STC Academy

STC Academy


We have an exciting day today as Kiana Johnson, a student at The Academy for Classical Acting who is also understudying Jessica in THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, will be taking over STC's Instagram! Be sure to follow along for a behind-the-scenes look at classes, rehearsal, and more with Kiana -->
The Academy for Classical Acting Class of 2022 is going way back in the classical canon for their Spring devised show—all the way back to ancient Mesopotamia! Free performances of THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH begin March 24 at The George Washington University and the U.S. National Arboretum. Don't miss this opportunity to watch this amazing group of talented students present their hard work.

RSVP today -->
Shout out to The Academy for Classical Acting alumnae Rachel Felstein and Anna DiGiovanni for creating Her Majesty & Sons and bringing more great Shakespeare to D.C. They just closed their second production and we can't wait to see what's next!
Don't miss today 3 pm Sunday 3/6/22 at KMFA Classical 89.5 for our reading of Agatha Christie's THE HOLLOW. Staged reading with a dozen actors & Bennie Braswell on violin. TKTS with Meredith O'Brien, Robert Deike, Helen Merino, Hannah Rutt, Joe Kelley, Sam Grimes, & Matthew Graham Wagner
Our detective is Andrew Matthews is an actor, writer and director (Austin Shakespeare) A Midsummer Night's Dream at Zilker Hillside Theater and The Seagull at Long Center Most recently, he played Manders in The Gateway Theatre Project's Ghosts. He holds an MFA from The The Academy for Classical Acting.
Playing the mysterious wife is Eliza Renner actor, dancer & outdoor educator. Eliza (Austin Shakespeare) A Midsummer Night's Dream (Peter Quince) and will perform as "Hermia" this May. Previous Collaborators include New Manifest Theatre Company, Rude Mechs (Austin, TX), Physical Plant Theater, Bread and Puppet, and PTP/NYC.
Helyn Rain Messenger (Victoria Craye) is an actor and songwriter from Driftwood, TX. Austin Shakespeare: Thea Elvsted (Hedda), Phebe (As You Like It). She will be playing Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Barton Springs/Zilker park this May. Favorite Austin roles: Tilly in Melancholy Play ( Palindrome Theatre), Dulle Griete in Full Circle ( Mary Moody Northen Theatre at St. Edward's University), Parallel Lives (Trinity Street Players). BFA in acting- St. Edward's
Happy opening to The Academy for Classical Acting Class of 2022 who begin their Fall Reps tonight! All performances are sold out, so please join us in wishing this talented group of students the best 🎭🎉
Since 2000, The Academy for Classical Acting, a one year MFA program in partnership with The George Washington University, has been preparing the next generation of actors through rigorous, immersive training. This year, 20 new students from four countries, twelve states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., have been training in acting, text and voice, mask work, Alexander Technique, stage combat, movement, and more.

Learn more about the ACA -->
🎉Congratulations to The Academy for Classical Acting Class of 2021! Through a year unlike any other these students trained in acting, text and rhetoric, voice and speech, mask, movement, stage combat, and more and produced four radio plays and two live plays. Today they graduate with their MFA and are ready to take the acting world by storm. Please join us in wishing them the best! 🎉
Happy opening to The Academy for Classical Acting Summer Reps! Performances of THE CHERRY ORCHARD and JULIUS CAESAR begin tonight. These are the year-end performances for the Class of 2021 before they graduate in a couple of weeks.
It's going to be a real scorcher this weekend, so why not stay cool inside and listen to The Academy for Classical Acting Class of 2021's Radio Tales. Inspired by a few of their favorite folktales, fairy stories, and oral traditions, these devised works weave together story telling, music, and text for an evening of wonder for the ears.

GRIMM’S TALES, directed by Kate Bryer
WELSH TALES: THE MABINOGIAN, directed by Lisa Beley
TALES FROM THE DECAMERON, directed by Jasmine Rush

Stream now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts -->
Shakespeare Hour Live goes back to school this week with a discussion on Shakespearean training and classical acting in the 21st century with Northwestern University's Shana Cooper, The Old Globe/The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program's Jesse Perez, and The Academy for Classical Acting's Alec Wild.

