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Faculty

Wyckham Avery is the Theatre Director for The New School of Northern Virginia.  As a conspirator with dog & pony dc, Wyckham directed Separated at Birth, PUNCH!--that's the way we do it, and Cymbeline, and performed in COURAGE, Beertown, and A Killing Game. She is currently developing a new solo show, Just Sing Me a Song, based on the life and music of Ola Belle Reed. She performed in Woolly Mammoth's Full Circle by Charles Mee, directed by Michael Rohd, Dead City and The Skin of Our Teeth with Rorschach Theatre, The Taming of the Shrew at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, the Capitol Fringe Festival in her solo clown show, Cordelia's Fool and as Hecuba in Referendum/PAC's Trojan Women. She directed [eureka], a solo physical comedy show by Patrick Bussink for Forum Theatre. She performs and teaches clowning, commedia dell'arte, and physical theatre in the DC area. She is an affiliated Teaching Artist with the Shakespeare Theatre Company and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Wyckham received her MFA in acting from the Catholic University of America and trained at the Dell' Arte International School of Physical Theatre and the New England Center for Circus Arts. Wyckham resides in the Mount Rainier Artists Lofts.

Lise Bruneau is an actor and director, who trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She has appeared in several productions at the Shakespeare Theatre, namely  Coriolanus, And Ideal Husband, Ion, Othello, and The Winter’s Tale : and in many other local productions at Arena Stage (recently Mother Courage), Round House (recently This); Theatre J, and Center Stage in Baltimore. As a director, her credits include Savage in Limbo for MetroStage, Hamlet for the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival; and for the upstart theatre company Taffety Punk - most recently Bloody Poetry, the Riot Grrrls' Titus Andronicus, also Oxygen, Owl Moon, The Devil in His Own Words, and 6 Bootlegs (full productions of Shakespeare plays rehearsed and performed in one day) among others. She has performed in regional theatres across the country, such as The Old Globe, ACT, Seattle Rep, the Wilma, Triad Stage, and Berkeley Rep, and for the Idaho, St. Louis, Alabama, Chicago, Santa Cruz and Oregon Shakespeare Festivals. Lise is proud to be a Taffety Punk.

Dan Crane has been an affiliated teaching artist with Shakespeare Theatre Company since 2006.  He is also a professorial lecturer at The George Washington University and Howard University, and a teaching artist at Folger Shakespeare Library. Dan is a company member with Taffety Punk Theatre Company in Washington, DC, and co-founder of The Enlightenment Theatre Project in Williamsburg, VA.  DC area acting credits include the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, and The Beaux Stratagem, Folger Theatre in Cyrano, Hamlet and The Winter’s Tale, and Taffety Punk Theatre Company in Oxygen, The Rape of Lucrece, Twelfth Night, and Bloody Poetry.  Dan received two 2012 Helen Hayes Award nominations for his work in Cyrano at Folger Theater and Hub Theatre’s Birds of a Feather.  Other regional acting credits include work with companies across the United States, including Baltimore Shakespeare Festival (as Hamlet), Idaho Shakespeare Festival, PCPA Theaterfest and Portland Center Stage to name a few.  Dan directed Romeo & Juliet for the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Young Company, which performed at the Festival International de Companias de Teatro Juveniles in Parla, Spain.  He trained at the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts, holds a BFA from Ithaca College and an MFA from the Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University.

Hannah Hessel Ratner is the Audience Enrichment Manager at the Shakespeare Theatre Company and a new play dramaturg. In addition to her work connecting audiences with STC’s productions, she has been an ensemble member at Forum Theatre for nearly a decade where she has served as production dramaturg for a wide variety of plays, old and new including Mad Forest, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Clementine in the Lower Nine, Pluto and Stephen Spotswood's Walking in the City of Silence and Stone.  In 2011, she founded the Project Gym, a center for creative development. She has served on selection panels for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Source Festival, Velocity DC and The Playwrights Center. She has taught workshops on theatre, text and performance for ages ranging from elementary to adult. For five years she served as the Literary Director, Outreach and Education Associate at Theater J, where she worked with playwrights including Wendy Wasserstein, Richard Greenberg and Joyce Carol Oates. She is a vice president on the board of the Association for Jewish Theater. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she holds an MFA in dramaturgy from Columbia University.

