Clowns, puppeteers, dancers, actors, musicians, and more. Our students have the chance to learn from professional artists in many disciplines.

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Merideth Kaye Clark

Merideth Kaye Clark has played definitive leading theatrical roles nationwide, such as Elphaba in the First National Tour of Wicked, Eva Perón in Evita (Northern Stage), Nancy in Oliver! (5th Ave), and has originated roles in two off-Broadway musicals. Clark is a sought-after concert artist described as "plain astonishing" and "a masterful performer" with "powerhouse pipes." She is a multi-instrumentalist and plays anything with strings, most notably the guitar, dulcimer and viola. Portland credits include: Winter Song (Portland Center Stage); Cathy, The Last Five Years (Portland Center Stage); Tzeitl, Fiddler on the Roof (Portland Center Stage); Clara, Light in the Piazza (Portland Playhouse); Lilli/Kathryn, Kiss Me Kate (Clackamas Rep) as well as her acclaimed concert with Mont Chris Hubbard, Joni Mitchell’s BLUE. Merideth is currently developing new works including the concert Happy Days are Here Again with singer Susannah Mars and the play Tonight Nothing with Katherine Murphy Lewis.


Summer Olsson

Summer is a clown, character actor, and puppeteer who graduated from the Dell' Arte International School of Physical Theatre. By herself, or as half of the clown act Duo Doppio, she has fallen down on stages all over town. She is a producer of the bi-annual Portland Puppet Slam, as well as regular international collaborations. She teaches performing arts disciplines in several places, including acting at Pacific University and circus skills at Echo Theater Co. Summer also daylights as a costume designer and writer. See what she's up to at

Terri McMahon

Terri McMahon has worked for over 25 years as an actress at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR. She has appeared in dozens of plays at prestigious OSF as well as at other regional theaters across the country. She is also a theater director working in universities, major regional theaters and cabarets and has either directed or acted in most all of Shakespeare’s 36 plays. Not only for classical work, she is sought after for new play development as either a director or as an actor and has collaborated with numerous award-winning contemporary playwrights. Terri’s wide-ranging teaching career spans students from third grade arts education to high performance communication seeking professionals. Terri earned her B.F.A. from the University of Southern California

Cil Stengel

Cil Stengel is a teacher and improviser in southern Oregon. She has created original scripts through improvisation through many projects. She was the director and writer of Planned Parenthood’s Teen Theatre for thirteen years, which is when she first met Katherine Lewis (as a teenager!) Currently she teaches improv and acting classes at Rogue Community College in Medford, and performs with an improv group called The Hamazons.


Subashini Ganesan

Subashini Ganesan is the Founder and Executive Director of New Expressive Works (N.E.W.), an organization that celebrates the creative power of diverse professional independent performing artists, by providing critical studio space for artistic research, education, and public performances. Ganesan is a South Asian female immigrant to the USA, contemporary Bharatanatyam dancer, and Artistic Director of Natya Leela Academy. Since 2008 she has been making work that expresses the universal emotional depths present in her form. She has received multiple Regional Arts & Culture Council Grants. She often collaborates with local choreographers Mike Barber (Founder, Ten Tiny Dances) and Michelle Fujii (UNIT SOUZOU). Her works have been showcased at local & regional festivals including PICA’s annual Time-Based Art Festival, Conduit’s Dance+, Ten Tiny Dances Beaverton, NW Folk Life Festival, & the Salem Library's "World of Music."


Lauren Hanover

Instructor Lauren Bloom Hanover has been an actor for over 20 years. She received her MFA from the Alabama Shakespeare Festival where she played the roles of Viola in Twelfth Night, Celia in As You Like It, Virgilia in Coriolanus and Time and Mopsa in The Winter’s Tale. She spent a year studying Shakespeare at Oxford University in England, and wrote her senior thesis at Wesleyan University on female sexuality in Shakespeare’s Problem Comedies. She has taught with many different companies, including the Shakespeare Society in New York, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Marin Shakespeare Company, Profile Theatre and Marin Theatre Company, and has led several workshops and residencies for various theatre companies and educational institutions. She is an adjunct professor at Portland State University. For more information you can view her website,


Cynthia Shur Petts

Cynthia Shur Petts moved to Portland in 2017 after spending many years in Chicago working as an actor, improviser, standup comedian, storyteller and playwright. She is fascinated by the ways traditional theater and standup comedy can intersect and inform each other, and is especially passionate about exploring forms, both conventional and rule-breaking, that amplify women's voices. Cynthia is the co-creator of This One Woman, a comedy and variety showcase where each show is inspired by the life of a different famous woman. It continues to run monthly in Chicago and is a podcast available at Since moving to Portland, Cynthia has acted with Profile Theatre, Anonymous Theatre, and Corrib Theatre, and has embodied various non-human characters created by young writers at PlayWrite, Inc., where she is also a writing coach.

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Eve Johnstone

Eve Johnstone planted her roots in Portland, Oregon after receiving her BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch School of the Art's Experimental Theatre Wing where she trained in Viewpoints, Grotowski, and Post-Modern Choreography. As a multidisciplinary theatre artist she has directed, written, produced, and performed in productions on both coasts as well as in Europe. She is a co-founder of Rutabaga Story Co, a fledgling Portland company that focuses on new, fun, accessible theatre with an emphasis on visual storytelling. She has taught with the In-Between People in New York City, Pascal Theatre Company in London, Northwest Children's Theatre, and with the Columbia Gorge School of Theatre as their Body and Voice Instructor.

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