RSVP -->
Greetings from ACA's Stone Age! Ashley Strand ('01) here. I'm releasing my film, "The Book of Mark," at this Friday, August 14. This solo performance of the unabridged Gospel According to Mark, King James Version, is a Herculean feat of Jacobean text-wrangling, and should be right up ACAers alley. Watch free on August 14 only with the code, "BOMFREE," and half-price on August 15 and 16 with the code, "BOMHALF." There is a large but limited number of passes, so it's first come, first serve. This is as niche as it gets, so I need some help from the home team. Please, watch, share, and promote. Thank you!
After a rousing performance as Actor #14 in Mrs. Davidson's Class presents A Night with Shakespeare ("Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears"), 11-year-old Shannon Lynch went on to play Juliet at the local community college (performance pictured). 📰

Well, I guess some magic and drama are about to happen again... this kid's going back to college at the end of the month! 🎭 The Academy for Classical Acting MFA class of 2021 at The George Washington University

Forsooth, what better time to devote a year of your life to Shakespeare and classical acting than in the midst of a plague? 😷

The country's only one-year MFA in Classical Acting! Training also includes performances in the ACA repertory productions and its Showcases in Washington, D.C.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting (ACA), in conjunction with The George Washington University, offers a Master of Fine Arts degree to develop actors for the classical theatre. Under the guidance of Michael Kahn, Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company and one of this country's most respected acting teachers, the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Cl

Operating as usual


🎶 If we’d open our hearts to each other’s beat, what a wonderful world it could be 🎶

We are so thankful to the audiences who have opened their hearts to our students night after night during the 2023 Summer Repertory season. Both Measure for Measure and our musical version of Twelfth Night have played to sold out crowds of friends, family, and theatre aficionados. ❤️

Congratulations, Class of 2023! What a wonderful world you made for us this year! 🎉

Photos from STC Academy's post 07/15/2023

Barbenheimer, who? 💖🖤

Raise your hand if you’re coming to the real “don’t miss” double feature of the summer! Measure for Measure is on today at 2pm and Twelfth Night is at 7:30pm!


“Even so quickly may one catch the plague?” 😔

Due to an illness in the production team, tonight’s performance of Twelfth Night will NO LONGER TAKE PLACE.

This will only affect TONIGHT’s performance. All other performances will take place AS SCHEDULED!

At this time, all remaining performances of Twelfth Night are sold out and we are working to reschedule this performance. We will share additional details about rescheduling as soon as they are available. In the meantime, know that there will not be a performance this evening.

If you are a ticket holder for tonight’s performance, please check your email inbox for more information about next steps!


“If music be the food of love, PLAY ON!!!” 🎶

Happy Opening to Twelfth Night! 👯

Tickets are going FAST for the Summer Reps! With only 8 performances of each title, most of our weekend showings are sold out and the weekday showings are soon to follow. Don’t miss your chance to see the FIRST EVER MUSICAL in STC Academy history!

Photos from STC Academy's post 07/07/2023

“Who will believe thee, Isabel?”

Can you believe it is opening night for Measure for Measure? Come join us tonight as we kick off the 2023 Summer Repertory season with Shakespeare’s most famous problem play— wrestling with morality, power, and justice!

Link to purchase tickets in bio!

Photos from Shakespeare Theatre Company's post 07/05/2023
Photos from STC Academy's post 07/04/2023

We’re in our Red, White, and Blue for Independence Day! 🇺🇸

Can you guess which looks go with each character? ❤️🤍🩵

Get your tickets to Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure today! Link in bio! 🎟️


Measure for Measure opens on July 7! Get your tickets today! .

Photos from STC Academy's post 06/20/2023

Congratulations to our students Yihong Chen and Gabriel Alejandro for their beautiful, trilingual (English, Mandarin, and Spanish) rendition on the Balcony Scene from Romeo & Juliet. 🌹

These students and two of our alumni, Saron Araia and Emily Erickson, performed as a part of the 2023 Will on the Hill event, where we at Shakespeare Theatre Company invite members of Congress and other Washington VIPS to perform scenes and monologues from Shakespeare's canon. The result is a fun night of theatre and a reaffirmed belief of the importance of the arts as a whole!

Photos from STC Academy's post 06/10/2023

Twelfth Night Twins! 👯‍♀️

Not Viola and Sebastian, but rehearsal photos from our 2018 production of Twelfth Night and our 2023 production of Twelfth Night! At the Academy, we love revisiting some of our favorite titles to see what stands the test of time and what changes we discover with new artists.

