Over the course of the past year, the seventeen students at the STC Academy have undertaken remarkable amounts of training. Classes and workshops covered a wide variety of topics, and were taught by award winning artists and educators such as Ed Gero, Craig Wallace, Naomi Jacobson, and Patrick Page. Physical training involved Alexander work, stage combat, mask and clown, and movement work. These physical classes were supplemented with conditioning, Classical Pilates, and stretch sessions. Other acting instruction included textual analysis, monologue and scene studies, voice and speech training, archetypes, and topics in Shakespeare. The academy has also produced five plays in three semesters: two 60 minute adaptations in the Autumn (Pericles, All’s Well That Ends Well), one devised piece in the Spring (Macbeth), and two full-length productions which run from July 7th-22nd (12th Night adapted by Shaina Taub, and Measure for Measure). They have dedicated the past year to this program, leaving behind friends, family, and circadian rhythm. The class of 2023 is proud to enter (or in many cases, re-enter) the professional world as graduates of the Academy at the Shakespeare Theatre Company and George Washington University.

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Gabriel Alejandro is a Puerto Rican actor, improviser, and teacher. He has trained and performed in Colombia, Denmark, Greece, Puerto Rico, and Washington DC. He holds a BA in Drama from the University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras Campus and a MAT in Special Education from New York University. REGIONAL: Keegan Theater: The Wilting Point (Udo); Odin Teatret: Barter (Narrator); Worlds Elsewhere Theater Company: The Roaring Girl (Sebastian Wengrave); Fractal Theater Collective: Untitled Horror Project (Person C/Sebastian). EDUCATIONAL: STC Academy: Macbeth (Macbeth), Pericles (Antiochus, Dionyza, Knight, Lysimachus) 

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Incredibly excited to be performing as a member of this ensemble, Geoffrey Besser is a Washington DC and New York based actor, singer, and educator. REGIONAL: Meadow Brook Theatre: A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline. Hilberry Theatre Company: Fairview, Head Over Heels, Everybody. Spectrum Theatre Ensemble: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. EDUCATIONAL: STC Academy: Pericles, Macbeth. TRAINING: Brown University, Stella Adler Studio of Acting.

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Catie Carlisle has spent the last 12 years working in theaters as an actor, director, and writer. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio where she studied Theater, Dance, and Communication.

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Colton Chaney is an actor, writer, and aspiring director based in Washington DC. Colton brings his love of fantastical and detail-driven world building to his acting. He recently graduated Bennington College with a BA in Drama and Literature, and he is ecstatic to be part of the Academy’s 2023 Summer Reps Season. Myths, monsters, and epic stories have always had a special place in his heart, and he hopes to use his passion for fantasy and science fiction to tell stories which examine the human condition and inspire empathy in audiences. Between shows, Colton loves to mountain bike. 

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Yihong Chen is a multidisciplinary artist who has been working as an actor, director, and choreographer. She has professional training and experience in film, directing for television, and a variety of theater forms, including musical theatre, devised theatre, physical theatre, and immersive theatre. Her artistic journey began in China where she co-directed six TV shows, including The Voice of China and Street Dance of China. Yihong’s artistic goal is to amplify the voices of Asian artists in the U.S. TRAINING: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (BA), The New School, Shanghai Theatre Academy, Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

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Robyn Cohen has performed with: The Ford’s Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Lincoln Center, Paper Mill Playhouse, Great Lakes, Laguna Playhouse, Delaware Rep., Goodspeed Opera House, Geffen Playhouse. NATIONAL TOUR: Cabaret. DIRECTED: A View from the Bridge, The Elephant Man, Fool for Love. T.V: Gravity, Law and Order True Crime, Cristela, N.C.I.S, The Defenders, Invasion, The Closer, Angel, N.C.I.S. L.A, Starved, LAX, and 55+ commercials. FILM: Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic (opposite Bill Murray), The Celestine Prophecy, Beau Jest. Founded THE COHEN ACTING STUDIO. Contributing writer to Jon Jory’s handbook: Tips on Auditioning: Ideas for Actors. TRAINING: The Juilliard School. IG: @RobynCohenactingstudio

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Lucy Redmon Connell is so honored to be finishing this year with these vastly different shows! Before landing in DC, Lucy received her BFA in Musical Theatre in the productive year of 2020, and subsequently got really into baking post-graduation. Some of her favorite roles she has played include #25 in The Wolves, Sebastian in The Tempest, and Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls. Lucy would like to thank her cohort members for always having each other’s backs, the deli for many good sandwiches, and the multitude of beverages she has daily. 