Jim Gagne is the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Resident Teaching Artist. Acting credits include Jack the Ticket Ripper (Georgetown Theatre Company), We Won't Pay, We Won't Pay (The Hub Theatre), Heart of a Dog, Fool for Love (Spooky Action Theater), The Nature and Purpose of the Universe (Circle of Fools), Cymbeline (Dog and Pony DC), Ninja Motorcycle Babes (Notorious Women), One Man’s War (Triad Theatre), Uncle Vanya (Everyman Theatre), St. Joan, Romeo and Juliet (Olney Theatre Center), Midsummer Nights Dream, Our Town (National Players Tour 55). As a teacher Jim has worked with a wide variety of students ranging from kindergarteners to senior citizens. Jim received a BFA from The Hartt School at The University of Hartford.

Paul Edward Hope is an actor, teaching artist and fight director based in the DC metro area. As an actor, he has toured internationally with The Kennedy Center, worked Off- Broadway with Red Bull Theatre and The York Theatre Company, and has performed regionally with The Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center, The Utah Shakespeare Festival, The Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, The Oregon Cabaret Theatre and Rep Stage in Columbia, MD to name a few. As an Affiliated Teaching Artist with the Shakespeare Theatre Company, he has directed over 20 student productions with Camp Shakespeare, and has taught as part of the Master Acting Class, Text Alive!, Shakespearience and Artist in the Classroom programs. For the Folger Shakespeare Library he served as Master Swordsman for over 4 years, and performed as part of “Bill’s Buddies” touring the region’s schools. He has served as a guest instructor for Brown University’s summer theatre program and also as an adjunct professor at Shepherd University. He has served as Fight Director for multiple companies, including the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, Annapolis Shakespeare Company, and Michael Howard Studios in NYC. The MD Theatre Guide Reader’s Pole recently named him Best Actor in a supporting role for his performance as Robert in BOEING BOEING at Rep Stage. He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, a MFA graduate of The Shakespeare Theatre Company Academy for Classical Acting at the George Washington University (ACA), and studied at The Royal National Theatre Studio in London.

Vanessa Hope is the School Programs Manager at the Shakespeare Theatre Company.  She is also a founding member of the Faction of Fools Theatre Company, devoted to the classical style of Commedia dell’Arte. She holds an MFA in Acting from Purdue University, where she taught Acting and Voice, and a BFA in Acting from the University of Maryland. She studied Shakespeare at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Buono also conducts private acting, voice, presentation and interview coaching. Prior to working at STC, she lived in Los Angeles, where she appeared on American Dreams, ER and All of Us and was a member of the improv troupe The Berubians.

Robb Hunter is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, AEA and SAG/AFTRA and is one of only thirty Fight Directors in the world certified by the Society of American Fight Directors for whom he is also a certified teacher. Mr. Hunter’s work has been seen in venues all around the DC area including The Shakespeare Theatre (Measure for Measure, Winter’s Tale, The Alchemist and Hamlet at CB), the Kennedy Center (Moby Dick, Don Giovanni and Hamlet), Arena Stage (Ruined, Frankie and Johnny, Stick Fly, The Heidi Chronicles, et. al), The Studio Theatre (Red Speedo which received a 2013 Helen Hayes nomination for outstanding choreography, Motherf**ker with the Hat, Invisible Man, Superior Donuts, American Buffalo, Reasons to be Pretty and The Walworth Farce; received a 2011 Helen Hayes nomination), Olney Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Rep Stage, and The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival. He is currently Choreographer in Residence at American University where he teaches stage combat, acting, movement and theatre history. Mr. Hunter also teaches privately and for programs all over the region such as the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Training Program, The Shakespeare Theatre and Studio Theatre’s acting conservatory, to name a few. As the founder and CEO of the theatrical weapons company Preferred Arms, Robb literally faces each day, “sword in hand.”

