A brief history from then till now...

When I was eleven years old I saw a live theatrical production for the first time in my life- it rocked my world-instantly the focus of my life was set and has never wavered from the course my heart demanded that day as I sat on the gym floor riveted to the High School’s production of “Oklahoma.”  While the image is comical to me now the passion ignited that day was very real.  My trajectory through the art of theatre began as an actor-Acting would become the supreme focus of my young life.

  I spent four years in a small public university in western New York under the guidance of some delicate, dedicated and sensitive artists --formative years-the time I spent in Fredonia resonates to this day. The lessons I learned there inform my work both on stage and in my own teaching methods on a daily basis. After undergraduate studies I was offered an opportunity to earn an MFA as one of only eight students accepted nationally, on a yearly basis, into the professional actor training program at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. This was a two year program with a full tuition waiver and a yearly stipend.  It was at ASF where I learned what acting truly is and it was during this time I learned the power of storytelling through the medium of theatre.  Ironically, I had gone to ASF to further my studies as an actor ,to focus my vision on my craft of “acting” and I left having learned that in my heart ALL of the theatre was “my” craft not just the acting part.  I loved the micro-story I was living as my character but my focus kept wandering to the macro of presenting that story to the audience. I knew what the audience wanted to see because it was what I wanted to see…

I finished my Masters degree in August of 1996. My time at ASF ended with the distinct privilege of performing in the Cultural Olympiad the week before the Centennial Olympic Games kicked off in Atlanta.  I was part of the cast in Dennis Covington’s play “Lizard” a production that included Norbet Leo Butz playing the title role. By October of that year I would be living in Manhattan….

It didn’t take long for the director laying dormant in my soul to step forward and take the reins.  After living in NYC a year and half I co-founded the New Ensemble Theatre Company.  Our debut production was presented at Access Theatre in Manhattan in September of 1998.  It was Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet performed with ten actors no set and a rock band live on the stage. The New Ensemble produced three full seasons and eleven productions between 1998 and 2002.  I am very proud of the work created during those years including productions of David Zellnick’s “Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom”, for which TNE was awarded an OOBR (off-off Broadway Review) and Sheila Callaghan’s “The Hunger Waltz” which I directed in 1999 for TNE’s first full season and for The NY Fringe Festival five years before it would be produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2004.

I returned to work as an actor from 2003-2005.  In March of 2005 I moved to Portland Oregon.  It was in Portland where I began to receive offers to work with young people.  I remember the first job offer I was given the producer asked –“Have you ever run rehearsals with thirtyfive middle school children to get them to do a musical?”  My reply?  ‘Of course many times”.  A bald face lie but I needed the paycheck.  I had no idea then that some of the finest work I would ever be a part of would be made with all manner of theatre students.