Instructor Bios

Instructor working with students

JOHN ARMOUR is a fight director and actor based in Portland. He has choreographed Treasure Island, Cyrano, and others for OCT, where he has also taught several classes in stage combat. He teaches and/or directs for nearly all local theatres and most colleges, high schools, and middle schools in the area.

DANI BALDWIN is OCT's Education Director. At OCT, she has directed several shows, including A Year With Frog and Toad (7 Drammy Awards), acted in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Boxcar Children, and designed costumes for shows such as Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type. Outside of OCT, she's performed in Business as Usual and Who Stole My Dead Husband? with Chianti Club Presents, 7 Great Loves (Drammy Award) and Devine with Sojourn Theatre, five of the Christmas from Home  productions with Tapestry Theatre, and is a regular actor for Kaiser Permanente.

TOM BECKETT has been acting, directing and teaching theater in Portland for twenty five years. He has trained with Shakespeare and Company, the D'ell Arte School of Physical Theater and the Royal Shakespearean Company. Currently he is the Theater director at Cleveland High School.

DAVID BERKSON has been working professionally with young people for over 15 years. He teaches drama at Portland's Northwest Academy, and has also taught for Portland Actors Conservatory, Profile Theatre Project and Northwest Children's Theatre. David's work with young people includes directing productions of Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, and The Tempest; as well as works by Harold Pinter and Edward Albee. Before moving to Portland, he was Education Director for Marin Shakespeare Company and Camp Director for The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. As an actor, David appeared as Jerry in Profile Theatre Project's production of The Zoo Story, and was most recently seen in As Is.

JAHNAVI CALDWELL-GREEN received her B.A. in Theatre from Lewis & Clark College. She is an actor, dancer, musician and choreographer who has the great opportunity to teach at Do Jump School of Extremely Physical Theatre and OCT. She has performed with several Portland theater companies, including Liminal Experimental Ensemble, Post5 Theatre, and Echo Theatre company.

JEFFREY CHILDS is a music director, accompanist, and musical theater teacher. He was the owner of Theatre ETC in Chico, CA and the staff accompanist at Chico State. Since moving to Portland in 2010, Jeffrey has worked with Portland Center Stage, Broadway Rose, Valley Catholic High School, Robert Gray Middle School, Staged and Oregon Children’s Theater.

JENNIFER DARLING received her MA in Theatre Arts in 2001. She’s been teaching, assistant directing, stage managing, and directing for OCT for over 10 years, working on shows such as Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer, and The Boxcar Children. Other credits include working at Back Stage Theatre, Miracle Theatre, and Oregon Ballet Theatre. In graduate school, Jennifer directed The Informer, Graceland, and Independence. One of Jennifer's favorite projects with OCT was directing the YP show Cyrano in 2009. Jennifer believes amazing things happen to children who come out of the OCT program and it is a pleasure and honor to work within such a creative community. She would like to thank OCT for all their support and the hard work they do to enrich the lives of children.

CHRISTY DROGOSCH was trained at Wayne State University, New York University and Portland State University. She has performed at CoHo, and The Lakewood, and with: NW Classical Theatre Company, Post 5 Theater Company, Portland Actors Ensemble, Readers Theater Repertory, Compass Theater Repertory, Willamette Shakespeare, Anonymous Theater, Public Playhouse and Profile Theater. Favorite roles include: Lady MacBeth, Constance Ledbelly in Good Night, Desdemona (Good Morning, Juliet), and Gretchen in Boeing-Boeing (awarded Best Supporting Actress).

NOAH DUNHAM is a Portland raised theater artist whose acting, directing, designs, and writing have been seen all over Portland with theater companies such Action/Adventure Theatre, Miracle Theater Group, Post5 Theatre, The Working Theatre Collective, and Stringhouse Theatre. Noah has a BA in Theater with an emphasis in Acting from Fordham University. He is also an Action/Adventure Company Member. He has taught with A Child's Eye Playhouse, Northwest Children's Theatre, Metro Arts, and Metropolitan Family Services. If you ask him to play guitar or the drums, he will probably say yes!