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Sarah Cushman is an actor and teaching artist. After graduating with her BA in Theatre Arts from Furman University in 2017, Sarah made her way to Chicago, where she has been based since. Sarah previously played Helicanus in the STC Academy’s Winter production of Pericles and Banquo in the Spring production of Macbeth. She would like to thank her family, friends, and mentors who have helped her come this far, and she looks forward to sharing her work with the world  

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Katie Ganem is from Baltimore and has lived in DC for the past 8 yearsShe studied musical theatre at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY (DKHM ’13!)At STC Academy, she has portrayed LaFew in All’s Well… and Duncan (among others) in MacbethREGIONAL: Through the Fourth Wall: 19 the Musical (World Premiere). Starstuff Theatre Collective: Putnam County Spelling Bee. Fat & Greasy Citizens Brigade: Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged). St. Mark’s Players: Peter and the Starcatcher Katie would like to thank her amazing cohort, Joey, and Lupin for all of their support throughout the year. 

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Selah Kreeger is a NYC & DC based theater artist and filmmaker. They grew up on a mountaintop and it’s unconfirmed whether or not they’re of the fae. Their favorite work includes portraying Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Amy in Little Women, and- AND- a napkin in Beauty & the Beast. Her recent work has taken place under the spires of the STC Academy castle, most notably in the productions of Pericles & Macbeth (and the wielding swords part.) REGIONAL: Mabou Mines: The Laramie Project. LaMaMa: Hoppla, Wir Leben! Breckenridge Backstage Theatre: School of Rock. TRAINING: The New School (BA in Theatre and Psychology).

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Gil Mitchell is a multi-hyphenate artist and educator based out of Washington, DC. He received a Master of Letters in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University, and he has worked for theaters such as the American Shakespeare Center and the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Gil has never worked on productions of Twelfth Night or Measure for Measure before now, but they will be his 13th and 14th Shakespeare plays, and his 16th and 17th productions. He takes his bourbon neat. 

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Jessica Murillo Kemp is a professional actor and has predominantly worked in the Midwest. She is a graduate from the University of Iowa and has studied at the Acting Studio of Chicago and with Chicago based Shakespeare and Chekov acting teacher Susan Hart. REGIONAL (selected): Henry V, The Imaginary Invalid, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Present Laughter, Wonder of the World, Hairspray, Rock of Ages, First Date and Dead Man’s Cell Phone. She is a frequent collaborator with film directors Stephen Folker and Jesse Heisel. As always, love to her parents, sisters and husband Robby.

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THEATRE: STC Academy: Macbeth, Pericles. STC: King Lear, The Taming of the Shrew, Othello, Fortinbras (reading). NEW YORK: The Secret Theatre: Clean Shaven. REGIONAL: Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey: Titus Andronicus, The Diary of Anne Frank. STNJ Shakespeare LIVE Tour: The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet. The Lost Colony: The Lost Colony. Sparta New Jersey Renaissance Faire. PLAYWRIGHT: New York Theatre Festival: Broken Hands (Off-Broadway) TRAINING: University of Michigan (BFA Acting).

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REGIONAL: Shakespeare Theatre Company: King Lear.  Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center: Front Range Fables. EDUCATIONAL: STC Academy: Pericles, Macbeth. University of Denver: Stop Kiss, Fleabag, Orlando, The Wolves, The Christians, Macbeth. OPERA: Carmen. Education: University of Denver (BA in Art History, BA in Italian).

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Kira Simmons is an actress and educator in the DC area and is thrilled to be rounding out her STC Academy experience with all her cohort friends turned family. She hopes to cultivate a career filled with kindness and acceptance as she explores avenues of making the theatre industry more inclusive and accessible for all. Her favorite roles to date include Tilly Evans in She Kills Monsters at Montgomery Playhouse, and Cunningham in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot with the Mason Players of George Mason. She would like to thank all of the incredible people in her life for their love and support, and sincerely hopes her professors have learned a thing or two from her this year (insert cheeky wink emoji here)!

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During her time at the STC Academy, Mallory performed the role of Lady Macbeth in the Spring devised project, and Marina in the Fall rep production of Pericles. Before coming to the Academy, she received training at Michael Howard Studios, The Freeman Studio, and Atlantic Acting School in New York City. Mallory is grateful to the STC Academy faculty and cohort as well as her family and friends for their support and guidance this year. After school, she looks forward to bringing her passion for Shakespeare to the stage and to young minds in the States and abroad. 

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Emma is thrilled to be rounding out her STC Academy year in Measure for Measure and the musical version of Twelfth Night. Prior to her time in DC, Emma completed her undergraduate training at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art – having tackled such comedic and dramatic Shakespearean roles as Helen (All’s Well), Titus Andronicus, King Henry IV, Juliet, and Hamlet. Emma would like to thank her teachers at STC Academy for a marvelous year and her classmates for being there through thick and thin. 

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*Member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA

†AEA membership pending