LAUREN WILSON – School Director
Mask Performance, Character, Commedia dell’Arte, Poetic Voice
Since beginning her theatre training as a Dell’Arte student in 1993, Lauren has worked with the Dell’Arte Company as a writer, director and performer in a wide range of productions. She received her B.A. from Reed College, and an M.F.A. in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College in 2007, where she was awarded the Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for Playwriting. In 2008 she was the recipient of a one-year Dramatists Guild Fellowship. Her comedies “Chemical Imbalance” and “The Golden State” are published by Dramatists Play Service, and her short play “Wedding Duet” appears in the 2007 Vintage anthology Laugh Lines. In addition to working as a writer and performer of ensemble theatre, Lauren has served on the faculties at both the State University of New York and Humboldt State University, teaching physical acting, comedy, mask performance, improvisation, and clown. Since 2010, she has taught ‘Writing for Actors’ as part of American Conservatory Theatre’s MFA program. She has been a full-time faculty member at Dell’Arte since 2009, where she also co-created “Three Trees”, an original clown play devised and performed with her longtime ensemble partners Joe Krienke and Stephanie Thompson. Recent projects include “Punctual Folly,” a film for three clowns, and a comic backwoods opera created and performed at Dell’Arte’s Mad River Festival.
JOAN SCHIRLE – Founding Artistic Director
Mask Performance, The Showers, Alexander Technique
Joan Schirle is the founding artistic director of Dell’Arte International. She is an actor, playwright, director, deviser and teacher, whose acting work was recognized with a 2006 Fox Foundation/TCG Resident Actor Fellowship for professional development. In 2004 she was honored at the 16th Cairo International Experimental Theatre Festival as a leader in the field of experimental theatre. She served as director of the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre from 2003 – 2011.
Joan has directed productions at San Diego Rep, the Alley in Houston, Bloomsburg Ensemble, A Traveling Jewish Theatre, Touchstone Ensemble, Colorado University/Boulder and Dell’Arte. A principal actor-creator with the Dell’Arte Company since its founding, she most recently created the title role in Mary Jane: The Musical at the 2011 & 2012 Mad River Festival and again played the title role in the 2016 film version: Mary Jane: A Musical Potumentary, which won the award for Best Musical Film at the 2016 Oregon Independent Film Festival. Read More.
MICHAEL FIELDS – Artistic Director
Physical Acting, Cabaret, Melodrama, Company Performance Internship, Artist-as-Entrepreneur
Michael Fields is a founding member and Producing Artistic Director of the Dell’Arte Company. As a member of the Dell’Arte performing ensemble for the past 30 years, he has been a recipient of San Francisco and San Diego Critics Circle and Los Angeles Drama-Logue awards for Performance and Writing. He has co-authored and performed in over 25 Dell’Arte productions, including Mad Love, Slapstick, Intrigue at Ah-pah, Whiteman Meet Bigfoot, Paradise Lost, Performance Anxiety, Malpraticeand Wild Card.…He is also Chair of the California State Summer School for the Arts Theatre Program. A master teacher of Physical Performance Styles at the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, Michael has also taught for the Dutch National Theatre School; the California Institute of the Arts; Teater Studion in Stockholm, Sweden and at the Aarhus University Dramaturgi Institute in Denmark. Michael was a member of the Board of Directors of Theatre Communications Group (TCG) from 1998 – 2004 where he served as the president of the International Theatre Institute/USA. Read More.
Voice, Play, Improvisation, Mask Performance, Adaptation
James Peck was trained at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama and followed a conventional career in film, stage and television until he discovered the unconventional approach to theatre found only at Dell’arte International. He came to America in 2002 to train in the sweet rainy location of Blue Lake California and graduated from the MFA program in 2005. Over a thirty year acting career, he has been involved with the creation and development of several ensemble companies in the UK and in various collaborative works.
