Education: Adult Classes
Our Teaching Staff
Our classes are led by a repertory of renowned theatre professionals. They specialize in techniques of Voice, Movement and Text, and are proud to pass their insight and experience on to both the beginner and seasoned professional.
(Scene Study, Monologues & and Scansion)
Susan Angelo, Theatricum’s Education Director, oversees the theatre’s Academy of the Classics and Classroom Enrichment programs, serving more than 12,000 children, teens and adults each year. She has directed and taught Shakespeare for over 25 years at hundreds of Los Angeles public and private schools and also guest teaches at many colleges, including UCLA, NYU and Cal Lutheran. Ms. Angelo utilizes a highly visceral, energetic approach to Shakespeare with an equal emphasis on scansion, rhetoric and Elizabethan history. As an actress, she has played many of Shakespeare’s ingénues and leading ladies and has directed countless Shakespeare plays for young people, as well as mainstage productions in Theatricum’s professional repertory season and at The Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival. Her stage credits include performances at Theatricum Botanicum, A Noise Within, The American Players Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre, Indiana Repertory, Syracuse Stage, Pittsburgh Public, William Inge Theatre, New York Actors Ensemble, the Odyssey and Los Angeles Repertory. She has also appeared in many films and television shows, including Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, Law & Order: CI, Desperate Housewives and Heroes. Susan has a BFA from Cal Arts and MFA from George Washington University.
(Scene Study & Monologues)
Alan Blumenfeld has been a professional actor for 30 years and has been privileged to work at Theatricum Botanicum for the past 20-something years, playing such Shakespearean clowns as Falstaff, Autolycus, Touchstone, Peter Quince, Gremio, Trinculo, Dogberry as well as Shylock , Kent and Friar Lawrence. He has been in over 50 plays throughout the country, including Broadway, South Coast Rep, Berkshire Theater Festival, A Noise Within, the Odyssey Theatre, ACT, PCPA and the San Francisco Opera. Alan has guest starred in more than 200 television shows, including Heroes, CSI, The Mentalist and Without a Trace, as well as many films. Alan is the co-founder of ACT of Communication where he teaches trial advocacy, witness preparation and case strategy for lawyers. Currently, he is a lecturer in the Theater Department at Pomona College in Claremont. He has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from American Conservatory Theatre.
(Voice & Speech)
Linda Brennan is on the faculty of American Academy of Dramatic Arts (Voice and Speech Department Chair) and South Coast Repertory. Film and TV credits include American Pie, The Scorpion King, That’s Life (CBS), The Hughleys (UPN), For the People (Lifetime) and Sonny (Nicolas Cage, director). Besides individual coaching, production theatre coaching includes A Streetcar Named Desire (South Coast Rep), The Crimson Thread (Pasadena Playhouse), Arms and the Man (A Noise Within), Old Times (El Portal Center for the Arts) and The Nibroc Trilogy (Actor’s Co-Op). Linda has an MFA in Acting from Brandeis University, and an MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. She is a member of VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainer’s Association). Her article “T’s and Sympathy: Adventures in the Hollywood Dialects Trade” appears in the VASTA Journal, “Essays on Voice and Speech.”
Adele Cabot is a designated Linklater Voice teacher, trained and certified by Kristin Linklater. She served as Dialects/Vocal Consultant for Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. for four years, as well as at many other theatres (A Noise Within, Actor’s Gang) and on film and television sets. A company member at Shakespeare & Co. in Lennox, MA, Adele has also performed and/or taught at The Shakespeare Project, African Continuum Theatre, Cal Arts, Cal State Northridge, University of Maryland, Southern California Shakespeare Festival, and is currently on the faculty at UCLA. She was in residence twice at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, first as an actor and then as a Master Teacher and Program Director for the Teaching Shakespeare through Performance program.
Janet Crouch Shulman trained as a teacher of The Alexander Technique at the Alexander Technique Studio in London, England, and at the Alexander Training Institute, Los Angeles. She is currently professor of Alexander Technique at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and also gives workshops and classes at various institutions throughout the Los Angeles area including The California Institute for The Arts (CalArts), the Antaeus Theater Company and the Will Geer ‘Theatricum Botanicum’ in Topanga. Janet works closely with Elizabeth Howard, vocal teacher and founder of the ‘Vocal Power’ method, and offers private Alexander coaching from her studio in Topanga. With thirty years of experience as a professional cellist, she takes a particular interest in working with performers of all kinds. She is one of only a handful of Alexander Technique teachers in the United States with an advanced certification to teach Jessica Wolf’s ‘The Art of Breathing’.