NOELLE EATON holds a BA in Theatre Arts and a Masters of Education from Portland State University. She has acted with various theater companies in Portland and is currently a company member with Action/Adventure Theater.  Noelle is also an elementary school substitute teacher in Portland.  When not teaching or performing, Noelle spends her time camping, backpacking, and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

ELIZABETH FAGAN is a Portland native who made her acting debut at age eight as Ramona Quimby in OCT's 1997 production, and was the first ever certified OCT Young Professional! After growing up a bit, she trained at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris France, specializing in physical theatre, cross-disciplinary practices, improvisation, music, and ensemble creation. Since recently returning to her hometown, she has joined the team at The Young People's Theatre Project as the Outreach Coordinator, is teaching theatre at various schools across town, and will be appearing as an actor in Cloud in Imago Theatre's upcoming 2016 season.

JAY FLEWELLING was born and raised in Portland, and has been a comedian since birth. He has been involved in the dramatic arts for more than a decade, including being an established member since the first annual Bridgetown Comedy Festival. He has produced, directed, and performed in his own comedy variety show, The Comedy Grab Bag, at the Funhouse Lounge. You will find him, almost any time, practicing his craft on sanctioned and also, surreptitious platforms. He welcomes the opportunity to become an instructor for the OCT and is committed to supporting other comedians in developing their craft. Jay has a passion for youth work and education, he has taught the power of play in a K-8 school assisting children in adopting a more active and healthy lifestyle. Jay has taught in his year of service for the Americorps, for the Outdoor School Program, adult and family classes at Curious Comedy Theater, and is currently at Forest Park Elementary.

STAN FOOTE is the Artistic Director at OCT. He is a multiple Drammy award-winning director who has professionally directed and taught at professional theatres for more than 25 years.

TONY FUEMMELER has worked as a mask maker, puppeteer, director, teacher, and movement consultant in Portland, across the US, and, recently, in Mumbai, India. Tony began teaching 15 years ago at the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre of Minneapolis. Since then he has taught in NYC and Portland public schools, various after school programs, and in multiple colleges and universities. At OCT, Tony has taught for the Acting Academy, directed a YP play, and created masks and puppets for mainstage shows. Tony trained in performance and theater design at the University of Kansas and in physical theater at Dell'Arte International.

FRANCISCO GARCIA is an Equity actor who recently appeared on stage as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. He has taught classes for The Mark Taper Forum, California Institute of the Arts, Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Cornerstone Theatre Company and Oregon Children’s Theatre. As a writer, Francisco served as the 2012-2013 guest playwright for CalArts' Community Arts Partnership Program. His adaptation of Fuente Ovejuna was performed in the Spring of 2013 at REDCAT Theatre located at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Currently, Francisco is writing an adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey for Profile Theatre’s Educational Outreach Program.

KRISTIN HAILSTONE is thrilled to be teaching with OCT!  She holds a BA in Theater from Arizona State University.  For 14 seasons, Kristin was a Teaching Artist and member of the acting ensemble for the internationally acclaimed theatre company Childsplay in Tempe, AZ.  Favorite roles include Mary Todd Lincoln, Pussycat in The Owl and the Pussycat and 9 sparkly years as The Velveteen Rabbit’s Nursery Magic Fairy.  She appeared in the Education Theatre Program’s touring production of The Amazing Food Detective as Mrs. C.  Kristin lives and laughs with her wonderful husband and son.

CHANDA HALL is a performer, teacher, writer, producer, and the Artistic Director of Staged! Musical Theatre. She holds a degree in music from Gustavus Adolphus College. She enjoys working with kids throughout the metro area and has served as a faculty member at Northwest Children's Theatre, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Staged! along with OCT.

CHRIS HARDER received his degree from the University of Wisconsin - Parkside and was a core member of Sowelu Theatre Ensemble for seven seasons (Meisner, Chekhov and Viewpoints training) As an Equity actor he has worked locally in numerous theatre, film, TV and commercial projects and is a certified stage hypnotist, comedy magician and clown performer. Chris has taught regularly with Oregon Children’s Theatre, Portland Public Schools, Playwrite Inc., Actors To Go, and The Young Players. Having worked with students of all ages from grade school to adults, his classes focus on the playful aspects of theatrical performance and acting technique.

SARA KENNEDY ADAMS received a BA in Theatre Arts at Southern Oregon University. Sara began her teaching career with OCT in 2002, during which she was their Box Office Manager. In 2009, she became the Main School Drama Coach at StageCoach Theatre Arts- Portland. She has directed numerous plays & musicals, as well as, talent/variety shows at various elementary schools in the Portland area. Sara is an actor and a singer and uses her musical theatre training as a member of Whetsell Adams, a jazz duo.

