Camp Shakespeare Teaching Artists

Camp Shakespeare Teaching Artists

Camp sessions are led by classically trained professional actors and educators who aim to inspire students’ physical, intellectual, and artistic development.

Meet the Camp Shakespeare Teaching Artists

Saron Araia
is a D.C. native, DMV-based actor and teaching artist with an MFA from STC’s Academy at the George Washington University. Some of her credits include Jane Anger (STC), Merchant of Venice (STC), The Winter’s Tale (STC's Academy), Nat Turner in Jerusalem (Forum Theatre), An Ideal Husband (WSG), Julius Caesar (Drama Lady Theatre Group), Il Trovatore (Washington National Opera), and Troilus and Cressida (Negro Classical Carnival). She has a passion for arts education and cultivating inclusive spaces.

Laura Artesi is an actor and director born and raised in NYC with an MFA from STC’s Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University. She has been an Affiliated Teaching Artist at STC since 2016 and is also a Teaching Artist with Round House Theatre and Imagination Stage, with special focuses in physical comedy, movement, and stage combat. Laura was the director for the STC Summer Intensive productions of The Tempest in 2021and Much Ado about Nothing in 2022and assistant directed the Imagination Stage Conservatory production of Our Town. She has performed locally with Synetic Theater, Imagination Stage, 1st Stage, Folger Theatre, and toured with STC’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Macau Arts Festival.

Ashley D. Buster 
is a D.C. Metro native from Silver Spring, MD. She holds a BA in Theatre and Communications from Temple University and a Masters of Education from Loyola University Maryland. Ashley is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association and has been seen in many productions in, but not limited to, the D.C. region. Ashley works as a teaching artist with several companies throughout the area and is an Associate Artist for Ford’s Theatre.

Danny Cackley
is an actor, teaching artist and fight choreographer in the Washington, D.C. area. He has worked with STC, Folger Theatre, Studio Theatre, Olney Theatre, Constellation Theatre Co., We Happy Few, Taffety Punk Theatre Co., Faction of Fools Theatre Co., Flying V Theatre, Avant Bard, Prologue Theatre and National Players (Tour 65). Danny is the Associate Artistic Director for Faction of Fools Theatre Co., and a company member with Flying V Theatre.

Matt Castleman has been performing Shakespeare for over a decade and teaching for STC since 2019. He’s helped students aged 6 to 60 find their facility with words and swords alike, drawing on experience from over 20 Shakespeare productions and years of historical martial arts training. When not acting or teaching he writes science fiction and plays the bass guitar.

Matthew Crawford is an actor, teaching artist, and standardized patient throughout the DMV.  A Central New York native, he moved to Maryland in 2011.  He is a member of the Maryland Renaissance Festival acting company as well as an intermediate actor combatant with the SAFD.  He enjoys taking his experience into schools/camps and getting children as excited about Shakespeare as he is.  He has performed in HamletRomeo & JulietHenry V, and traveling three-actor versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth; not to mention performing in numerous Shakespeare contemporaries, modern plays, and musicals (including children’s theatre).  Improv is one of his specialties and loves a good murder mystery.  Some of his other teaching credits include Signature Theatre, Imagination Stage, Adventure Theatre MTC, Baltimore Shakespeare Factory, as well as several other companies.

Raine Ensign is the Learning Coordinator at STC. Prior to STC, they were the Education Apprentice for Olney Theatre Center in Olney, MD. They have worked as a teaching artist for Olney Theatre Center, Imagination Stage, BlackRock Center for the Arts, Alexandria Children’s Theatre, University of Utah Youth Theatre, and Lexington Children’s Theatre. Directing credits include Pinkalicious: The Musical (Salt Lake Acting Company), The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 (The Grand Theatre), The Value (University of Utah New Play Workshop), In Spite of Ourselves (Salt Lake Fringe Festival)and Frailty, Thy Name (Nutshell Theatre Company)Raine holds a BFA in Theatre from The University of Utah and is a founding member of Nutshell Theatre Company.

Emily (Emi) Erickson is an actor, teaching artist, composer, and musician based in DC after nearly a decade in New York. Her recent performance credits include People, Places & Things (Studio Theatre), Fitting In (Arts on the Horizon), Our Black Death (Taffety Punk), Much Ado About Nothing (Chesapeake Shakespeare), Man Covets Bird (Spooky Action), Richard II (Her Majesty & Sons), Julius Caesar (Academy for Classical Acting)and Working: A Musical (Labor Heritage Foundation). Emily serves on the NTI faculty at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and works as a teaching artist at Shakespeare Theatre Company, Round House Theatre, and Educational Theatre Company.  Proud MFA graduate of The Academy for Classical Acting at STC/GWU and BFA from NYU. When not on stage or teaching, Emi can be found running races or hiking in nature, noodling on any one of dozens of instruments she plays, or watching hockey.