Madeleine Dahm has 30 years of experience in professional theatre and contemporary dance arts. She has worked with some of the world’s leading theatres, performing companies, arts organizations and training academies – and she has collaborated with renowned innovators in theatre, dance, multi-media, music and art. Madeleine currently works as an experimental theatre director and choreographer, an award winning movement practitioner and arts education specialist. Her formal training was with dance pioneer Martha Graham, her Post-Graduate Studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. She has taught at the USC School of Theatre, for The Music Center Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles and led key trainings for companies such as: Center Theatre Group, Zoo District Theatre and The Actors Gang. Madeleine specializes in Physical Theatre, Experimental Theatre, Laban Movement, Body Weather,Viewpoints and Devised Composition. She is currently an ‘Artist in Residence’ at The Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts.
Milan Dragicevich currently serves as Assistant Professor of Theater at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He formerly taught Rhetoric at UCLA and privately in Los Angeles. He has performed with numerous regional theater companies, including The Hartford Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Pasadena Playhouse, as well as a ten-year stint with Theatricum Botanicum, where he received a Drama-Logue award for his portrayal of Richard III. Milan is drawn to vibrant, compelling theater, where the spoken word intersects with dynamic physicality and bold design. He is currently completing a book on the “electric” use of language in the theater, looking at the adventurous ways contemporary actors can harness super-charged verbal tools can be used to create character and energize audience listening.
(Master Class, Auditioning, Monologues)
As Theatricum Botanicum’s Artistic Director, Ellen Geer has guided the professional Equity repertory season and educational Academy of the Classics since 1978, directing more than 50 productions and acting in over 30. A founding member of the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, she has performed in such regional theatres as ACT, APA, San Diego’s Old Globe and the Mark Taper Forum and in many films and television shows, including the 1971 classic film Harold and Maude; her own award-winning film Memory of Us; Patriot Games and its sequel, Clear and Present Danger; Phenomenon with John Travolta; and The Odd Couple II with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Television roles range from Desperate Housewives to a recurring role on Beauty and the Beast. As a writer, her Americana Series, her personal story of the McCarthy Era Blacklist …and the Dark Cloud Came, and her adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula have all premiered at Theatricum to critical acclaim. Ms. Geer has received numerous awards for her dedication to theatre and education, including the L.A. Weekly Career Achievement Award and the L.A. Drama Critics’ Circle’s Margaret Harford Award for Sustained Excellence. Ms. Geer is currently a graduate professor of classical acting in UCLA’s Department of Film, Theatre and Television.
(Elizabethan Life & Dance)
Willow Geer has been a company member of the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum all her life. As an actress, she began at a very young age, playing such roles as Mamillius in The Winter’s Tale, Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, and First Fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Now she’s matured into such Shakespeare roles as Helena, Rosalind and Ophelia, while also teaching for Theatricum’s Youth, Teen and Adult Academy and working steadily in voiceovers and television. She studied Elizabethan Life and Dance under the tutoring of Angela Hardcastle and Richard Digby Day at the London Academy of Theater, where she also studied Alexander Technique, stage fencing, vocal technique, combat and dialects. She is a graduate of the Alexander Hamilton Academy of Music in Los Angeles and holds a BA in theater from UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. She also has extensive improvisational training from the Groundlings school, studied rhetoric and scansion with Milan Dragicevich and Paul Wagar, and acting with Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Ian Flanders has been teaching improvisation and theatre games to children, teens and adults for over 20 years. He is the founder of The Red Headed Step Children and Off The Grid Improvisation Troupes and has performed extensively with S…CAP “slow children at play” in North Hollywood. He has directed countless Shakespeare plays for young people at Theatricum Botanicum and acted in the repertory company since the age of 12.
Aaron Hendry is an award-winning actor and fight choreographer, as well as a combat instructor for several local universities, including Pepperdine and USC. He is a former member of the high impact Diavolo Dance Theatre, and his work emphasizes theatrical narrative through movement. Aaron is a twelve-year member of the Theatricum Repertory Company.
Kristof Konrad was born in Poland and trained as an actor at The National Dramatic Academy in Warsaw. There, he studied and worked with theatre and film masters Jerzy Grotowski and Andrzej Wajda. In addition, he trained at the Alexander Fersen Academy in Rome. Certified by the Alexander Training Institute in Los Angeles, he currently teaches for the Verbier Festival and Academy in Switzerlandand the UBS Verbier Youth Orchestra. In addition to being a working film and television actor in the US, Kristof also collaborates with Jean-Louis Rodrique to instruct students in Alexander Technique at Larry Moss Studio, Howard Fine Acting Studio, UCLA Extension Entertainment Studies, and Media Access. He recently worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s casts of King Lear and The Seagull and with the artists of Cirque du Soleil’s KA on improving performance and preventing injuries.
