- 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.
- Topanga, CA 90290
- (310) 455-2322
- (310) 455-3724
- (310) 455-3723
Ellen Geer, Artistic Director
- Susan Angelo,
Marketing Coordinator, xt. 304
- Ian Flanders,Web-Graphic-Sound
Matt van Winkle,
Education Assistant-Social Media Director Ext. 227
Christine Breihan, School Days
Program Manager Etx.229
Adult Programs Manager
- Cindy Kania-Guastaferro,
Youth Programs Manager
High School Programs Manager
- Elisa Schultz-Richardson,
Young People’s Program
Acting Internship Program Coordinator
Box Office Manager Ext.
Jackie Banks-Mahlum Co-Producer
- Jennie Webb,
Playwrights’ Development Director
- Lucy Pollak,
- Repertory Season
ELLEN GEER has been Artistic Director
for the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum since 1978.
When she and her dad worked
together at a regional theater, they would traditionally build a gardens
of plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays, hence our “Theatricum
Botanicum – Theater of Plants”.
She guided the theatre from a Sunday afternoon workshop to a
professional repertory theatre company with a negotiated Actors Equity
Contract. Ms. Geer has
produced and directed over 40 productions including the works of
Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Chekhov, Thornton Wilder and the
classics of Greek literature.
She created the Academy of the Classics in 1976, which now houses
our Intensive Shakespeare Seminar, Scene Study and Teen classes and a
Youth Drama Camp. She helped
develop School Days, a field trip for young people which serves over
8,000 Los Angeles school children each spring.
She co-developed Classroom Enrichment, which takes our
actor/teachers into classrooms working along with the teachers to help
the students perform the roles in selected Shakespearean plays.
In addition to her work in film
and television (Harold and Maude, Patriot Games, Clear and Present
Danger, to name a few), she is a graduate Professor of classical acting
at UCLA’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television.
She has received numerous awards for her work at Theatricum and
in the community including a Los Angeles County “Woman of the Year”
SUSAN ANGELO developed
and oversees Theatricum Botanicum’s Academy of the Classics and
Classroom Enrichment programs, serving
as many as
20,000 children, teens and adults each year. She developed teacher
training for Theatricum’s education programs as well as Professional
Development courses for teachers, specifically related to teaching
Shakespeare and heightened language classics. She has directed and
taught Shakespeare for over twenty-five years at hundreds of Los Angeles
public and private schools, and she guest teaches at many colleges
including NYU, UCLA, and Cal Lutheran University. As a teacher, 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 most of Shakespeare’s ingénues
and leading ladies; directed countless Shakespearean plays for young
people as well as main stage productions in Theatricum’s professional
repertory season. Other regional credits include leading roles at A
Noise Within, American Players Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre,
Pittsburgh Public, Indiana Repertory, Syracuse Stage, New York Actors
Ensemble, New York’s Blue Herron, as well as many film and television
roles. She earned her BFA from Cal Arts and MFA from George Washington
University and The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC.
GENERAL MANAGER/ IT, WEB, GRAPHIC & SOUND DESIGN
IAN FLANDERS has been a member of the
Theatricum acting company for most of his life, and worked
administratively in many different capacities; as a Board member, Office
Manager, Grounds Manager, Photographer, Computer/IT consultant, Sound
designer, General trouble-shooter and is currently on our Marketing
Team, and in charge of our Website and Graphic Design department.
He organized the Off-The-Grid
Improvisational Group that performs monthly at the theater to help us
MATT VAN WINKLE graduated from Oberlin
College in 2001 and has been the Office Manager/Educational Programs
Assistant at Theatricum since January 2007.
In addition, he has performed on stage in repertory productions,
held several technical roles and managed facility rentals.
He has recently taken on social media and marketing tasks, and
has organized some special concert and grass-roots fundraising events.
BOXOFFICE/ HOUSE MANAGER
VICTORIA HILYARD is a member of the
Theatricum acting company, House Manger and Marketing & Special Events
Coordinator. She’s a
graduate of the California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor
of Arts in Radio-TV-Film production.
She’s worked in a variety of capacities in both theatre and
documentary film making as stage manager, assistant director and
production coordinator, and she was a founder and Senior Managing Editor
of Buzzine, an international entertainment magazine where she regularly
contributed as a feature writer, film and music reviewer and
studied classical theater under the mentorship of Ellen Geer, Susan
Angelo and other teachers in the Theatricum’s Academy of the Classics.