He has directed, acted in, written and produced plays in styles that range from Theater of the Oppressed to adapted Classics, from Commedia to Bouffon, from Brecht to Clown. He is a black belt in the Korean martial art of Kuk Sool Won, and has trained in Tai Chi and Wing Chung. He is also a keyboard/accordion player and songwriter in the legendary punk rock pomp rock jazz quintet, “Tainted Zucchini”.
Dance, Movement, Contact Improvisation, Physical Training
Laura Muñoz is a theater artist born and raised in Spain. She started her training in childhood as a gymnast, and soon after, as a dancer.
Laura graduated from HSU with a degree in Studies of the Earth, and later studied at the School for New Dance Development at the University of Amsterdam. Muñoz is also a graduate of The Moving On Center, where she studied Interdisciplinary Arts and Somatic Movement Therapy.
Some memorable collaborations as a dancer are with choreographers Linda Sievers, Marisa Grande, Bonnie Hossack and Donald Fleming. She values her work with the physical theater company Workhorse in “Wild Porcelain” and “Blood Wedding”, and with the Dell’Arte Company on and off since 1998. She has directed, produced and performed in numerous productions with her own company Pequeño Teatro de Danza. Her works have been seen in Europe, Russia and the US. She is back at Dell’Arte as faculty and director of physical training.
Laura is currently working on a still untitled character based solo piece that will premiere this summer. Oh! And she is organizing a one week, end of Summer workshop in the South of France. Check out Dell’Arte’s website for details.
Born in Montreal and raised in Canada, Guatemala and the USA, Sayda is a theatre artist specializing in voice and movement, as well as devising physical theatre performances. Teaching and performance experience abroad includes work in Guatemala, Ecuador, Singapore, Spain, Germany, Colombia, UK, Egypt, Palestine with The Freedom Theatre and India. Her three solo shows BANANA LEAVES, DEFINITELY OOPS, and I WAS RAISED MEXICAN have been presented nationally and internationally at theater houses including La Mama ETC, REDCAT, and NYTW. Since 2005 Sayda has volunteered for Clowns Without Borders performing for thousands of children in Latin America and the Middle East. Sayda has taught at Pace University, Florida International University, Occidental College, California State University Northridge, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore. She has been a guest artist/artist in residence in programs across the country including Whitman College and CalArts. Sayda’s education combines a BFA in Acting from California Institute of the Arts; a postgraduate certificate in Physical Theatre from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre; and an MA in Voice from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
ZUZKA SABATA – Community Programs Director
Community Based Arts Projects, Ensemble Singing, Rural Residency
Zuzka Sabata is a Dell’Arte ensemble member and alumni of the master’s program at DAI. She graduated in 2008 and has served as the company’s Community Coordinator for years, producing Community-Based Arts projects with master’s students and the Rural Residency with the Professional Training Program. Most recently she taught Theater Arts to junior and high school students at Oak Grove School in Ojai, Ca. She has performed in the Mad River Festival for 5+ years, played Javanese traditional music in Gamelan Sekar Sequoia, saxophone with Bandemonium, and was a vocalist with The Brendas. She is currently working on a play based on the life of Olive Oatman and practicing Qi Gong, the ancient Chinese practice of medicinal movement meditation.
Voice & Ensemble Singing
Leira V. Satlof holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music (Bachelor of Music: Operatic Performance) and Humboldt State University (Master of Fine Arts: Directing Musical and Operatic Theater). She has been both stage director and musical director for operas, musical theater productions, revues, plays, and original works for more than 20 years. She has been on the faculty of Dell’Arte International, Santa Rosa Junior College, and the California State Summer School of the Arts; and has served as Cantorial Soloist and music director of Congregation Shomrei Torah in Santa Rosa. Leira is the Artistic Producing Director of Ferndale Repertory Theatre.
