Originally from Padua, Paola has the distinction of being one of 40 students in the 50-year history of the École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq to have been certified as a pedagogical specialist under the direction of Lecoq himself.
In her theatre career, she has worked as an artistic director, producer, actress, and teacher in England, Scotland, Spain, France, Israel, the United States, and Italy. She has more than 20 years experience leading international theatre companies in the areas of producing, directing, acting and teaching a movement-based, physical approach to theater creation.
Paola is a certified personal trainer and the founder of the gym Linea e Sport, where she trained athletes for competition. In Italy, she also founded the cultural arts organization Fantàsia, where she hosted workshops and seminars dedicated to the research of art, theatre and self-development. This organization developed into the international theatre company and the school Kìklos Teatro, which she co-founded with Giovanni Fusetti. The school was awarded the Gemini d’Oroaward for Best Show at the ROMA TEATRO Festival’ for Italian Theatre Schools.
She is founder and artistic director of Holon Productions s.a.s, an Italian-based organization that develops creative multi-media entertainment.
Paola also holds a degree in Classical Studies from Liceo Tito Livio, a master's in architecture, design & textile work from Istituto Statale d’Arte Pietro Selvatico, and a certification as a personal trainer from the A.C.L.I. Unione Sportiva in Venice. She has studied the holistic practice of art therapy in theater, painting, and sculpture at the Centro Studi di Filosofia Acquariana in Milan and was certified as a bodywork professional in massage and nutrition balance under the direction of Baba Bedi. Paola has also collaborated with Studio Centro Consulting as a former business coach for Italian executives.
Upon relocating to Chicago in 2004, she established the American theater affiliate Holon Productions LLC. Since then, Paola has created a wide net of collaboration in teaching and directing, as well, partnering with universities such as DePaul University, Northwestern University, Columbia College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and theater companies such as Redmoon, Palasticine, and 500 Clown.
In 2012 she founded The School for Theatre Creators, where she leads a team of teachers with a wide diversity of experience in acting, directing and writing. The School for Theatre Creators has now found its new home in Los Angeles, California.
Ned is a performing artist from San Francisco, CA. He has attended many fine institutions and has even graduated from some: École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in France, California College of the Arts in Oakland, CA, and the London Academy of Dramatic Art, in England, to name a few. In addition to his extensive education, Ned has performed both nationally and internationally as a solo artist and as a member of many fine ensembles. He is a founding member of Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey and a member of the Actors' Gang in Los Angeles. He is very pleased to be joining the faculty after completing the third pedagogical year at The School.
Brett Hershey is an AMSAT-certified Alexander Technique Instructor and Consultant in Los Angeles specializing in psychophysical re-education. He earned a B.A. from Williams College in 1994 and Alexander Technique certification from ATI-LA in 2008. Brett is highly effective at decreasing discomfort and pain while increasing performance quality and charisma. His passion: to dissolve all that is in the way of performers connecting with themselves, characters and audience. In addition to his private practice and consulting work, Brett is an Adjunct Professor of Theater at Relativity School, Director of the Healthy Back program at UCLA and on staff at the John Rosenfeld Studios.
Sarah is a a writer and performer with an MFA in Ensemble Devised Physical Theatre from the London International School of the Performing Arts, in the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq. She has taught movement at the William Inge Center, Cal Arts, Aquila Morong Studio and University of the Arts. She was a 2014 Artist Fellow for the Dalai Lama’s Mind & Life Institute, which studies the intersection of humanities, sciences, and contemplative studies, and researches the relationship between the physical body and psychological states of mind. She wrote for David Milch on the HBO series Luck. She was a consulting producer for Emmy-awarding winner Bernie Su’s drama, Socio. Sarah's original drama series, Bunkered, was selected as a finalist for the 2016 Sundance Episodic Storytelling Lab. She was an original writing/devising member of the play Pay Up with Obie Award-winning Pig Iron Theatre Company. Sarah is currently a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre in Los Angeles.
Lorin Eric Salm
A former student of the legendary master of mime Marcel Marceau, Lorin is a graduate of Marceau’s École Internationale de Mimodrame de Paris, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from California State University, Northridge. Lorin founded Mime Theatre Studio in Los Angeles, where since 2001 he has taught actors and all types of performers how to master the body as an instrument of theatrical expression. He is a mime and movement coach for major Hollywood film and TV productions, has coached the Las Vegas performers of Cirque du Soleil, and teaches character movement to animators at leading animation studios and schools in the U.S. and abroad. As a theatrical mime and verbal theatre actor, Lorin has performed in Paris, Israel, New York, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. As a screen actor, he has appeared in numerous films, TV shows, and commercials, including as a performance capture and character movement reference actor for animated productions.
Ernie has been a gymnast since he was eight years old, and a Stuntman for Film and Television for over 30 years. Ernie's experience holds roots in Santa Monica Old Muscle Beach where he learned acro sports from Bob Yerkes and Jack LaLanne in the 80s and 90s. His circus skills include everything from the trapeze to Russian pole. He has also coached kids' gymnastics, acro sports, and cheerleading for over a decade.