Come see double with us this July when you get your tickets to BOTH Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure:


Tickets for Measure for Measure and Twelfth Night are on sale NOW!

You won't want to miss the Class of 2023 in the culminating performance of their time at STC Academy. We are proud to present two beloved Shakespeare titles (and the Academy's very first musical!) in repertory from Friday, July 7th to Saturday, July 22nd in Theatre XX at the George Washington University.


Who will believe thee, Isabel? Exposed to the pernicious desires of a city official with zero tolerance for sin, the devoted novitiate Isabella has nowhere to turn for help in the rough and unholy Vienna. Seemingly alone, she faces an impossible choice: sacrifice her soul, or let her brother die. What will she choose? The MFA candidates of Shakespeare Theater Company Academy lay bare the moral twists and turns of human nature in Shakespeare’s darkly comic exploration of corruption and justice.

Directed by John Miller Stephany


One face, one voice, one habit, and two persons. Wit and foolery reach new heights in this musical retelling of Shakespeare’s raucous romantic comedy. Viola washes up on the shores of Illyria and disguises herself as a man to get a job. She agrees to woo the lady Olivia on her boss's behalf, and it works, but not in the way she intended. Shakespeare Theater Company Academy performs a new twist on this classic love triangle with a contemporary score by Shaina Taub.

Directed by Shanara Gabrielle

Reserve your tickets today!


Snapshots from rehearsal this week! 📸

What's your favorite part of the rehearsal process? We are having tons of fun during table work! 📖

Photos from STC Academy's post 05/13/2023

Rehearsals for the Summer Repertory season are officially underway! 🎭

We are so excited to have directors Shanara Gabrielle and John Miller-Stephany working with us this season! They have been leading our actors through diving deep into Measure for Measure and learning the music and choreography for our first ever musical, Shania Taub’s Twelfth Night!


We are excited to announce our 2023 Summer Repertory season!

Twelfth Night, a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, conceived by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub, music and lyrics by Shaina Taub. Directed by Shanara Gabrielle.

Measure for Measure, directed by John Miller-Stephany

Both shows will be performed in rotating repertory July 7-22, 2023 in Theatre XX at George Washington University.

Tickets on sale soon!

Photos from STC Academy's post 03/17/2023

“We have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?” 🗡️

Congratulations to the Class of 2023 on their sold out run of Macbeth this past weekend. Stay tuned for more information about our summer repertory performances to come soon!


🌟ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Natalie Cutcher! 🌟

2019 Academy alum Natalie Cutcher is featured in this week’s issue of the GW Hatchet. Natalie serves as the Director of Education for the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, and the article discusses her work as she helps shape the next generation of actors in addition to her creative projects.

Click the link below to read read all about Natalie, her time at the Academy, and what she is up to now:

We love to hear from our alums! If you have exciting news or projects to share, please message us so we can celebrate together. 🎉


something wicked this way comes…

Reserve your tickets for Macbeth today. Link in bio!



Emma Wirthwein (also known as Emily to anyone who knew her before she graduated from college) likes to do all the things that people would usually say she can’t.

When not stressing out at The Academy, she can often be found playing Apex Legends, Elden Ring, or Animal Crossing.

Emma studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and graduated from New York University.

She also has the ambition to play every major male and female role in Shakespeare, because in her opinion anything a man can do, she can do better! Luckily, she has already played Helena, Juliet, King Henry IV, Titus Andronicus, and Hamlet (which she definitely needs another crack at) so she is well on her way to making that happen!

She looks forward to kicking ass and taking names whenever the opportunity presents itself, and she most certainly plans on doing just that.



At a young age, Mallory fell in love with Shakespeare when attending a performance of Romeo and Juliet at a Globe Theatre replica in West Texas. She officially caught the acting bug while doing theater in high school.

Acting became a daydream while she studied Classical Vocal Performance as an undergrad and then moved to New York City where she worked for eight years in film post-production. When time allowed, she took acting classes, growing ever more jealous of her acting peers who were consistently working on their craft.

The pandemic heightened her longing for the stage which led her ultimately to leave her career and seek formal training in classical theater at the Academy.

