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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. 

Lisa Townsend  - Acting and Movement

 

Lisa Townsend is a choreographer, director, educator and performer who creates original performance works, weaving together dance, music, text and design. Her company LTCo danceFracas has been presented in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and France. Named "choreographer to watch" in balletanz magazine, she has been Resident Artist at ODC Theater, CounterPULSE, The Garage, CHIME, L.A.C.E., and Headlands Center for the Arts. She was a Director/Choreographer with A.C.T.’s MFA Conservatory from 2012-2021. Her collaborations as choreographer within A.C.T’s MFA program also include: The Rocky Horror Show, Crazy for Country, CLICKSHARE, Sense & Sensibility, Blood Wedding, and Spring Awakening.  Other collaborations include The Wooster Group (Early Shaker Spirituals), King Charles III (West Coast premiere), Joanna Haigood (HOME), and ongoing with long-time partner, photographer/jazz bassist/composer, Piro Patton. For ten years Lisa has been the Artistic Director for BCAST (Bolinas/Stinson Children’s After School Theater, Youth 6yrs-16yrs).  BCAST has produced numerous productions including; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Matilda, Singin’ in the Rain, West Side Story, Romeo & Juliet, Greek Tales, Bugsy Malone and Burning Chronicles of Late:Original Short Films created by the students. More recently Lisa has created two short films, Pozzo & Lucky and Women Walking. Lisa holds an MFA in Dance/Performance from CalArts, a BFA in theater, and she regularly teaches Contemporary Dance and Mind-Body practices.  

Ashley McKenna - Office Manager

 

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. 

 

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Kristen Matia - Combat

 

Kristen is a certified Dueling Arts International Theatrical Combatant in: broadsword, rapier and dagger, single rapier, small sword, unarmed combat, and quarterstaff. She has been actively training in and assistant teaching stage combat since 2006. In recent years, Kristen has also been working as a freelance fight director for short films and at local theatre companies including: New Conservatory Theatre Center, Killing My Lobster, and Altarena Playhouse; and in 2019, she was nominated as a TBA Awards Finalist for Outstanding Fight Choreography. Outside of combat, Kristen is known for her producing work in underground efforts to bring artists together while giving back to the community. She is delighted to be working with Kitty and the participants at Shakespearience! 

Danielle O'Dea - Senior Combat Consultant

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.

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Evan Held - Teaching Artist

Evan Held is an actor and Teaching artist rooted in the Bay Area. He's been slinging Shakespeare across the state ever since he graduated from the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts in 2018. He's been acting with companies such as San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Livermore Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare in the Cannery, Ross Valley Players, Word for Word, and more! He now spends most of his time leading the education team at San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and is excited to be partnering with Shakespearience to bring education to his home county of Marin.

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Jamin Jollo - Teaching Artist

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.

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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.