Saul Kotzubei is a certified Master Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework and a lead trainer for the two-year Fitzmaurice Voicework Teacher Certification Program. The technique is taught in the MFA acting programs at Yale and Harvard, as well as NYU studios, the Moscow Art Theatre School and many other institutions all over the world. Fitzmaurice Voicework combines traditional voice-training techniques such as breath management with adaptations of yoga, shiatsu, Reichian bodywork, and other body-based and presence-encouraging practices. Saul has taught Fitzmaurice Voicework at NYU’s CAP 21 Studio, New York’s Actors Center, and at workshops in Los Angeles, NYC, Boston, San Francisco, London, Vancouver, Paris and Santiago, Chile.
(Scene Study & Monologues, Text Analysis, Rhetoric)
Art Manke is an award-winning director whose work has been seen locally at South Coast Repertory, Pasadena Playhouse, Mark Taper Forum and Laguna Playhouse. Mr. Manke is a co-founder of A Noise Within, Los Angeles’s acclaimed classical theatre company, where he served as Artistic Director for the first ten seasons (1991-2001). He is the recipient of numerous L.A. Drama Critics Circle awards, is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and conservatories throughout the country, and frequently directs for television. Originally from Chicago, Mr. Manke holds a BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MFA from the American Conservatory Theatre.
(Scene Study & Monologues, Elizabethan Life & Dance)
Melora Marshall is a founding Theatricum company member, having come to Topanga with her mother, wife of Will Geer, Herta Ware. Melora has performed Shakespeare’s ingénues, leading ladies and character parts at the Theatricum since its beginning. In addition, she has performed leading roles at the Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theatre, Old Globe Theatre and South Coast Repertory, as well as many television and film roles. As a singer-songwriter, she performs live with her sister, Ellen Geer, and has performed for children at many venues, including the Hollywood Bowl. As a teaching artist, she has conducted Shakespeare workshops for countless elementary, secondary and high schools and has directed dozens of Shakespeare plays in Theatricum’s Youth Drama Camp and HS Repertory. As a director, she has gained critical acclaim for her direction of Theatricum’s popular production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
(Voice & Speech)
Sandi Massie trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, receiving her graduate degree in voice and classical acting. She holds a Masters degree in theatre (California State University, Los Angeles), a Masters degree in psychology (with an emphasis on drama therapy), and a Master of Fine Arts degree in acting and directing (California State University, Long Beach). Sandi began her acting career in New York City and has performed for the past 20 years off-off Broadway and with such regional theaters as the Oregon Shakespeare Company and the Alabama Shakespeare Company. She teaches voice, speech, accent reduction, dialects and acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Pasadena City College and Long Beach City College, while continuing to work in television and film as an actress and dialects coach.
(Stage Combat & Fencing)
Ken Merckx has taught stage combat for the California Institute of the Arts, PCPA Theaterfest, University of California at Long Beach, UC Santa Barbara, UC Bakersfield, Cal State Fullerton, University of Utah and the Orange County High School of the Arts. He is the resident fight choreographer for the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland and A Noise Within. Ken trained at the Academy of Theatrical Combat in LA, the University of Illinois, where he earned his MFA in acting, and at the University of Washington, where he earned his BA in theatre studies.
(Scenes & Monologues, Rhetoric, Text Analysis)
Joe Olivieri is currently an Associate Professor and Head of the Acting Program in the Department of Theater at UCLA where he directs and teaches Period Acting Styles with an emphasis on Shakespeare. Before joining the faculty at UCLA, he was head of the MFA and BFA Acting Programs at West Virginia University for nine years. He has an MFA in Acting from the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and is the author of Shakespeare Without Fear, a college textbook on acting Shakespeare, published by Harcourt Brace. In addition to acting and directing in regional theatre, he is also a founding member of Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice, California.
Jenifer Parker has been on the faculty at Theatricum since 1999. For over two decades she has directed and taught elements of her course “No Feare Shakespeare” and other classical styles at South Coast Rep, AADA-West, AMDA, Stella Adler, East LA Classic Theatre, A Noise Within and Idyllwild Arts Academy. Trained at American Conservatory Theatre and a professional actor for 40 years, she has received multiple awards for her performances at Furious Theatre Co., A Noise Within, LA Women’s Shakespeare, South Coast Rep, Arizona Theatre Company, Old Globe Theatre, San Diego Repertory and Pittsburgh Public Theatre.
Mike Peebler is an experienced classical actor and teacher based in Los Angeles for the last ten years. He received his Bachelor’s degree in acting from Northwestern University before obtaining his Master of Fine Arts in acting from UCLA. Since then Mike has appeared in more than 25 professional plays and worked in film and television, most recently in the Tom Cruise film Valkyrie. On stage, his numerous leading roles include Edmund in King Lear, Orlando in As You Like It, and Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath. Mike teaches classes and workshops for all ages throughout the LA area, as well as to high school students around the country.