Because theater and Shakespeare have impacted her life for the better, she aims to be a contributing member of the classical theater community in the states and abroad, both as an actor and as a teacher, with a focus on helping to make Shakespeare accessible and fun for all.

In her free time, Mallory can be found listening to pop culture podcasts, traveling abroad with friends (her next dream trip is the Lofoten Islands in Norway), exploring nature, drinking too much coffee, and hunting dinosaurs with her nephews.

She feels incredibly lucky to be a part of the STC Academy community and looks forward to growing alongside the magical humans of the '23 cohort, honing the skills and resilience necessary for a sustainable, authentic, and fulfilling life as an artist.



Kira has been in Hamlet three times. Kira will continue to be in productions of Hamlet until she in fact plays Hamlet, and even then, she'll probably always want to revisit Shakespeare's fictitious Denmark again and again throughout her life.

She is from the Chantilly, Virginia area, and loves her friends and family with her whole heart.

She was drawn to the Academy by her love of classical theatre, and the ways in which their stories of the human experience transcend time. She hopes to explore this professionally through creating theatre that is inclusive and accessible for all!



Rachel Sanderson is from a tiny tourist trap in Colorado. She received her BA in Art History and Italian from the University of Denver in 2022. Studying the late Gothic and early Renaissance periods in Italy, she realized that she just can’t leave antiquity behind.

She has been lucky to be apart of many productions in her undergraduate years, including The Wolves ( #00), How I Learned to Drive (Li’l Bit), Fleabag, Stop Kiss (Callie), and most recently, The Crone in Colorado Opera’s Carmen.

Ray loves to cook and bake, take photos with a thrifted film camera, and boo her classmates when they mispronounce Italian words. Her tried-and-true coffee order is a vanilla americano with half and half.

She is SO happy to be in DC with the cohort, to be receiving formal training, and is incredibly eager to see what this year has to offer!



Gabriel Alejandro is a Puerto Rican actor who loves traveling, pineapples, and Glenn Close.

He holds a B.A. in Drama from the University of Puerto Rico and a M.A.T. in Special Education from New York University. Though his proudest achievement is his color-coded closet. He also trained as an improviser at University El Bosque in Bogotá, Colombia. Now he can complain about the DC weather in a different accent.

He has been very fortunate to perform in Puerto Rico, Washington DC, Colombia, Greece, and Denmark.

He's very excited to join the Academy at STC this year and hopes to gather a well of knowledge that will help him finish writing his IPA song: "Schwa, Schwa, Real Smooth."



Jackson was born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit. He attended the University of Michigan, receiving his BFA in Acting. It was in this program, thanks to his dedicated professors, that he found his love for Shakespeare and other classical works. His first production was "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in his sophomore year, as a fairy, followed by "The Comedy of Errors" his junior year, as Egeon.

After graduating, he moved to New York City, and has gone on to work at various theatre companies across the east coast. This includes the Shakespeare Theatre Company, where he spent many months as an acting fellow, and saw his first glimpse of what the Academy can do for an actor's skill.

In the spring of 2017, Jackson met an actress, named Lindsay, in a stage combat class. They both maintain that the minute they said hello, it was "love at first fight." In fall of 2021, the two actors got married.

Pre-pandemic, Jackson began pursuing playwriting. He produced his first original play, "Broken Hands," in 2019. During the pandemic, he continued to write, and is currently writing his first installment of a fantasy novel series.

Jackson hopes to embolden his love for Shakespeare during his time at the Academy. He looks forward to every day he gets to read those words that make him feel like a complete person. He is excited to accompany his wife in London next year, joining her while she completes her graduate program. He would like to thank his wife, Lindsay, his parents,Tracey and Bob, his in-laws, Ruth and Keith, and the rest of his many family and friends. Love you all, and Go Blue!


Make the bold choice to dive deeper into your craft and join the STC Academy! 🎭

The in-person audition dates for the STC Academy Class of 2024 are here! Use the link in our bio to complete your application and schedule your audition time today. 🗓

Can’t make it to an in-person date? We accept self-taped video submissions as well! 🎬

Click the link in our bio for more information on the application and audition process or email your questions to our Academy Coordinator, Emily Whittaker, at [email protected]

Photos from STC Academy's post 11/10/2022

In honor of STC Academy Director Alec Wild’s birthday, our cohort surprised us by arriving for class dressed as Mr. Wild! 🥳

Which acting teacher or mentor has inspired you? Tell us about them in the comments! 🎉



Jessica Murillo is originally from Iowa City and has been working professionally in the midwest. After performing predominantly in musical theatre and on camera work, she is excited to return to her first love, classical theatre.