Naomi Jacobson holds a Masters Degree in Acting from Temple University and has been a professional actress and teacher for the last 25 years.  A Woolly Mammoth Company Member, she’s performed at The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Arena Stage, the Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre, Signature Theatre, Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Round House Theatre, as well as Center Stage, Arizona Theatre Company, The Goodman, Milwaukee Repertory, Delaware Theatre Co, and the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Naomi’s taught acting locally at George Washington University, University of Maryland, Catholic University, Theatre Lab, Shakespeare Theatre Company. She’s coached all kinds of professionals in public speaking from architects, lawyers, preachers and VPs of major corporations, and currently coaches voice over for EDGE Studio out of NYC. Her TV/Film work includes Homicide, Her Father’s Eyes for A&E, and narration for PBS, NPR, Discovery Channel, Smithsonian, She’s received 2 Helen Hayes Awards along with twelve nominations for her work as an actress, as well as a Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship and an Individual Artist Grant from the D.C. Arts Commission. She spearheaded the Actors Arena through Arena Stage, a continuing education program for professional actors.

Mark Jaster joins the Master Acting Class program as a guest teaching artist. His skills in mime were developed in training with 20th-century masters Marcel Marceau and his teacher, Etienne Decroux, along with careful observation of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harpo Marx.  Jaster served as teaching assistant to Mr. Marceau in a series of seminars in Michigan, and he teaches frequently in Artist residencies, theatres, and dance programs, including The Maryland Opera Studio and The American Academy of Ballet.  In his solo performances, Piccolo's Trunk, A Fool Named 'O', and The Maestro, Mark combines live music on unusual instruments and non-instruments, (like the pipe and tabor and the bowed saw), outrageous acrobatics, (like a dive through an impossibly small wooden hoop), and hyper-advanced communication skills with honest, gentle humor.  With Artistic Co-director, Sabrina Mandell, he has created and performed in a series of critically acclaimed works for Happenstance Theater. He has also been mime and movement consultant for Our Town at Ford's Theatre, Winnie the Pooh at Adventure Theatre and Elephant and Piggie at the Kennedy Center. Mark is also a proud member of The Big Apple Circus' Clown Care Program, performing at the Children's National Medical Center and Johns Hopkins University Hospital.

Sabrina Mandell joins the Master Acting Class program as a guest teaching artist. She is the founder and Artistic Co-director of Happenstance Theater.  She has written, produced and performed prolifically since the company's founding in 2006. Works have included Prufbox based on the TS Eliot poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”; The Seven Ages of MimeLow Tide Hotel (voted Best Comedy of the 2007 Capital Fringe Festival);  Manifesto! (a 2008 Capital Fringe hit with a subsequent run at the New York Clown Theatre Festival); and Cabaret CooCoo (Best Comedy, Capital Fringe Festival, 2009).  They also created FarFar Oasis, a desert companion piece to Low Tide HotelLook Out Below! at Round House Bethesda; the Fringe hit, Handbook for Hosts and the Helen Hayes recommended Cabaret Macabre which has become an annual event and has toured to the New Orleans Fringe. Clown teaching credits include Washington Theater Lab, Constellation Theatre Co., Centerstage and Everyman in Baltimore, Universite St Anne in Clare, Nova Scotia, and Round House Theater.  Sabrina performs regularly with the Big Apple Circus’ Clown Care Program in DC and Baltimore, and as "LaLa", partner to A Fool Named “O” at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. She is also a visual artist and poet.