Bowen Fox is a DC-based artist and educator, having recently completed his MFA at the STC Academy. Recent credits include: STC: Jane AngerThe Merchant of Venice; Arena Stage: Holiday; Studio Theatre: John Proctor is the Villain; STC Academy: Much Ado About NothingHedda Gabler. He holds a BFA from SCAD.

Julane Havens is the Associate Director of Learning and Camp Director at STC. Prior to STC, she was the Associate Artistic Director for Commonwealth Theatre Center, where she directed over 20 productions including The TempestPericles, and Romeo & Juliet. Stage credits include Viola in Twelfth Night with Savage Rose Classical Theatre, Juliet in Romeo & Juliet with Kentucky Shakespeare, and Sonya in CTC’s professional company production of Uncle Vanya. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association with an MFA from the University of Missouri–Kansas City/Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

Jen Jacobs is a director, actor, singer, and overall creator. Originally from New Jersey, she now considers the DMV her home. After finishing her Directing Fellowship with STC in 2021, Jen joined the Learning staff part-time, became a Teaching Artist, and has also taken on a variety of other production roles at STC. Jen directed the new musical Safe Hands at the SheNYC festival last summer. Some other past directing credits include Hold On and Stef and Arno at Spooky Action, The Cherry Orchard (Assistant, dir. Aaron Posner) at The Academy for Classical Acting, whatdoesfreemean? (Assistant, dir. Amy Green) at The Tank, NYC produced by Nora’s Playhouse. She graduated with a BA in Drama and History from Vassar College, completed LAMDA’s Classical Acting Semester Program and the Powerhouse Summer Training Program in Directing.

James Carlos Lacey
is a Paraguayan-British artist, educator, playwright, director, and singer-songwriter. Originally, a History Major from the University of East Anglia, England, he has performed globally and received his Master’s at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London where he co-founded The Undertow Theatre Company. He has just completed his MFA at the Academy for Classical Acting with the Shakespeare Theatre Company in D.C. Regional: Romeo & Juliet (Chesapeake Shakespeare Company), Playboy of the Western World (Solas Nua), Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare Theatre Company), International: Hamlet (Tower Theatre), Antony & Cleopatra (Tower Theatre), Orphée (Bloomsbury Festival), The Bacchae (Festival of Ancient Messene). FILM: Butcher, The Queue. 

Ryan Neely is an Actor and Director who has had the good fortune to work across the globe. Stage credits include playing Hamlet twice, King Lear (w/Patrick Page), Much Ado About Nothing (Dir. Simon Godwin), Our TownThe Merchant of Venice at STC, House For Sale (Dir: Daniel Fish), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe, UK), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (PA Shakespeare Festival), and many more. TV credits include One Life to LiveMonumental Mysteries, and his created web series A Day Late and Ten Pounds Overweight (Winner: Top Indie Film Awards). He received his BFA from Rutgers, Mason Gross School of the Arts, and his MFA from STC Academy/GWU. As a teaching artist/coach, he has worked at Young Artists of America, PlayDay (NY), coLAB Arts, GWU, Rutgers, PA Shakes, and StoryTellers Theater Arts, among others. He hopes to inspire positivity, collaboration, and a deep love of Shakespeare!

Melissa Richardson is a director, stage manager, and storyteller. She has taught drama from preschool to adult level classes with STC, Arena Stage. Adventure Theatre MTC, Lenore Blank Kelner and Co., Educational Theatre Company, Pied Piper Theatre, and the Alden Theatre. She is a Master Artist and Trainer with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts. Through this program, she developed a one-woman show “Pernilla’s Amazing Inventions” for performances in preschool classrooms through the Small Bites! Program and recently debuted her professional development workshop Finding Drama Everywhere that explores strategies for linking drama with non-fiction informational text. She also coaches the teen improv troupe, Unruly Theatre Project, which tours to local theatres, cafes, and other community venues. She holds a BFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Deidre Robinson was born and raised in the DMV area and is a woman of many talents. Naturally, she has been destined to be an educator and artist. Ms. Robinson is currently working at The Merit School as a pre-k and youth Teacher. She has always had a passion for education and theatre, following in her mother's footsteps. She was the director of the drama club for Truesdell Elementary as well as the Catholic Diocese in Arlington, Virginia. Ms. Robinson demonstrates her artistry in many capacities: as a make-up artist, artistic director, and entrepreneur. Majoring in theatre at Prince George's Community College, Deidre always had a passion for being an actress: performing on the stages of Prince George's Community College, and in the movie Step Up 2.