Outside of class, Jessica can be found practicing her lead hook in the boxing gym, drinking a good cup of light roast coffee, reading any non-fiction book she can get her hands on or spending time with her forever date and most attractive voiceover artist in existence

Jessica is excited to tell classical stories to new contemporary audiences and is always in the mood to make an audience laugh. She is excited and grateful to spend her time in DC growing as an actress and more importantly a person, while being immersed in the study of classical theatre.



Gil Mitchell identifies as an actor, director, and fight choreographer. He has a Master of Letters in Shakespeare and performance and a BA in performing arts from Mary Baldwin University.

While there, worked as a fight choreographer and journeyman actor for two MFA theatre companies, and as an assistant director, fight choreographer, and acting fellow at the American Shakespeare Center.

He has also served as a consulting producer and choreographer for the Hyperion Shakespeare Company, and is well versed in both stage combat, and contemporary circus arts, which he trained at the Musik og Teaterhøjskolen in Toftlund, Denmark.

In his free time, he enjoys mixing drinks, pontificating on the fleeting nature of life, and fencing. ⚔️



Selah grew up on a mountaintop in Colorado and it is unconfirmed whether or not she’s of the fae folk.

Selah Kreeger is an NYC based theater artist and filmmaker. They are currently pursuing an MFA with the Shakespeare Theater Company via GW. Selah earned her BA studying theatre, psychology, and film production at The New School. Her interests in acting & directing began in the theatre, and have since evolved into work for both stage and screen.

Selah is interested in work and a process that challenges precedents, elevates untold stories, and amplifies quieted voices. Storytelling is how Selah makes sense of the world around her, and exploring the human condition is how they seek to further that understanding.



Katie Ganem is grateful and excited to be a part of this year’s Academy cohort. Although originally from Baltimore, Katie has been a District resident for the past 7 years.

She first fell in love with theatre when she was in preschool and accidentally saw the Les Miserables concert on PBS (her Les Mis themed 5th birthday party was a big hit among her friends).

Katie studied musical theater at Nazareth College in Rochester (DKHM13!). She has been a nanny, a teaching artist for Imagination Stage, and a professional pirate in the Inner Harbor.

In the DMV, she has worked as a performer, director, and playwright with a variety of organizations including Avant Bard, Red Branch Theatre Co, St. Mark’s Players, and Fat and Greasy Citizens Brigade.

She has a passion for Shakespeare and Sondheim, as well as the development of new plays. Pre-covid, she played the role of Alice Paul in a 2 year long workshop process of 19 the Musical, a new show about the passage of the women’s suffrage amendment. As part of the development process, she got to perform all over DC in places such as the DAR Museum, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

In 2021, she released her first album, Smart: Katie Ganem Sings Charlie Barnett, which you can listen to on Spotify.

Katie loves sewing historically inspired costumes, crocheting, watching animated movies, reading every single plaque in museums, playing cozy video games, and cuddling with her husband and their dog, Lupin.



Sarah Cushman was born and raised in Aiken, SC. After throwing herself into her community theatre's youth wing, she decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in Theatre Arts, graduating from Furman University in 2017. Throughout her undergraduate years, Sarah began her career as a theatre educator, and she has now worked as a teaching artist in South Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, and Illinois.

She moved to Chicago, IL shortly after leaving undergrad, where over the last five years she continued her independent education, auditioned endlessly, taught, stopped teaching, started teaching again, adopted a dog and a cat, and got married.

She loves spending any spare time she has playing ukulele or guitar, going out for karaoke, dreaming of getting her Swiss citizenship and leaving the country, or baking endlessly.

Sarah is eternally grateful for the mentors in her life who encouraged her to pursue an education in Shakespeare performance, and she’s supremely looking forward to immersing herself in an art she loves while simultaneously immersing her classmates in baked goods.

When asked what her goals after grad school were, Ms. Cushman said she wanted to "get paid for doing theatre and not be treated like garbage." She was not joking.



