KITTYCAT THOMPSON - Founder & Director
Ms.Thompson has been a teaching artist for over 25 years. She has educated in painting, text analysis, psychology in acting, improvisation, voice, movement, stage combat, Shakespeare History and playwriting. Her work has associated her with such award winning companies and schools as The California Shakespeare Theatre, Urban High School, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Stage Write, Throckmorton Theatre, Berkeley High School, Marin Academy and Tamalpais High School.
She is an award winning AEA actress, the primary and focussed piece of her career involved in Shakespeare productions. Her professional theatre credits include The Orpheum, The Magic, Marin Theatre Company, San Francisco Playhouse, Center Rep, Central Works, Golden Thread, Theatreworks, Playground, Pacific Repertory Theatre, Carmel Shakespeare, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, California Shakespeare Theatre, and Marin Shakespeare Company.
Most importantly, she is a proud mother.
"In my heart of hearts..." (Hamlet), her primary focus is on utilizing Shakespeare's text as a vehicle for students and actors to develop their self esteem, multicultural empathy, emotional authenticity, and best still, in finding a richness in human capacity and imagination.
Danielle O'Dea - Director of Combat
Danielle is a New York City and Bay Area based fight director and stage combat instructor. Her Broadway credits include associate fight direction at the Atlantic Theatre Company on AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, and at the Cort Theater on GRACE. Her Off-Broadway credits include work on BETHANY at New York City Center, MEDIEVAL PLAY at Signature Theater, GABRIEL at the Atlantic Theatre Company, & THAT FACE at Manhattan Theatre Club. Some of her Bay Area credits include choreography (including world premieres) at American Conservatory Theatre, TheatreWorks, San Francisco Opera, New Conservatory Theatre Company, & more. Danielle's work as an associate teacher began while she was still a student herself at New York University, assisting Fightmaster David Brimmer with his semester coursework and summer high school programs. Since then Danielle has enjoyed teaching stage combat with Marin Theatre Company, Piedmont High School, ACT's Youth Conservatory, and at PianoFight Theatrein San Francisco.Danielle is a BFA graduate from New York University, and has been with the Society of American Fight Directors for 10 years.
Derek Fischer - Text, Combat
Derek has been an actor, teacher, and fight director in the bay area for 15 years. His focus is to encourage empathy, expressiveness, and foster creativity through Shakespeare words, and to impart what it means to be a generous actor. He has taught almost all theatrical disciplines including; stage combat, movement, commedia del arte, improv, auditioning, text analysis, and Shakespeare throughout the bay area and is currently the stage combat teacher at Redwood High School. As an actor he has worked at Berkley Rep, Townhall Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, Cutting Ball, Cal Shakes, Pianofight amongst others. Derek has had a focus in stage combat for the last ten years and has trained most recently with Dueling Arts International and holds a BA in theatre from Southern Oregon University. He is excited and honored to be lending his expertise to Shakespearience and looks forward to sharing his passion for story telling through Shakespeare’s words and iconic fight scenes.
Ashley McKenna - Administrative Associate
Ashley has worked in an administrative capacity with several small and mid-sized companies, from established firms to start ups. She is very pleased to be lending her skills to Shakespearience! Ashley comes from a family of teachers and as an actor herself, is very passionate about both education and theatre arts. As an actor she has performed with such local companies as: The Mountain Play Association, Impact Theatre, Marin Shakespeare Company, Novato Theatre Company, Spreckels Performing Arts Center and The 6th Street Playhouse.
Julia McNeal - Advanced Acting Technique
An award-winning actress, Julia appeared in numerous plays and films in New York and Los Angeles before making the Bay Area her home. Local credits include: Magic Theatre, Aurora Theatre, SF Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, and many others. She is a PlayGround company member.
Julia brings Meisner Technique, Linklater Voice Technique, Alexander and various other modalities to her students – giving them tools that work to bring authentic, full depth of presence to everything they do onstage. She has created a distinct technique for Playing Multiple Characters which she teaches at The Marsh Theatre and coaches privately. Julia is a Guest Artist at the internationally acclaimed CTE Theatre Conservatory at Tam High in Mill Valley. juliamcnealarts.com
Kyle McReddie - Combat
Kyle McReddie is a freelance fight choreographer native to the Bay Area, and is pleased to be working with such talented people with Shakespearience. Kyle has trained in stage combat with Dave Maier and Dueling Arts International for ten years, and been working in San Francisco as a freelance fight director and actor since 2012. He has recently directed violence for Vampire Christmas (Exit Theatre), Man of la Mancha (Custom Made), and She Kills Monsters (Lick-Wilmerding High). Kyle hopes that all of his students enjoy the swashbuckling and get to see Shakespeare in a new light.
