Instructor Bios

Students at OCT work with experienced, caring instructors who work within curriculum standards that support stage skills and build self-confidence.



Julie Akers

Julie has been teaching acting, directing and theater history at the university level for the past twenty years. She received an MFA from University of British Columbia and has worked as a Professor at New Mexico State University, Willamette University, Portland Community College, and Lone Star College. She is currently teaching theater at Portland State University. In addition, Julie has been recognized for her work with young adults throughout her career. She has been nominated for an Emmy for the collaborative work she did with Teens and Company, in Portland, Oregon. She has run summer long theater camps for high school kids in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She recently worked with kids at risk in Austin, Texas, through the Creative Action Project. Her commitment to educational theater, at all levels, is absolute.


Claire Aldridge

Claire began studying theater from a young age, trained through OCTs Young Professional Program and appeared on OCTs second and main stages. Most recently you may have seen her as Charlotte in Charlottes Web. Claire also has experience in Improv, Aerial Silks, Dance and Voice performance. 


Robi Arce

Robi has been teaching for 11 years. He holds an MFA in Ensemble-Based Physical Theatre from Dell'Arte International. Robi has performed, toured, and lead workshops in Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. His work is diverse, from theaters to churches, plazas and schools, bringing theatrical and educational shows to all. Fueled by social justice and change, his passion is to create a physical, dynamic and poetic theatre that connects with people as sports connects with the fans. Currently he serves as a Teaching Artist for Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program in collaboration with Oregon Children’s Theatre in Portland, OR


Dani Baldwin

Dani is the Education Director at OCT where she runs the Young Professionals Company. She frequently acts, directs, and designs for OCT. Outside of OCT, she has performed with Sojourn Theatre, Chianti Club Presents, Tapestry Theater, and Miracle; plus she's a regular actor with Kaiser Permanente.


Tom Beckett

Tom 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

David teaches drama at Portland's Northwest Academy, and has also taught for Portland Actors Conservatory, Profile Theatre Project and Northwest Children's Theatre. David has directed multiple Shakespeare productions, as well as works by Harold Pinter and Edward Albee. Previously, he was Education Director for Marin Shakespeare Company and Camp Director for The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. 


Tamara Carroll

Tamara is a director of theatre for all ages with a passion for work that is thematically challenging and aesthetically compelling. She recently received her MFA in Drama & Theatre for Youth & Communities from the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused in TYA directing, new play development, and devising socially engaged theatre. Before joining OCT she served as Program Head of Theatre at Buck’s Rock Creative and Performing Arts Camp, a Montessori style arts camp in Connecticut. She is the recipient of the International Performing Arts for Youth Jim Rye Fellowship, and the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s Don and Elizabeth Doyle Fellowship award for artistic excellence in work with and for youth.


Jeffrey Childs

Jeffrey 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 Theatre.


Nick Condon

Nick has been a touring Actor/Educator for over eighteen years. A Minneapolis native, he studied and performed at several companies in the Twin Cities including; Stages Theatre Company, Comedy Sportz, The Brave New Workshop, and Outward Spiral, and The National Theatre for Children. Most recently he hails from Talkeetna, Alaska where he served as Creative Director of Denali Drama and Iditaprov. In addition to teaching at OCT he can be seen performing, teaching and coaching at Curious Comedy Theatre.


Jennifer Darling

Jennifer received her MA in Theatre Arts in 2001. She’s been teaching,  stage managing, and directing for OCT for over 10 years. Other credits include working at Back Stage Theatre, Miracle Theatre, and Oregon Ballet Theatre. One of Jennifer's favorite projects with OCT was directing the YP show Cyrano in 2009. She 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. 


Noah Dunham

Noah is a Portland raised theater artist whose acting, directing, designs, and writing have been seen with theater companies such Action/Adventure Theatre (where he is a company member), Miracle Theater, Post5 Theatre, and Working Theatre Collective. Noah has a BA in Theater from Fordham University. 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

Noelle 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.


Conor Eifler

Conor has worked as a writer, actor, director, banjo-player and teaching artist in Portland, New York, Chicago and Louisville. He appeared in Oregon Children's Theatre's production ofThe Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. He received a BA in Theatre from the University of Portland and was a member of the Professional Training Program at Actors Theatre of Louisville.