Mallory Shear has a Masters in Theatre Education from Catholic University and has been a teaching artist for over 20 years with theatres such as The Shakespeare Theatre, Signature Theatre, Arena Stage, Adventure Theatre, Imagination Stage, Baltimore Shakespeare Factory, Holton-Arms, and The Landon School.  Select Fight/Intimacy Choreography credits: Arena Stage, Olney Theatre, Keegan Theatre, We Happy Few, Chesapeake Theatre Company, Strand Theatre, Baltimore Shakespeare Theatre, The Strand Theatre, St. Mary’s College, Iron Crow, et al.  Select Performance credits:  Washington National Opera, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, The Strand Theatre, Adventure Theatre, Flying V, Washington Shakespeare Theatre, HCC, Live Action Theatre, Endangered Species Theatre.  Advanced Actor Combatant with the SAFD, Intermediate Actor Combatant with FDC, Stunt training abroad (Ireland and London), Proud member of SDC.

Eliseo Valerio is the School Programs Manager at STC where previously he was a Teaching Artist and the Engagement and Education Fellow during the 2019/20 Season. He has done education work at the Alley Theatre, the New Victory Theater, and Second Stage, and has worked with students of all ages, from preschoolers to retirees. An avid Shakespeare enthusiast, he has read the entire canon, has performed in plays such as A Midsummer Night’s DreamHamlet, and The Tempest, and translated Timon of Athens for STC’s Spanish-speaking students. Eliseo just returned from Mexico where he spent the last nine months as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. He graduated with honors from Stanford University as a Theater and Performance Studies major in 2018.

Nathan Whitmer is an actor and teaching artist and member of Actors Equity with over 15 years of professional experience around the country. He has worked in the DC region with Arena Stage, Studio Theatre, Theatre J, and Washington Stage Guild. Outside DC his credits include Off-Broadway in NYC, The Old Globe, The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Virginia Theatre Festival, and Texas Shakespeare Festival (to name a few). On-camera he can be seen on the Smithsonian Channel, in several local commercials, and in numerous corporate industrials all filmed in and around DC and Richmond. He was in residence for three years at Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA, and was a member of both the Barter Player Acting Company and resident equity acting company. While at Barter he appeared in over 25 plays and musicals and worked as a teaching artist and mentor. He has since returned to Barter as a director for the Players and guest teaching artist for Emory and Henry University. Nathan is on the adult and youth faculty at The Theatre Lab School for the Performing Arts where he teaches acting and Shakespeare, and offers private coaching. He’s a graduate of Ohio University and The Old Globe/University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Acting Program.

Patti Woolsey is a Co-founder and the Founding Executive Director for ArtStream, Inc. In addition to serving as a teaching artist at STC, she also teaches drama for the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. As a Registered Drama Therapist (RDT), she works privately with clients, specializing in working with people with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). She also works part-time as a professional organizer through Basic Organization.

Samantha Wyer Bello is an award-winning stage director and instructor with over twenty years of leadership success in not-for-profit theatre. For Shakespeare Theatre Company, Ms. Bello has directed Will on the Hill for four seasons, including two virtual productions. For STC, she has directed readings of Ada and the Engine, A Number, Miss Evers’ Boys, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Arcadia, R.U.R., and both A Mini-Summer Night’s Dream and The Tiny Tempest which she adapted and created. Previously, she served as Associate Artistic Director for Arizona Theatre Company, where her directing credits include: I Am My Own Wife, Permanent Collection, A Streetcar Named Desire, Proof, Lost in Yonkers (with Judy Kaye), To Kill a Mockingbird (co-pro w/ Kansas City Repertory), Tuesdays with Morrie, and A Moon for the Misbegotten. In Kansas City, she was Director of Playwright’s Stage for Missouri Repertory Theatre. Ms. Bello has directed for The Playwright’s Center, Missouri Repertory Theatre, The Bridge Initiative, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Childsplay, Spooky Action Theatre, Voice and Vision -New York, and Edinburgh Fringe in Scotland. Ms. Bello has been a grants panelist and guest speaker for Theatre Communications Group, DC Commission on Arts and Humanities, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Tucson Pima Arts Council, Maricopa Partnership for Arts and Culture, and West Valley Arts Council. She has taught and directed for Brescia University, University of Missouri, Arizona State University, and University of Arizona. Ms. Wyer Bello received her MFA in Acting/Directing at University of Missouri/Kansas City and is a proud member of SDC.

Travis Xavier is an actor, hip-hop artist, and Artistic Director of P.A.R.T. Productions. He holds an MFA in Classical Acting from the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting and a BFA in Acting from Howard University. He has also studied at The British American Drama Academy with additional training at the Poemedy Institute. Alongside performing regionally, he is a Professor of Theatre at George Washington University and a resident teaching artist at The Shakespeare Theatre Company. His belief is “The purpose of ART is to Praise!” IG: @FreeGraceTrizzy |