), How I Learned to Drive, Gaslight (Hapgood Theatre Company), Picture of Dorian Gray, All About Eve (Theatre Rhinoceros). As a teaching artist she can be found empowering young women through the Girls' Leadership Institute, giving maximum security inmates a voice through improv acting workshops with Red Ladder Theatre Company, and helping at-risk young adults in West Oakland discover Shakespeare's stories through SF Shakes' Midnight Shakespeare program. More info: www.maryssa-wanlass.com.

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Kendra Wilcox Teaching Artist

Kendra Wilcox is currently studying to get her BA/BFA in theatre at Southern Oregon University. She graduated from Dublin High School after serving as vice president of the drama club, performing in eleven shows, and receiving the Ruby Award for dedication to the arts. She has been studying Shakespeare for over a decade, and is ecstatic to have the opportunity to share her love of the Bard with students.

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Phil Wong+ Teaching Artist

Phil is an actor, musician, and teaching artist born and raised in The City of Oakland. He is thrilled to be back at it with SF Shakes for the first time since his last appearance as Grumio in 2014's The Taming of the Shrew. Some of his favorite Bay Area theatrical endeavors include Civil (Red - Quantum Dragon Theatre), Blood Wedding (Father, Old Woman - The Breadbox), The Rocky Horror Show (Eddie/Dr.Scott - Boxcar Theatre), Candide (Cacambo - Lamplighters), the world premiere of Do the Math by Emily Galvin (Overcast Theater), and Chinglish (Bing/Geming - Palo Alto Players). Phil can be seen next in EXIT Theatre's American Premiere production of Clive Barker's Paradise Street. When he's not theatrimafyzing and making up words, Phil has been known to play his accordion and monkey around at the Athletic Playground. He also frequently attempts to make people giggle at stand-up comedy open mics and showcases around the Bay and is a proud company member of the Oakland-based political theatre collective, The Bonfire Makers.


Natalie Ayala Education Intern

Natalie Ayala fell in love with Theater in the 8th grade when she performed in Olympus as Athena. She has trained at the A.C.T. She has been featured in shows such as The Mouse Trap (Mollie Ralston); You Can’t Take It With You (Mrs. Kirby), Sweet Charity (Hostess), and Sofa Sin Casa (Corrine). She was featured in San Francisco State University Shakespeare Goes To School Cabaret. She was also involved in SFSU Brown Bag where she was featured in shows such as Trifles (Mrs. Peters), Five Women Wearing the Same Dress (Trisha), and Immaculate (Gabriel) . She currently earned her BA in Theater Arts at San Francisco State University and can’t wait for what the future has in store for her.

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Elise Griffin Site Coordinator/Education Intern

Elise Griffin is extremely excited to be working with everyone at SF Shakes for her first time this year and cannot wait for the summer to begin! She is rising junior studying Theatre and English at Wellesley College, where she is a proud member of the Wellesley Shakespeare Society, as well as being the Treasurer for Upstage, a student run theatre organization. Her favorite roles have included Pompey in Measure for Measure, Chorus Member in Medea, and saying ‘hot dog!’ 17 times as Filing Clerk/Garbage Man/Boy at Bar/First Reporter in Machinal. She is excited to pass on her experiences and be a motivating force for those to pursue theatre.

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Frances Raynolds Education Admin Intern

Frances Raynolds is a rising senior majoring in English and minoring in Theater & Performance Studies at The University of California, Berkeley. For the past two years she has been a member of The California Golden Overtones, Cal's premier all female acapella group. She is so excited to be working with SF Shakes for the first time this summer and can't wait to gain new experiences in the field of theater.