Brenna McDonough is a professional actor with 25 years experience in feature films, commercials, and corporate videos in the New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. markets. Her commercial clients have included Duncan Hines, ATT, the IRS, McCormick Spices, Morgan Stanley, Prudential, American Express and Gorton's Fish.  Her feature film credits include, Guarding Tess, Enemy of the State, and Head of State as well as several independent films, and TV credits include HBO’s Homicide: Life on the Streets and The Wire. She is also the co-Author of YOU CAN WORK ON-CAMERA (published by Heinemann).

Jennifer L. Nelson is a Washington DC-based theatre professional who has worked for more than 40 years as an actor, playwright, professor and director.   She is the former Producing Artistic Director of the African Continuum Theatre Company (ACTCo) for whom she directed more than twenty full productions and readings.  Other directing credits include productions at Ford’s Theatre, Round House, Theatre J, Forum, Imagination Stage, Adventure Theatre, Washington Shakespeare, Rep Stage, Everyman Theatre, the Hangar Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, the Fulton Theatre, Manhattan Class Company and the Kennedy Center Youth and Family Programs; also University of Maryland at College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore County, George Washington University, Virginia Commonwealth University and University of South Carolina.  She is a graduate of the University of California at Davis.

Dat Ngo is the Associate Director of Education at Shakespeare Theatre Company, which he joined in 2006. With nearly 15 years of experience as a teaching artist, Dat has developed and facilitated a wide array of school, community and training programs including Master Acting Classes (where he teaches Introduction to Acting for adults), Young Company and professional development workshops for organizations such as Fairfax County Public Schools, the National Gallery of Art and The World Bank. Prior to joining STC, Dat served as Philadelphia Young Playwrights’s Assistant Director of Education and Outreach, Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Directing Fellow and judged for both Philadelphia’s Barrymore Awards and D.C.’s Helen Hayes Awards. Dat holds a Bachelor’s in Film and Television Production from Boston University.

Alan Paul is the Associate Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company.  At STC he has directed the Bard's Broadway production of The Boys From Syracuse, STC's 25th Anniversary Gala performance, the Free For All production of Twelfth Night as well as numerous readings for the theatre’s ReDiscovery Series. At STC he has assistant-directed 13 shows for Michael Kahn, David Muse, Rebecca Taichman, Gale Edwards, Mary Zimmerman, Jonathan Munby and Maria Aitken. Other directing credits include I Am My Own Wife at Signature Theatre, numerous productions at the Source Festival, Man of La Mancha at Catholic University, and regional productions of Richard II and Six Degrees of Separation. Last season he directed readings for Georgetown University’s Tennessee Williams Centennial Festival, Arena Stage’s Edward Albee Festival, and Six Degrees of Separation at the Phillips Collection.

Nancy Robinette is a veteran of the Shakespeare Theatre Company stage, where she was recently seen in The Winter’s Tale and The Government Inspector. Other STC performances include Birdie in The Little Foxes, Aunt Nonnie in Sweet Bird of Youth, Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals, the Duchess of Berwick in Lady Windemere's Fan, Mistress Quickly in Henry IV, Toinette in The Imaginary Invalid, Mistress Otter in The Silent Woman, Lady Bountiful in Beaux Strategem, and Lady Wishfort in Way of the World. Other recent D.C. roles include Florence Foster Jenkins in Souvenir, Nancy in Frozen, and Mother Courage in Mother Courage and Her Children.  She has performed at the Old Globe Theatre, the McCarter and Papermill theatres in New Jersey, and at Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts, and at the New York Theatre Workshop and Roundabout in New York.  She has been a guest teacher at George Mason University, and has taught at Woolly Mammoth Theatre and at Signature Theatre.