In the last 5 years she has helped to organize the theater’s
special events and fundraisers.
As a Marketing Coordinator, she is developing new ways to connect
with guests and patrons, and to bring new audiences to the classics and
MICHAEL PRICE NELSON is a graduate of the University of
Minnesota (Minneapolis) where he was active in local theater, including
The Tyrone Guthrie Theater. His background includes advertising copy
writing and TV production, most notably for Ringling Bros. Barnum &
Bailey and Disney's World on Ice), Walt Disney Television, and most
recently he's served as Marketing Director and Box Office Manager for
L.A. Theatre Works. Michael is a published journalist and children's
theater playwright, having written 12 commissioned plays for Birmingham
Children's Theater, including
in collaboration with Zorro Productions, Inc.
SCHOOL PROGRAMS DIRECTOR/ GRANT MANAGER
ELIZABETH TOBIAS has a BA from UCLA’s
School of Theatre, Film and Television and a degree from UCLA’s Graduate
School of Education. She has
both taught and administrated for Serendipity Children’s Theatre,
S.T.A.R., The Powerhouse, The Actors’ Gang and Theatricum, working with
children age 5-18.
Specializing in Comemdia dell’arte, movement driven character work, and
voice, Ms. Tobias directs and teaches a variety of techniques.
She has Professional Designation in Arts Education from the L.A.
County Arts Commission and writes curriculum, lesson plans, and grants
for a variety of arts programs.
She has produced film and theatre, and as an actress, has
performed professionally at Theatricum, Pasadena Playhouse, The Getty
Villa and others. Her many
television and film appearances include Entourage, 7th Heaven, and NYPD
Blue. Ms. Tobias is
Co-Artistic Director of Creative PlayGround, a company of adult,
professional actors presenting interactive adaptations of classic
YOUTH PROGRAMS MANAGER
CYNTHIA KANIA-GUASTAFERRO has been
Theatricum’s Youth Programs Manager for the last 8 years.
She received her MFA in theatre from the University of Southern
California, studying with John Houseman, Nina Foch, and Charles
Marowitz. She also teaches a
variety of classes including Language & Rhetoric, Voice, Monologues,
Elizabethan Dance, and Improvisation.
She has taught and directed young people extensively in the L A
area for over 30 years including Young Actors Workout, Hothouse Improv,
TVI, Teen Age Drama Workshop at Cal State Northridge, as well as private
and onset coaching. As an
actress, Cindy worked as a Theatricum company member, as well as
originating roles in the LA premieres of such plays as Edmond, Women
Behind Bars, and Bleacher Bums.
In film and TV, she has worked with Francis Coppola, David Mamet,
Tom Hanks, Jackie Gleason, and Michael Apted.
Cindy and her husband, actor Vincent Guastaferro, run their own
acting school, The Sport of Acting, in Burbank.
HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAMS MANAGER
CAROLYN MARIE WRIGHT is an Arts
Education enthusiast and holds an M.F.A. in Acting from UCLA, an M.A. in
Educational Theater from NYU, and a B.A. in Performance & Playwriting
from Yale. She has performed
and taught for over ten years throughout Chicago, Los Angeles, and NYC.
This is Carolyn's fourth season with Theatricum, and her first
year as High School Programs Manager.
She teaches with the Youth Academy, Classroom Enrichment, and
Camp. She is a current cast
member in Theatricum's Measure for Measure and Off the Grid improv
troupe. Carolyn also
performs regularly with The Second City Hollywood.
As a teacher, some of Carolyn’s credits include UCLA’s School of
Theater, Film and TV, The Story Pirates, Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall
Gang Camp (CT), Yale Children’s Theater (CT), New Victory Theater (NYC),
MCC Theater (NYC), and Theater Development Fund (NYC).
YOUNG PEOPLE’S PROGRAM MANAGER
ELISA RICHARDSON has trained in London
with RADA and holds an MFA in Acting from Rutgers University under the
direction of William Esper.
She received her undergraduate degree from Whittier College where she
attended on a vocal music scholarship.
Elisa is also certified in Armed and Unarmed combat by both the
Society of British Fight Directors and the Society of American Fight
Directors. She teaches and
directs theatre for Inside-Out Community Arts, Inner-City Arts, the
Center Theatre Group’s P.L.A.Y. program, Upstage Theatre Schools,
Knightsbridge Theatre and La Canada Jr. Theatre.