Cabaret, Character, Storytelling, Workshops
Janessa is a Canadian-born artist and educator from Saskatchewan, Canada. She holds an MFA from Dell’Arte and has trained in Canada, the Czech Republic, Indonesia and throughout the U.S.A. Janessa is Artistic Director and co-founder of Glitter Gizzard, an international performance ensemble currently creating and touring original work with a focus on the female comedic duo and transformative character. She has performed with with the Dell’Arte Company for the past five seasons and teaches theatre to inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison through Arts in Corrections. She is also a co-creator of “IN-Tents: A Conservation Comedy”, an internationally acclaimed clown show most recently featured in the Hakawy International Arts Festival in Egypt. She makes custom crafted character teeth for performers with her burgeoning project: “Necessiteeth: Custom Character Mouth Masks.”
SARAH PETERS – School Administrator / Registrar
Ensemble Singing & Community Based Arts Projects
Sarah Peters is a performer, director and musician. In Portland OR she served as business director for Post5 Theatre, and performed and directed with several theatres including Well Arts Institute and Milagro Theatre. Before coming to Northern CA she toured for 5 years with Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program, created site-specific devised performances, and trained with The Antaeus Company and National Michael Chekhov Association in Los Angeles. She has served as a songwriter for many plays, and for Portland-based band Metropolis. Other favorite experiences include traveling with Bond Street Theater (New York) to India, traveling across the US with the One Second Film Road-to-Oprah tour, and performing in The Buddha Prince, an outdoor play that used music and masks to tell the story of the life of the Dalai Lama (Los Angeles). She is a graduate of the MFA program at Dell’Arte International, and holds a BFA in acting from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Alyssa Hughlett holds a BFA in acting from Texas State University, San Marcos, and an MFA from Dell’Arte International. She trained and worked for Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA, as an actor and education artist between 2005 and 2009. Alyssa has over 20 years of experience coaching and teaching gymnastics, and 7 years as a certified as a yoga instructor. She has been an actor with the Wharton Salon, a theatre company devoted to adapting and performing the works of Edith Wharton at her estate in the Massachusetts’s Berkshires, and has acted for Irina Brook, in adapting an original stage production of Oscar Wilde’s, The Canterville Ghost. In 2014, she was assistant to director, Irina Brook, at the National Theatre in Nice (France), helping with an adaptation of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt with a cast of international actors, dancers, and musicians. Alyssa is a founding member and the 2017 artistic director of UpLift Physical Theatre, an ensemble founded in 2013 by an amalgam of actors, acrobats, dancers, musicians, and performers (uplifttheatre.com). Their most recent work, Enmity of the People, premiered in Dayton, Ohio, at the University of Dayton, where she was an artist in residence. In addition to performing, Alyssa has been a teaching artist since 2006, and taught in over 10 U.S. states, from ages 5 through adult. Alyssa has performed locally for Ferndale Repertory Theatre, the Arcata Playhouse, Redwood Raks Dance Studio, Dell’Arte’s Mad River Festival, and she is a proud Mum.
BRUCE MARRS – Mask Making
Bruce Marrs studied, back in the misinformed seventies, with Etienne Decroux and Marcel Marceau. He studied dance all over the place, Ballet, Modern, tap, samba, contact improv, the whole nine yards. He Danced and Choreographed with The Human Dancing Company, The Oregon Dance Theatre, and The Southern Oregon Light Opera, and held spears at the Oregon Shakespearian Festival. He taught various stuff at Dell’Arte for 25 years, barely managing to keep his job. Oh yeah, he had the title role in the 1997 version of Godzilla. He has a BA in theatre arts, and a valid Oregon Driver’s license. A prolific breeder, he has five grandchildren, all very smart and a bit weird. Good conversation, laughter, music making, and lolling about are his hobbies.