Joel David Santner: ACTING: STC: As You Like It, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, The Dog in the Manger; Signature Theatre: R&J; Constellation Theatre: Gilgamesh (Gilgamesh); Folger Theatre: Much Ado About Nothing; Taffety Punk: The Rape of Lucrece - Remixed, suicide.chat.room, Owl Moon, Burn Your Bookes; Faction of Fools: A Commedia Christmas Carol; Kennedy Center: Don Giovanni; Baltimore Shakespeare Festival: Hamlet (Hamlet); DIRECTING: Taffety Punk: (upcoming) Hamlet- Q1, The Golem, Buggy & Tyler, Reals – Bootleg, Hamlet- The Bad Ass Quarto Bootleg; Source Festival: Pioneers, Pas De Deux for a Microwave Night, Return of the Living; ASSITANT DIRECTING: Folger Theatre, Studio 2ndStage, Roundhouse; FILM DIRECTING: Feature: Bare Knuckle; Shorts: Harmony, Mirror Image, Residence Evil, KFGS VII, Super 8; OTHER: Company Member, Taffety Punk Theatre Co.; Associate Artist, Faction of Fools Theatre Co. EDUCATION: George Washington University/Academy for Classical Acting, MFA; Hanover College, BA in Theatre.

Brent Stansell is the Training Programs Manager at the Shakespeare Theatre Company where he has been a teaching artist for over six years. He has also taught at The Catholic University of America, American University, Montgomery College, and The George Washington University, and as an affiliated teaching artist with the Folger Theatre and Round House Theatre. As a professional dramaturg with an MFA in Dramaturgy from Brooklyn College, he has devised original work with his company DC Theatre Collective, developed new plays most recently with The Inkwell, and has worked on productions with companies such as Round House Theatre and Forum Theatre. Brent has worked as an actor with several DC companies including Rorschach Theatre and the National Player’s Tour 55 out of the Olney Theatre Center. He has a BA in Dramatic Literature and in English with honors from The George Washington University.

Tom Story is an Affiliated Artist with the Shakespeare Theatre Company. STC: The Winter’s Tale (2014 Free for All and mainstage), The Government Inspector, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Cymbeline, Twelfth Night (2010 Free For All and mainstage, Helen Hayes Award nomination), Richard II, Henry V, Design for Living, Major Barbara, The Rivals, Twelfth Night (1995 Free For All), Measure for Measure. REGIONAL: Synetic Theatre: Three Men in a Boat; Arena Stage: The Book Club Play; Ford’s Theatre: Our Town, Sabrina Fair, A Christmas Carol, 1776; Berkshire Theater Festival: The Book Club Play, The Glass Menagerie, Amadeus, Secret Lives of the Sexists, The Heidi Chronicles, The Misanthrope, Moby Dick–Rehearsed, Camelot, Life’s a Dream; Studio Theatre: POP! (Helen Hayes nomination), Legends!, The Invention of Love (Helen Hayes nomination), Prometheus, The York Realist, Ivanov, A Number (Helen Hayes nomination), The Pillowman, Rocky Horror Picture Show; Folger Theatre: The School for Scandal, Henry IV, Part 1; Eugene O’Neill Theater Center; McCarter Theatre Center; Kansas City Repertory; Provincetown Repertory; Great Lakes Theatre Festival; Seattle Repertory. AWARD: Fox Foundation Fellowship. TRAINING: Duke University; The Juilliard School.

Eva Wilhelm holds an MFA in Classical Acting from the Shakespeare Theatre's Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University. Locally, she has appeared in productions at Folger Theatre, Studio Theatre, Maryland Shakespeare Festival, Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, Faction of Fools and Taffety Punk Theatre Company. In Chicago, she worked with Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Shattered Globe and Stage Left, among many others. She is currently an adjunct professor at Trinity Washington University, and an Associated Artist with Faction of Fools, as well as a book narrator for both Audible.com and the Library of Congress.