In addition, she also created the Spectrum Drama Program at New
Roads High School and co-founded the Young Actors Workshop in New
Jersey. Elisa has been a
company member at the Theatricum for the past ten years and has been the
Program Manager for the Young Peoples’ Camp for the past seven years.
Theatre credits include: South Coast Repertory Theatre’s world
premiere of Safe in Hell where she created the role of Little Mary. Her
credits include: Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Juliet in Romeo
and Juliet, Ophelia in Hamlet, Daisy Mae in Li’l Abner, Emily Webb in
Our Town and Eliante in Le Misthantrope.
Some film and television credits include “Days of Ours Lives”,
“Guiding Light” and Fox Searchlab’s Delusion; which received acclamation
at both the Palm Beach and Beverly Hills Film Festival.
ADULT PROGRAMS MANAGER
D. J. HARNER has been Adult Academy
Programs Manager at Theatricum Botanicum since 2006.
She has an extensive background in public relations and
marketing, handling staff positions or freelance assignments for such
organizations as the Los Angeles Times, Hanna Barbara Productions, the
Los Angeles Children’s Museum and dozens of other entertainment, product
and service clients. An
award-winning actress and producer, she has appeared in more than 50
theater productions, garnering Los Angeles critics’ awards or
nominations for The Traveling Lady, Nightbreath, Roads to Home, The
Quality of Light, The Clean House, Grace and Glorie, Eric LaRue and
Eleemosynary which she co-produced and received 16 different critics'
choices awards, including the LA Drama Critics Circle's Outstanding
Production of the Year. She has
performed at the Theatricum in shows such as Dracula, Macbeth, and
Julius Caesar, as well as in numerous readings for Botanicum Seedlings.
In addition to co-starring roles in several TV series, her
credits include more than a dozen independent films, and she recently
received the Milan International Film Festival’s “best actress in a
SAMARA FRAME is an actress and
Theatricum company member who received her Bachelor’s degree in Theatre
from Northwestern University with specialized training in education.
In Chicago, she worked as a professional mime and studied under
Marcel Marceau. At the
Theatricum, she works with our interns, creating and coordinating each
of their personal education programs and performances.
She also teaches Classroom Enrichment, Classics Off The Page,
Schools Days and in our Youth Drama Camp.
She also works with other educational programs, including Musical
Theatre for Kids, A Creative Space and Creative Playground.
She works with all ages, from Kindergarten Creative Drama, to
adult acting classes, and is active in the Los Angeles theatre
community, performing regularly on stage as well as in television and
SEEDLINGS PROGRAM DIRECTOR & LITERARY MANAGER
JENNIE WEBB is an independent Los
Angeles playwright whose plays have been presented on stages throughout
the U.S. and internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Her works have been published by Heinemann Press and
International Centre for Women Playwrights.
She is a member of the LA-based Rogue Machine Theatre, the
Playwrights Union, co-founder of the LA Female Playwrights Initiative
(LA FPI). For her work
supporting new plays and playwrights, she was chosen to receive a 2010
Women in Theatre Red Carpet Award.
Her involvement with new play development programs including
A.S.K Theater Projects, The Playwrights Center in Minneapolis and the
Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights led her to create "Botanicum
Seedlings: A Development Series for Playwrights" after she was
commissioned and named playwright-in-residence by Theatricum Botanicum
in 2001. To date, Seedlings
has nurtured over 75 established and emerging playwrights (nearly 100
plays), and has been instrumental in the development of works that have
gone on to win awards and receive major productions across the country.
KIM CAMERON is back for her fifth
season at Theatricum, this year as both Stage Manager and Company
Manager. She graduated from
Beloit College in Wisconsin, majoring in Theater and Economics
Management. She creates
order out of chaos in the world of theatre, opera, film, television, and
events. She’s worked as
stage manager at Victory Gardens Theatre and the Lyric Opera in Chicago,
Assistant Director on several independent films, Venue Stage Manager in
Salt Lake City for the 2002 Olympics, and Project Coordinator for
Thinkwell Design and The Hettema Group.
She is currently in the process of adding “lawyer” to her
repertoire, at Concord Law School.
Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum
PO Box 1222