Born and raised outside of Philadelphia, Lucy Connell was told at a young age to learn something about everything. That idea has led her through life with eyes wide, heart open, and ready to learn. With a passion for creating and telling stories, this helped Lucy find her home in the theatre.

Coming to the Academy at STC is a dream come true to pursue knowledge of Shakespeare while developing skills in the art of theatre!

Other things she enjoys include the color yellow, her cats Popcorn and Pringles, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. ☕️



Robyn earned her BFA from The Juilliard School and is delighted to be part of STC’S MFA program with such a fantabulous group of collaborators!

As an actor, Robyn starred opposite Jeff Goldblum in “The Exonerated,” “Seminar," and “The Prisoner of Second Avenue,” and performed in the west coast premiere of Neil LaBute's play, "The Shape of Things.” Most recently she co-starred in John Patrick Shanley’s world premiere of “Drop Off.”

Robyn’s also been onstage with: The Actors Theatre of Louisville, Lincoln Center, The Ford's Theater (D.C.), The Geffen Playhouse, Great Lakes Theatre, The Garry Marshall Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Paper Mill Playhouse, North Coast Rep., Delaware Rep., Goodspeed Opera House, Bucks County Playhouse, North Shore Music Theatre, The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and in the National Tour of the Broadway musical, “Cabaret.”

As a director she’s helmed such productions as: “A View from the Bridge,” “Tape,” “The Elephant Man,” “Fool For Love,” “Hello Out There,” “Some Girls” and “Drowning” at the Edinburgh Fringe.

In Television, Robyn starred on “Gravity" for Starz and “That Guy” for FOX, and has also been seen on "Law and Order True Crime," "Cristela," "N.C.I.S.," "The Defenders," "Invasion," "The Closer," "Angel," "The Strand," "N.C.I.S. L.A.," "Starved," "LAX," and 55+ national commercials.

Some of her Film credits include Wes Anderson's "The Life Aquatic" (opposite Bill Murray), “The Celestine Prophecy" (based on the NY Times bestseller), "Beau Jest,” "Road Hard" (with Adam Carolla) and the cult thriller, “ZZYZX.”

Robyn founded THE COHEN ACTING STUDIO in Burbank, CA., and is a contributing writer to Jon Jory’s handbook, “Tips on Auditioning: Ideas for Actors.”

She enjoys hiking with her partner and keeping their kitten satisfied. She’s a certified trapeze performer, and (for some unknown reason!) can throw a perfect spiral.

Let’s Play!



I am Yihong Chen, a bilingual (Mandarin and English) and multidisciplinary artist who loves acting, directing, and dancing! My artistic journey started with my TV show directing experiences in Shanghai, China. I directed six popular TV shows that almost everyone in China knew, including "The Voice of China" and "Street Dance of China."

The one thing I am most proud of is that I’ve gotten my very first leading role in a play when I’ve no acting training and experience at all. I was the only cast member who didn’t graduate from a prestigious acting school.

I grew up with people telling me that I was not pretty enough and talented enough to become an actor, therefore I have never imagined myself becoming a professional actor, or even a Chinese actor acting Shakespeare in the United States. I have seen so many people looking down on me just because of the way I look: petite, shy, and weak. But as soon as they saw my performance, I could see the change in those people’s eyes. Through acting, I found both my value and my power as a person and an artist. I may be a cat 🐱 offstage but I can be a tiger🐯 on stage!

Now, I've been acting in both China and the United States for years. My very existence proves that nothing is impossible.

Many people have asked me, “why are you so happy all the time? And my secret is finding positivity every day in everyone and everything. My artistic goal is to bring encouragement to the lost souls and a little bit of sunshine into this world. ☀️

We are so glad Yihong is a part of our Class of 2023!



Colton Chaney is a recent graduate of Bennington College and is ecstatic to continue his pursuit of theatre at the Academy at STC.

His favorite roles have been Judas from the Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Cliff from Cabaret.

He loves science fiction and fantasy and is always striving to create the next epic tale.

Drop a 👋 in the comments to say “hey” to Colton!



Catie Carlisle was born in San Antonio, Texas where she performed in several theaters as an actor, director, and writer. While plugging away at her degree she worked as a Firefighter/EMT. She received a degree in Theater and Dance and later attended the University of Texas at San Antonio to receive a degree in Communication.