Carter C. Wooddell is the Resident Casting Director at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. STC: As You Like It, The Winter’s Tale FFA, The Merry Wives of Windsor; Two Gentlemen of Verona, Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice NEW YORK: Broadway: Belasco Theatre: End of the Rainbow (dir: Terry Johnson), Booth Theatre: High (dir: Rob Ruggiero) Off-Broadway (partial): Barrow Street Theatre: Tribes (dir: David Cromer), Our Town (dir: David Cromer), The Acting Company, Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater: Freud’s Last Session (dir: Tyler Marchant), Cherry Lane Theatre: A Perfect Future (dir: Wilson Milam), SoHo Playhouse: The Irish Curse (dir: Matt Lenz), Beckett Theatre: An Error of the Moon (dir: Kim Weild), NYC Other: Lincoln Center Institute: Hamlet, Fly, Sheila’s Day NATIONAL TOURS: The Acting Company, Riverdance REGIONAL: Alley Theatre, Baltimore Centerstage, Barrington Stage Company, The Broad Stage, Contemporary American Theater Festival, Crossroads Theatre Company, George Street Playhouse, The Guthrie Theater, Pittsburgh Public Theater, TheaterWorks Hartford  RADIO: BBC Radio: The Piano Lesson (dir: Claire Grove) TELEVISION: Sesame Workshop: The Electric Company, Pilot: 27 East  FILM: Columbia Pictures: Premium Rush (dir: David Koepp), Choice Films: Junction (dir: Tony Glazer) All above while Casting Assistant (2008-2010) then Casting Associate (2010-2012) at McCorkle Casting Ltd. OTHER: Education Associate: TFANA (2012-2014) TRAINING: Rutgers University - Mason Gross School of the Arts: BFA in Theatre Arts.

Gregory Wooddell is a graduate of The Juilliard School and now resides in Washington, DC. He has taught acting for the Shakespeare Theatre Company as well as Shakespeare for adults and children for City Hearts and Much Ado About Shakespeare in Los Angeles, CA, and for the Bendheim Performing Arts Center in Scarsdale, NY. He is a private audition coach in Washington, DC. As a professional actor, Gregory has performed for STC in The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, Merchant of Venice, Cyrano, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Othello, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Twelfth Night, The Country Wife, Don Carlos, Richard II, Comedy of Errors and is currently performing in As You Like It. Broadway credits include The Lyons and Cymbeline. Gregory has worked with the Vineyard Theatre (a world premiere by Nicky Silver), Philadelphia Theatre Company (a world premiere by Terrance McNally), Huntington Theatre (a world premiere by David Grimm), Encores! at City Center, Red Bull Theatre, Clurman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Bay Street Theatre, Alley Theatre, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis and Shakespeare On The Sound. Television credits include Person of Interest, 30 Rock, The Good Wife, Third Watch and recurring roles on Guiding Light, One Life to Live and Days of Our Lives.

Samantha K. Wyer is the Director of Education of Shakespeare Theatre Company provides vision and direction for STC’s School, Community Engagement, Training and Audience Enrichment Programs. Previously, Ms. Wyer was Associate Artistic Director at Arizona Theatre Company in Tucson / Phoenix where her directing credits include Lost in Yonkers, The Lady with All the Answers, It’s a Wonderful Life, To Kill a Mockingbird (co-production with Kansas City Repertory Theatre), I Am My Own Wife, Tuesdays With Morrie, Permanent Collection, A Streetcar Named Desire, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Proof and Wit. Ms. Wyer has directed workshops of Wetback by Elaine Romero for Voice and Vision, NY, Arkansas Repertory Theatre and ATC, and has developed other Elaine Romero’s plays including, Ponzi, Barrio Hollywood, Like Heaven and Secret Things. Additional directing credits include An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Betrayal, The Philadelphia Story, Noises Off!, The Three Sisters, Two Gentlemen of Verona and Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, Arcadia, The Eight: Reindeer Monologues by Jeff Goode and Two Days of Grace at Middleham by Toni Press-Coffman, a play she also directed for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. She has been a guest director and instructor for University of Arizona, University of Missouri/Kansas City and Arizona State University. Ms. Wyer received her MFA in Directing from the University of Missouri and was awarded the Buffalo Exchange Arts Award by the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona. She is a proud member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Union.

*Faculty subject to change.