Michael has worked as an actor, director and producer throughout the central United States and internationally. He is the co-founder of ShadowApe Theatre, a critically-acclaimed experimental theatre company in Indiana, with whom he devised, produced and performed over eight seasons, in addition to his work at a number of major regional theatres in the US. Michael holds a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Wisconsin, and was a member of the first graduating class at LISPA - London International School of Performing Arts - where he became a member of their faculty team for several years before relocating to Chicago in 2014.
Matteo is a visual artist, mask maker and theatre creator based in Tuscany. His background spans everything from graphic design to pedagogy and street performance. He has studied clown with Giovanni Fusetti, movement analysis with Norman Taylor and mask-making techniques with Donato Sartori. In 2000, he graduated from École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. He is the co-founder of several international theatre companies, including Teatro Punto in Madrid and Larven Teatro in Italy. He often collaborates with international groups in France, Italy and abroad, and is a former educator of Helikos International School of Theatre Creation in Florence. You can learn more at www.matteodestro.com.
Marc is an actor, deviser, educator and Chicago native who has performed and produced work in Brazil, Ireland, Spain, the USA and the UK. He has also taught workshops in Lecoq, Viewpoints and Clown in Brazil, the USA and the UK. Marc graduated with his MFA in Lecoq-based Actor Created Theater from Naropa University in cooperation with the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA). He currently devises work with his company, Theater Unspeakable. You can learn more at www.theaterunspeakable.com.
Daria Okugawa Harper
Daria is an actress, AmSAT Certified Alexander Technique and Teacher Trainer. She earned her certifications in London in 1982 under the director of Don Burton at the Alexander Teaching Associates. She is the founder of ATTIC (Alexander Technique Training in Chicago), a three year AmSAT Certified Teachers Training program currently based in Chicago (formerly Charlottesville, Virginia). She obtained her BFA in Acting at Carnegie Mellon University, her MFA in Acting at the University of Virginia (2011) and has studied clown with Merry Conway, Dody Di Santo and Christopher Bayers. Daria also completed her Yoga Teacher Certification in 1983 and has brought the Alexander Technique to universities, wellness clinics, theatres, yoga centers and dressage communities.
Bernard Hiller is the owner and founder of the Bernard Hiller: Acting and Success Studio, based in Los Angeles. His combined experience as an actor, producer, director and success coach for the past 30 years led him to create a revolutionary guide to achieving success in show business and life. Bernard has started the careers of many well known television and film actors around the world including Cameron Diaz in “The Mask” with Jim Carrey. As well, his techniques have been featured on television shows and magazines all around the world. In addition to the studio, Bernard coaches actors on movie sets and repeatedly gives his Masterclasses in London, Rome, Berlin, Moscow, Paris, and L.A. Bernard dedicates his work to helping actors fulfill their true potential, by becoming the person and artist they have always wanted to be.
Descended from the family of the last Vietnamese emperor Bao Dai, the Master Bao Lan was born in Vietnam in 1954. From his youth he practiced martial arts devoted to various disciplines, including Judo and Tae Kwon Do, but he found his true passion in the study of Viet Vo Dao and Vo Co Truyen, becoming an Instructor. He currently operates his own gym, Palestra Bao Lan, where he certifies instructors and hosts international martial arts meetings and competitions. At present Master Bao Lan is an International Expert 7* dang; Member of the International Federation and the Council of Teachers of Viet Vo Dao; Technical Director of the Veneto and Lombardy regions; President of the Federation of Viet-Boxing, Italy; President and Technical Director of the Federation Viet Tai Chi, Italy.
Alay Arzelus Makazaga
Alay is an actress and theatre trainer. She graduated from the École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris (1998–2000) and went on to further her work on clowns with Giovanni Fusetti in Padua. She has also played with a host of theatre companies in France, Spain and Italy, including Teatro Punto (Spain), Katakrak Troup (Spain), Chiendent thèâtre (France), and Goccie d’acqua (Italy). In 2004, she co-founded LARVEN, a research and theatre group in Padua, where she currently works as an actress and trainer. She also runs a “Theatre in Spanish” project. She not only offers training courses through LARVEN, but also works with a range of associations and groups interested in learning more about the universal poetics of the Theatre of Gesture, or discovering it for the first time.
Nourbol is the founder of the MSA & Circus Arts and a graduate of the world famous Moscow State Circus School, where he earned a Master of Sport. He first came to the United States to perform with the Ringling Brother and Barnum & Bailey circus where he performed extensively with both the Red and Blue units. He is the leading Sports Acrobatics & Circus Arts trainer in the Chicago area and has worked with many local circus groups, including the Actors Gymnasium and the Midnight Circus. Nourbol has recruited some of the most experienced trainers to educate, motivate and inspire people of all ages to participate in Circus Arts program. You can learn more at www.msacircusarts.com.
Kevin E. West
Kevin is the Founder of The Actors' Network, where the credo is to "learn from the mistakes of others…you don’t have time to make them all yourself!" He also created the extensive interview series, ActorBizGuru, voted #1 online educational resource by BackStage West. A Nashville native, Kevin began his performance career in Atlanta in the mid-80s, and is today a veteran actor in Hollywood. He has nearly 60 credits including Guest Starring on Aquarius, Criminal Minds, Bones, Castle, Touch, CSI: Miami, Justified, Leverage, Lost, 24, Desperate Housewives, NCIS, Alias, CSI, Judging Amy and dozens more.