Some of her acting credits include Jira in the combat heavy serial Rift Riders at The Overtime Theatre, Virginia in Nevermore at The Roxy Theatre, Emily in Our Town at the McAllister Theater, and Anna in A Bright New Boise at The Public Theater of San Antonio. Along with plays, she participated in Improv theatre with The Denials as well as several dance performances. She worked at the Magik Theatre as a teacher and director and has written over 20 short children’s plays. Through the Magik Theatre and Center Stage PossABILITIES, Catie had the opportunity to direct a cast of 12 children with special needs (abilities).

After moving to New York City, she joined Circus Warehouse where she was able to train in Lyra, Flying Trapeze, dance, and stretch. While training she worked with several Broadway and off-Broadway theaters in positions such as Audio and Front of House. Her most recent work includes writing and directing a full production of her script, 100 Days, with Scantic River Productions, hosting a reading of her script, That Night, at Matthew Corozine Studio Theatre, and is currently working with The Overtime Theater to produce her script, Overlap, which is slated for November 2022. It is her hope to make creative pieces that are inclusive and accessible embracing various forms of diversity. She is excited for the wonderful learning opportunities that this program will provide.

Please join us in welcoming Catie to the Class of 2023! 🎭



Geoffrey Besser is a native of New York City who discovered his passion for acting and, particularly, singing at a young age. Interested in creating positive change in the world, Geoffrey discovered the personal and political power that theatre could have while performing in The Laramie Project as a high school sophomore. It was this experience that convinced Geoffrey of the transformational power of art and performance as a means of both personal and societal healing and evolution.

After receiving his Bachelor's in History from Brown University, Geoffrey dedicated himself to performing theatre in new, interesting, and aesthetically adventurous ways. His first theatrical experience after college was a performance of King Lear in an abandoned Revolutionary-War era Fort in his home borough of Staten Island. He went on tour a five-actor production of Hamlet to various high schools in the New England region while teaching Shakespeare and Storytelling to grades four and above as a Resident Artist with the Shakesperience theatre company. Geoffrey went on to play Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with Spectrum Theatre Ensemble, a neuro-diverse theatre company dedicated to creating an inclusive theatre space for neurodiverse artists and audiences. He has also enjoyed performing in various immersive productions such as Underland, an immersive Halloween experience based off of Alice in Wonderland produced by Ten31 Productions in Rhode Island, where he appeared as the Mad Hatter.

Geoffrey is incredibly excited to be performing in person once again. He has truly missed the stage with a passion, and he hopes you will join him in enjoying the magic of theatre and film now that it can be produced safely.

Join us in welcoming Geoffrey to the STC Academy! 🎉


Meet the STC Academy Class of 2023! 🌟

Our artists have spent the first few weeks of the semester diving into their craft. We'll be spending the next few weeks getting to know each of our MFA Candidates, so be sure to check in each week to learn more about this talented cohort.

Drop a 👋 in the comments below to say, "Hey!" to the Class of 2023!


We are very sorry to report that due to COVID cases in the company, the Academy Repertory shows are canceled for the rest of the run. Thank you for your support!

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Our Story

A rigorous and immersive one-year MFA program that includes acting, voice, rhetoric, text, movement, mask, the Alexander Technique, stage combat, clown, as well as dramatic literature, script analysis, and theatre history, the ACA offers a unique training structure that serves as an incubator for fully developed classical actors and theatre makers.

The ACA actor training is fully immersive and very intense. Our candidates work specifically on their craft, every hour of each working day, without the distractions of undergrad teaching assistantships, work study, part-time jobs, or supernumerary assignments. Our training is for actors hungry to get pushed hard - it's intensive training with a passionate faculty who are interested in nothing but the craft of acting: heightened language, dynamic stakes, and a muscular physical and emotional life centered around the greatest and most powerful plays in the English language.

At ACA, we don't wish to train the actors of tomorrow for the theatre of yesterday. Actors leave our program ready to help define Shakespearean performance in America for the next generation. We believe that this kind of training requires full immersion and commitment, and that actors who can meet the demands of performing classical texts can perform anything.

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2129 G Street NW, Rear , Bldg L
Washington D.C., DC
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