Elizabeth Fagan

Elizabeth 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! She trained at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris, specializing in physical theatre, cross-disciplinary practices, improvisation, music, and ensemble creation. She has joined the team at The Young People's Theatre Project as the Outreach Coordinator, and is teaching theatre at various schools across town.


Jay Flewelling

Jay 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 produced, directed, and performed in his own comedy variety show, The Comedy Grab Bag, at the Funhouse Lounge. Jay has a passion for youth work and education and has taught for the Outdoor School Program, Forest Park Elementary, and Curious Comedy Theater.


Stan Foote

Stan 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

Tony has worked as a mask maker, puppeteer, director, teacher, and movement consultant in Portland, across the US, and, recently, in Mumbai, India. He has taught in NYC and Portland public schools, 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

Francisco is an Equity actor who 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. 


Kristin Hailstone

Kristin 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. 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

Chanda 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

Chris received his degree from the University of Wisconsin - Parkside and was a core member of Sowelu Theatre Ensemble for seven seasons. 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. 


Sara Kennedy Adams

Sara 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. 


Val Landrum

Val 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 regional theaters, including Steppenwolf and The Goodman. 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 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.


Amy LaRosa

Amy 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.


Signe Larsen

Signe 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.


Sullivan Mackintosh

Sullivan worked as an intern in OCT's Communications and Marketing department in 2014-15, and is delighted to return as a Teaching Artist for the Acting Academy. She holds a theatre degree from Lewis & Clark College, and has studied at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the National Theatre Institute. Sullivan is a current student at the Institute for Contemporary Performance, and splits her time between Portland and Hood River, where she works as a teaching artist/director for Columbia Center for the Arts, and as the Artistic Director of Phoenix Theatre.


Cristi Miles

Cristi is a performer, director and teacher based in Portland, OR. Her work  has taken her  all across the Pacific Northwest and North Eastern parts of the US and is currently an Assistant Professor of the Theatre at George Fox University. She is co-artistic director of Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, and trained with Anne Bogart and the SITI company and The Oregon Center for Alexander Technique (AmSAT certified). Brandeis University, MFA.


Eric Reid

Eric 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. 


Samantha Reiter

Sam 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

A professional actress for 30 years, Jeanne performed 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

Zoë is the Acting Academy Manager at OCT. She has been in the OCT family since she took her first class here at age 8, and was then a Young Professional and a teacher before joining staff. Outside of OCT Zoë is a local actor, improviser, movement director, and Action/Adventure Theatre Company member. She also directs for OCT’s Young Professionals company.

David Saffert

David Saffert has taught “Musical Magic” at Oregon Children's Theatre for two summers. He was also hired by OCT to coach five students who performed with Sarah Jessica Parker at the White House in front of Michelle Obama. David frequently works as an accompanist for Portland Opera and has been a Teaching Artist for 6 years with Portland Opera to Go. Other credits include Oregon Ballet Theatre, All Classical Portland Radio, Tony Starlight's, and the Guthrie (Minnesota). David's current gig is performing as Liberace alongside Liberace's own Music Director, Bo Ayars.


Diana Schultz 

Diana 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 discovering each student's inner dancer!


Suzi Smith

Suzi 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 , 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 also has been teaching acting classes and now is offering a NEW type of acting workshop. Suzi has been an agent, a casting director, and a mother on the set.

Mark Steering

Mark 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

Ginnie 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

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


Danielle Valentine

Danielle, 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 OCTC. She's believes drama and the arts to be a vital part of connecting with the youth of today.


Blake Wales

Blake is an alumni of the Young Professionals Program at Oregon Children's Theatre and has been a part of the OCT family from a very young age. Currently, Blake is the Acting Academy Assistant at OCT and recently moved back to Portland after graduating with a BFA from Adelphi University in New York. He also studied abroad at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and has traveled across the globe implementing arts programs for at risk youth.   


Lucas Welsh

Lucas Welsh is a Portland native with over 15 years 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 multiple main stage productions. He is currently a company member at Action/Adventure Theatre and the Finance Assistant at OCT. 


Holly Wigmore

Holly is a performer, producer and teaching artist living in Portland. She has performed with many local companies and is currently a proud ensemble member of Theatre Vertigo. Holly regularly performs sketch comedy and is a graduate of the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts in Santa Maria, CA. She also toured nationally with Tears of Joy Theatre, where she performed as a puppeteer and taught classes to elementary aged students in a variety of settings. 

Matt Zrebski

Matt 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.  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.