AMY LAROSA has been teaching theater for the past thirteen years. She graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a major in theater and a minor in music. She was a company member of The Theater Project in Brunswick, Maine where she both taught and performed and taught theater and music for Bar Harbor Maine's Summer Festival of the Arts. Her love of rainy nights brought her to Seattle where she taught for Youth Theatre Northwest and performed with Live Girls! Theater. Her husband brought her to Portland where she now teaches for Young Players and Portland Public Schools, as well as Oregon Children's Theatre.

VAL LANDRUM has been teaching at OCT since 2002 and recently co-directed Antigone Now for the Young Professionals program. An Equity and award winning actor originating from Chicago, Val has worked and trained with several first class regional theaters, including Steppenwolf and The Goodman. Since moving here she has been in productions for OCT, Portland Center Stage, Third Rail Repertory Theatre, Artist Repertory Theatre, Profile Theatre, CoHo, Portland Playhouse, Triangle Productions, and Lakewood.  She began her teaching career at Purdue University where she also received her BA and then transitioned into inner city Chicago, working with troubled youth. She has also taught for Northwest Children’s Theatre, Portland Center Stage, The Young Players, ART and several immersion programs with the Portland Public School system.

SIGNE LARSEN  has been involved at OCT since she was 6, first taking classes, then participating in the Young Professionals program, and more recently, teaching. She graduated with a BFA in Acting from Cornish College of the Arts in May of 2013, and is thrilled to be joining the staff of OCT.

LILY LOWELL has a BFA in Acting from Illinois Wesleyan University. She studied improvisation with the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater and performed with various improv groups in Los Angeles. She is the founder and teacher of Quirk Improv camp for kids, a substitute preschool teacher, and nanny. Lily has performed with several Portland theater companies such as Portland Center Stage, Tygre’s Heart Shakespeare Co., The Northwest Children’s Theater and Theatre Vertigo.

JAKE MICHELS is a former student at the OCT Acting Academy, and current administrator in the Education department at OCT. His first class, "Whose Line is it Anyway"? with Laura Smith introduced him to his favorite art form; improvisation. As a teen, he was cast in two OCT Productions: Tom Sawyer and Tuck Everlasting . After graduating from WSU, he returned to Portland and has worked at OCT in the adminstration since 2008. He currently performs, directs, and teaches classes locally, and can be seen as a main stage performer as well as Education Director at Curious Comedy Theater.

CECILY OVERMAN has been active in Portland theatre for over ten years, both teaching and performing. Some of her favorite roles at Oregon Children’s Theatre include:  "White Witch" in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, "Mother" in The Giver, and "Aunt Spiker" in James and the Giant Peach. Cecily has taught in the community for Artist Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Young Players, and Northwest Children's Theater. She received Bachelor's degrees in both Psychology and Theatre from Whitman College.

ERIC MARTIN REID has been acting professionally for over 15 years. He is a graduate of the Professional Actor’s Training Program at the Dell Arte International School and has studied Advanced Meisner at the Actor’s Avenue studio. In addition to many stage credits Eric has numerous Television and Film credits including a guest star role in the NBC series Grimm. His commercial credits include Discover Card, Suzuki, Pier One, and Oregon Lottery to name a few. Eric’s classes begin with developing trust and teamwork so that each student can feel free to accept the challenges of pushing themselves, creating character, and learning the techniques of on camera work.

SAM REITER has been acting, teaching, improvising, and directing for eight years. She began at the Denver Center Theatre Academy, where she assistant directed several teen productions. While earning her BA in Theatre from Lewis & Clark College, she spent a semester studying acting at the Moscow Art Theatre, and has harbored a passion for Chekhov ever since. She is thrilled to be a part of the OCT team!

JEANNE ROGERS has been a professional actress for 30 years, performing in leading roles opposite many well-known actors such as Nick Nolte, Don Johnson, Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross, and others. She trained at the world-renowned Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, where she studied under legendary acting teacher, Sanford Meisner. Jeanne has extensive experience teaching children's drama classes at Honolulu Waldorf High School, Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Free Arts Clinic in Los Angeles, and most recently in Portland at NWCT. She has directed more than a dozen plays with children and teens.

ZOË RUDMAN is the Acting Academy Manager at Oregon Children's Theater. As a child she took many classes at OCT, and received a BA in Theatre from Occidental College. She is an actor, dancer, and teacher and has worked with numerous Portland theater companies including Theater Vertigo, CoHo Productions, Action/Adventure Theater  and Miracle Theater.