Bill Parfitt - Text & Combat
Bill Trained at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) in the UK where he received his qualification from the BASSC (British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat) in both Sword and Unarmed stage combat.
He has been an actor since he was a child, first appearing in feature film Peter’s Friends alongside Hugh Laurie at just 2 years old, to most recently performing on London’s West end in Future Conditional at The Old Vic Theatre. Coming from a theatre family with his father running a Shakespeare production company and his mother designing costume for the globe theatre he lived and breathed the plays from an early age.
He Helped found The Brixton Youth Theatre in London which has since become an institution for young actors finding their way into the professional industry.
Bill is a passionate teacher who aims to bring out creativity and personal growth through focusing on character physicality and vocal expression - using the imagination to find specificity, helping actors to invest emotionally with the story.
Sydney Schwindt - Combat
Sydney Schwindt is an actor, fight director, teaching artist, and illustrator. Trained in many weapon styles, Sydney has served as Fight Director for such companies as San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Livermore Shakespeare Festival, Quantum Dragon Theatre, and Davis Shakespeare Festival where she served as Education Director for several years as well as a company actor. Sydney was part of the original creative team for Caribbean Buccaneers - a live action stunt show still running in the Dominican Republic. She has acted across the country and internationally with Hartford Stage, Berkeley Rep, Hampton Theatre Company, and more. She received her BFA from The Hartt School of Theatre, Music, and Dance and has training from Accademia dell’Arte (Arezzo, Italy), Society of American Fight Directors, Roving Classical Commedia Company, San Francisco Clown Conservatory, and Stage Combat Deutschland. www.sydney-schwindt.com
Zoë Swenson-Graham - Combat
Zoë returned to the states in 2015 after living in London for nearly seven years, where she worked as an actor, dancer, and trained as a stage combat instructor and fight choreographer. Skilled in over a dozen weapons, she has served as a stage combat choreographer and teacher around the UK, including the Royal Opera House, Soho Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Guildford School of Acting, Royal Welsh College, Southwark Playhouse, British American Drama Academy, as well as performing stunt work for Channel 4 in Derren Brown's Apocalypse. Since returning to the Bay, Zoe has choreographed for and taught with the American Conservatory Theatre, UC Berkeley School of Theatre, Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, Oakland School of the Arts, Sierra Repertory Theatre Company, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, YMTC, Palo Alto Children's Theatre, and Stapleton School of the Arts.
Trish Tillman - Text, Acting
Trish has 30 years of experience as a theater arts teacher, actor, director and improviser. She has created, refined and taught theater arts curriculum for all ages in acting, improvisation, playwriting, creative drama, scene study and Shakespeare studies at American Conservatory Theater, California Shakespeare Theater, Marin Theater Company, San Francisco Arts Education Project, Stagebridge Theater for Senior Citizens, Shakespearience!, StageWrite, and Word for Word Theater Company. Previous experience in theater education includes five years as the Director of Artistic Learning at California Shakespeare Theater. In addition, she’s brought the world of Shakespeare and theater arts to literally thousands of students through directing over 50 productions and teaching in-school residencies throughout the Bay Area.
She has a Masters in Dramatic Performance and Teaching Theater from Antioch University/New Actors Workshop, and a B.S. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University.
Micah Watterson- Text, Combat
Micah is an actor and fight choreographer who worked in theatre and film for 12 years in New York and Los Angeles before moving to the Bay Area in 2018. Being a graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Micah has been trained in several different weapon systems by Michael Chin, Carrie Brewer, Joseph Travers, Robert Hamilton, Mike Mahaffey, Charles Currier, and Timothy Brown. As a young actor combatant, he cut his teeth at the New York Renaissance Faire working under the direction of SAFD Fight Director Dan O’Driscoll for two seasons. During his time in LA, he is most noted for co-creating the one man show ROUGHLY HAMLET, which he performed to critical acclaim at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Locally,
Micah keeps busy on the stage and has worked with several companies including Those Women Productions, Role Players Ensemble, and Custom Made Theatre Company to name a few. Shakespeare has the power to open hearts and minds like no other playwright in history. He is honored to be working for Shakespearience.
Jeff Wong - Film, Photography
Jeff is an artist in the fields of dance and visual art. As a break dancer, he competes throughout the global hip hop culture, representing world renown crews - The 808 Breakers and FloorGangz. While completing his Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology & Rehabilitation Sciences, Jeff amassed an excess of 200 performances with his local breaking crew performing in settings from theatre stages to stadiums. As a teacher, Jeff challenges students to discover and fine-tune their dedication, self-confidence, and ability to creatively interpret challenges (both physical and mental) through the practice of dance. His video work and stills can be seen through IG, @ark808.