Contact Us

Theatricum Botanicum
1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.                                                                 
Topanga, CA 90290                                                                                  
(310) 455-2322 main office
(310) 455-3724 fax
(310) 455-3723 box office
Ellen Geer, Artistic Director
Kathy Nixon, Managing Director  Ext. 307
Susan Angelo, Education Director
Marketing Coordinator, xt. 304
Ian Flanders,Graphic-Sound Design and more  Ext. 221
Melissa Crandall, Office Manager- Education Assistant-Social Media Director Ext. 227
Elizabeth Tobias, School Programs Director/Classroom Enrichment Ext. 300

Christine Breihan, School Days Program Manager Etx.229

Wendy Stackhouse, Adult Programs Manager Ext. 222
Cindy Kania-Guastaferro, Youth Programs Manager  Ext. 228
Carolyn Wright, High School Programs Manager   Ext. 301
Elisa Schultz-Richardson, Young People’s Program Manager  Ext. 305
Producer Ext. 226
Jonathan Blandino, Acting Internship Program Coordinator Ext. 306
 Box Office Manager  Ext. 230/231              
Jackie Banks-Mahlum Co-Producer
Jennie Webb, Playwrights’ Development Director                                  
Lucy Pollak, Media Relations - Repertory Season

THEATRICUM STAFF                                                                                                                                       


            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” award.



           SUSAN ANGELO developed and oversees Theatricum Botanicum’s Academy of the Classics and Classroom Enrichment programs, serving as many as over 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.


            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.  He organized the Off-The-Grid Improvisational Group that performs monthly at the theater to help us raise funds.



            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.


            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 photographer.  Victoria 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 live theatre.


                 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 Zorro, in collaboration with Zorro Productions, Inc.  


            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 children’s literature.


            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.


            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).


            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.




  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 film.


            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.

Mailing Address:

Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum
PO Box 1222
Topanga, CA  90290




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