DIANA SCHULTZ is a native Oregonian that studied theatre arts, performance and dance at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC and LA. She's proud to have received movement instruction from Amanda Ellis, Jamie Benson, and Vic DiMonda (The Ailey School.) Diana is passionate about creative collaborations, devising new work, and finds tremendous joy in finding each student's inner dancer!

LAURA FAYE SMITH has been teaching OCT classes for over a decade. She has numerous film and voice over credits, and has appeared in productions at multiple theatres throughout Portland, including Portland Center Stage, ART, CoHo Productions, Portland Playhouse, Third Rail Repertory, and Profile Theatre.  She studied improvisation at The Loose Moose Theatre in Calgary, Canada, as well at Bay Area Theatre Sports in San Francisco.  She and holds a B.A. in English and Theatre from OSU.

SUZI SMITH was an agent in Los Angeles for prominent Youth agencies for 15 years.  She worked with and enhanced careers such as the Olsen Twins, Hilary Duff, Michelle Williams, Brandy Norwood aka BRANDY, Ericka Christenson, Trevor Morgan, Andrew Keegan, Camilla Belle, and several more.  She started at Mary Grady Agency, a children's agent, but was asked to start a youth division for J. Michael Bloom and then  Buchwald Agency. She has always loved kids and enhancing these kids lives.She moved to Oregon in 1999 and became a casting director (The Hunted w/ Tommy Lee Jones) and she cast several commercials. She also has been teaching acting classes and now is offering a NEW type of acting workshop.  She has a unique perspective to share as she has been an agent, a casting director, and a mother on the set.

MARK STEERING has a degree in Performing Arts from Ithaca College in NY. He is a vocal instructor and has taught theatre, music and directed musicals with kids and adults for over 20 + years. Recently, Mark directed You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown with OCT's Young Professional students. Mark was the Theatre Arts Director at MJCC. He is also a composer who has written and produced several musicals, a 30 minute opera for the Saturday Market/Sunday Opera project and has written choral arrangements for Angels, the Next Generation.

GINNIE SUTFIN grew up in San Jose, California, where she performed as a teenager with San Jose Children’s Musical Theatre. She graduated with a BA in Theatre Arts from Gonzaga University, and received her MFA in performance from the University of Idaho. In Portland, she was one of the founding company members of 2Boards Productions, and has been the Drama Director at Valley Catholic High School since 2004, where she also teaches English and Journalism.

CHELSIE THOMAS holds a Master of Arts in Teaching in secondary drama and language arts, and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from SOU.  Chelsie has taught at Northwest Childrens Theatre, as well as at the reggio emilia inspired preschool Growing Seeds in NE Portland.  She has acted with several companies throughout the Portland area, including: Sojourn Theatre, Lunacy Stageworks, Well Arts,  and Curious Comedy Theater.  Chelsie is excited to work with Oregon Children's Theatre!

BETH THOMPSON is a teaching artist, actor and Alexander Technique teacher living in Portland, OR. Beth has experience working with students beginning preschool and students taking their craft beyond high school. Her training and practice in Viewpoints, Dance and devising new works endows her teaching with a joyful reverence for the imagination and a focus on engendering student ownership of their work.

DANIELLE VALENTINE, a Portland native, has worked as both an actor, director and teacher. She currently teaches musical theater at Childswork learning center and carries a bachelor's degree in musical theater as well as human development. She enjoys performing with many theater companies around town as well as OCT. She's believes drama and the arts to be a vital part of connecting with the youth of today.

LUCAS WELSH is a Portland native with over 15 years of professional theater experience. A Drammy award winner, Lucas continues his work as a performer while also directing, designing, and producing digital commercial content for clients nationwide. Involvement with OCT began as a teenager where he participated in the first years of the Young Professionals program and performed in three productions, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Holes, and Winnie the Pooh.

MATTHEW ZREBSKI moved to Portland, OR in 1997. He graduated from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University with a BFA in Acting, Directing, and Playwriting. Matt took over the Dallas, TX summer company, Youth Could Know Theatre. In his three-season tenure, he produced seven world premieres and received a Dallas Observer "Best of Dallas" award for innovative theatre. In his five seasons at SRT, Matt directed, wrote, and scored numerous productions, and oversaw 31 plays as they went from page to premiere. His own plays, The Planet ME, Neck, A Place Called Timothy, Parts, Darkstep and Dawning, After the Zipper, and The Vespiary have been produced in the Dallas, Texas and/or Portland, Oregon areas. Matt is a multi-award-winning director and writer, and has also written a wide range of plays for the JAW Festival at Portland Center Stage.

* Teachers subject to change