EVAMARII JOHNSON – Voice
Evamarii Johnson is a teacher and voice and text director who has taught at Cornell University, Northwestern University, Cal State Long Beach, Illinois State Universtiy, and Loyola, Chicago, as well as Semester at Sea, CSSSA (California State Summer School for the Arts), and, happily, Dell’Arte. She has been a voice and text director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, the Guthrie Theatre, and Centerstage, Baltimore. Evamarii has acted on and off Broadway in NYC, and regionally in Seattle, Kansas City, Illinois, and Canada. She is a member of AEA, SAG, VASTA, and Canadian AEA. She is a
co-recipient of the Wilber Schram award for educational video for “Julius Ceasar: From Page to Stage”. Evamarii holds a BFA,
cum laude, from Howard University, post graduate work from New York University: School of the Arts, and a PHD in Theatre
History and Dramatic Literature and Criticism from the University of Washingtom, Seattle. She lives in NYC.
STEPHANIE THOMPSON – Clown
Currently Managing Director at Ten Thousand Things Theater in Minneapolis, Stephanie is an arts collaborator and teacher who specializes in strategizing ways to engage communities of all sizes in creative industry. She is recently transplanted to Minnesota, after having served in various positions from Executive Director to Associate School Director, Resident Faculty, and Performer at Dell’Arte International. While in Blue Lake, she also co-founded the Blue Lake Education Foundation, the Humboldt Arts and Culture Coalition, and the Blue Lake Rising grant program. Stephanie has taught at Dell’Arte and throughout the United States in the areas of mask, puppetry, commedia, clown, acting, community engagement, and entrepreneurship in the arts. Prior to her work at Dell’Arte, Stephanie served on the faculty of the MFA Acting program at University of Missouri Kansas City. As a performer, Stephanie has worked throughout the US and abroad as an actor, clown, puppeteer, stunt double, and commedia performer with companies such as Dell’Arte International, The New Pickle Circus, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Kenneth Feld Productions, California Revels and Tears of Joy Theatre. She is currently conspiring to re-mount the play Three Trees with long-time theater partners Joe Krienke and Lauren Wilson.
JOE KRIENKE- Clown, Alexander Technique
Joe Krienke is an Internationally Certified Teacher of the F.M. Alexander Technique and theater-maker based in Minneapolis, MN. He has a 20-year history with Dell’Arte in various roles including student, core-faculty, Director of Admissions, Associate School Director, Board Member, and Company Member.
Joe was on the Faculty in the MFA Actor Training Program at the University of Missouri, Kansas City from 2001-2006 and has taught workshops or been in residence at another two-dozen higher educational institutions nationwide. In 2016-17 he will be teaching in Florida, Minnesota, Philadelphia, and California and is launching a non-residential Alexander Technique Teacher Training program in Minneapolis in the fall of 2017.
Joe has toured nationally with San Francisco’s Pickle Circus and Portland’s Tears of Joy Theater. Notable original works include Three Trees (a theatrical clown-play created and performed with Stephanie Thompson and Lauren Wilson), Between The Lines, and Taken Away (both dramatic acrobatic pieces created with a company of Joe’s former students now known as San Francisco based UpLift Physical Theater). Joe is Drummer Emeritus for Oakland based punk band The Big Forgive, and can be heard on their 2014 EP Be Specific.
MATT CHAPMAN – Clown
Matt Chapman is a performer, teacher, and director of physical theatre and clown. After three years working on the Faculty at Dell’Arte, he is now living and working in Oakland, CA. Matt is also Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Brooklyn’s Under the Table, now in its thirteenth year of making works and touring the country and globe. He has taught Clown at Marymount Manhattan College and Manhattanville College in New York, and has taught workshops at such places as the Kennedy Center, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, NYU, Vassar, Sarah Lawrence, Towson, and many other universities and theatres. Matt regularly works abroad as well; he has taught and performed at festivals, schools, and theatres in South Africa, Denmark, Colombia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Canada, and England.
He is a Round 9 recipient of Theatre Communications Group’s New Generations Future Leaders program, plays guitar in the Oakland punk rock band The Big Forgive, and is a graduate of Dell’Arte International (’01) and the University of Kansas (’00).