Jean-Louis Rodrigue studied acting at HB Studios in New York and ACT in San Francisco before training as an Alexander teacher at the American Center for Alexander Technique. His thirty years of teaching includes work with both musicians (at the Verbier Festival and Academy in the Swiss Alps, UCLA Department of Music and L.A. Philharmonic) and actors (Larry Moss Studio, UCLA Department of Theatre, Howard Fine Acting Studio and more). A founder and faculty member of the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles, he is also a faculty member of the UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine. Recently, he has worked with casts at the Getty Villa, Geffen Playhouse, Royal Shakespeare Company, Mark Taper Forum, Pasadena Playhouse and on Broadway, as well as with the artists of Cirque du Soleil. Celebrated actors who have benefited from Jean-Louis’s coaching include Sir Ian McKellen, Helena Bonham Carter, Jonathan Pryce, Hilary Swank, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kirsten Dunst and Juliette Binoche, to name just a few.
(Scene Study & Monologues, Fencing)
Stuart Rogers is the founder and artistic director of Theatre Tribe/FilmWing Productions, where he has directed a string of hit plays over the last seven years, including Paula Vogel’s The Long Christmas Ride Home (Ovation award); Craig Wright’s Recent Tragic Events (LA Times Critics Choice); the world- premiere of The Intern (L.A. Times Critics Choice); the West Coast premieres of Lanford Wilson’s Sympathetic Magic (LA Times Critics Choice) and Book of Days (LA Drama Critic’s Circle Award); Memory of Water (West Coast premiere); and Waiting for Lefty. The first film of Theatre Tribe’s film division, Dirty Mary, has been accepted to over 30 film festivals nationwide and won awards at more than 20. Stuart is in post-production for two more short films that he wrote and directed. As an actor, he has performed in television and film, and in over 30 equity plays, including such Theatricum roles as Catesby in Richard III, Fabian in Twelfth Night and Borghejm in Little Eyolf. As a choreographer, Stuart has staged many fights sequences including Richard III, Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night in Theatricum’s large outdoor space. Stuart has taught acting classes at Theater Tribe Studio Theater for the last thirteen years and is proud that his students have won Emmys, Golden Globes and received Tony Award Nominations.
(Text Analysis, Rhetoric)
Armin Shimerman, who played the role of Lear’s Fool at San Diego Rep, was recently honored for his performance as the blind Irishman in Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer (San Diego Critics Circle Award for best actor) and is well known to television audiences as Quark on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. A director and highly regarded “interpreter” of Shakespeare’s text, he has taught at UCLA, USC, the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre, Claremont College, the College of Idaho, Theatricum Botanicum, and Antaeus Company. He has performed on Broadway (in Joe Papp’s Three Penny Opera, Circle-in-the-Square’s St. Joan, Richard Rodgers’ I Remember Mama, and George Abbott’s Broadway) and in numerous regional and Los Angeles theaters including San Diego’s Old Globe, the American Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Repertory, the Guthrie, Mark Taper Forum and more. Shimerman’s memorable roles on more than 80 television series include Richard III on The West Wing, Principal Snyder on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Judge Hooper on Boston Legal. He has written three published novels (Simon and Schuster) based on Elizabethan themes and historical characters.
Gregory Vahanian has over 25 years experience acting, teaching and coaching in theatre, film and television, in his private studio, as well as at the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting and at Creativity and Communication Skills Workshop, dedicated to coaching public speakers and professionals. He combines great physicality (from a background in Stage Combat, Martial Arts, Fencing, Boxing and Karate) with psychological gestures to help students perform heightened language with a physical and emotional ease and truth. With a background in improvisational comedy and stand-up, Gregory has also performed in many films and television roles, including A Fare to Remember, Confessions of a Dog, Firebirds, Strong Medicine and All My Children. He has sung tenor with the Interdenominational Choir at the Hollywood Bowl and plays guitar. Gregory has BA in Theatre Arts from Columbia University and an MA in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica.
(Dramaturgy Workshop, Private Dramaturgy)
Jennie Webb is an LA playwright in residence at Rogue Machine Theatre (Yard Sale Signs) and Theatricum Botanicum, where she has run the new play program Botanicum Seedlings since 2002. She is currently a member of the Artistic Committee for The Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series. As a playwright, her works have been produced nationwide and internationally; supported by programs including The Playwrights Center’s PlayLabs, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Little Black Dress INK and the Road Theatre Summer Playwrights Festival; and published by Heinemann Press and Indie Theater Now. In Los Angeles, she is a member of the Playwrights Union, Fell Swoop Playwrights, EST/LA Playwrights Unit, an artist with Virginia Avenue Project and a dramaturg with Moving Arts MADLabs. She is the recipient of a Women in Theatre Award and co-founded LA Female Playwrights Initiative (LA FPI).