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What's New In Theatre Arts?

Faculty/Staff News

Changing of the Guard
Leslie McCauley completed her second term as Department Chair/Artistic Director in this last year, handing over the reins to her colleague, Laura Downing-Lee. The staff, faculty, and students of the Theatre Arts Department send their congratulations and thanks to Leslie for her amazing years of leadership.

Goodbye to Leira
We bid farewell to our wonderful faculty member Leira Satlof, who is leaving SRJC to begin an exciting new business venture, Nature's Serving, with her sister in Humboldt County. Check it out at Leira went out in style with her final SRJC production, Sweeney Todd, hailed as one of the finest productions the department has ever produced. We wish Leira the very best success with this new chapter in her life!

Reed Martin Wins the Gold!
Well...Okay, maybe that's a wee bit of an exaggeration. However, faculty member Reed Martin traveled across the pond this summer to perform with the amazing Reduced Shakespeare Company. They toured England with their great new show, The Complete World of Sports, then played a 6-week run in the heart of London which overlapped the Olympics! Huzzah!

Theatre Arts Faculty Member Wins "Bloody Oscar!"
Congratulations to faculty member Wendy Wisely for winning the 2012 Indie Horror Film Festival's Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in The Duty of Living. She wasn't able to make the national awards ceremony in Chicago in March due to her teaching/directing schedule, but she was flattered at the honor none the less!

Leslie Tangos in India...Really!
In Spring 2012, faculty member Leslie McCauley traveled to India for her sabbatical. Highlights from her trip include a harrowing, high speed, illegal taxi ride along the Tamil Nadu coastal highway, riding an elephant (wonderful!) and a camel (not so wonderful), giving three unexpected performances of Argentine Tango, and of course, seeing the breathtaking Taj Mahal. Most importantly, while there Leslie studied Indian classical dance theatre. She returns with a wealth of knowledge and experiences that she will be sharing with the department in the months to come!

John Shillington - Renaissance Man
In May, faculty member John Shillington (upcoming director for Trouble in Mind) starred in the charming new musical, Souvenir, opposite the talented local actress Mary Gannon Graham. Not only did John act and sing, but he was also played the piano for the entire production! A man of many talents!

Eliot Tackles the Ancient Bible
Movement instructor Eliot Fintushel (and two-time National Endowment Fellow) is currently in development for his exciting new project, Ancient Voices: The Song of Songs, Job, and the Binding of Isaac. According to Eliot's fund-raising website, the project will explore the ancient text, using "ensemble movement, choral recitation, and actors' craft to focus on the energy and beauty of the original expression." Learn more at

Current Students and Alumni News

We LOVE to hear from alumni and to brag about all our students are doing, in and out of the theatre. Send updates via snail mail (dept. address is on "Contact Us" page) or email (please use the Subject Line, "Alumni Update - Your Name" or "Student News" - Your Name) to Laura Downing-Lee at

Congratulations to Our 2011-12 Grads and Transfer Students!
This last year a big year for Theatre Arts students wrapping up their studies here and moving on to the next exciting chapter in their lives. Here are just some of them:

  • Ian Gervase Mauer and Caitlyn Adlard both head to Cal State Fullerton this fall. They'll join Greg Skopp is already there in the BFA in Acting program.
  • Eric Cutler and Becky Bogner head to San Francisco State this fall; Jimmy Gagarin started there last year.
  • Zane Walters segued to Sonoma State mid-year.
  • Ian Elliott and Ari Rice both head to UC Santa Barbara this fall.
  • Erin Ashe will be starting at UC Berkeley this fall. She's likely to cross paths with Anne-Marie Balke who transferred into the Theatre program there mid-year.
  • Trevor Sakai-Jolivette is heading to Los Angeles to start training at AMDA.
  • Taylor Stearley is transferring to CSU Los Angeles.

Theatre Arts Students in SRT, Summer 2012
Congratulations to the following current Theatre Arts students and alumni who spent the summer bringing five magical productions to life as members of the SRT company: Caitlynn Adlard (Hair/Makeup), Erin Ashe (Acting Company), Jessica Carpenter (Paint), Brigid Codoni (Actor-Sweet Charity), Eric Cutler (Scenery/Electrics), Sigrid Forsythe (Actor-Sweet Charity), Cecelia Hamilton-Lee (Scenery), Justin Hes (Paint), Judith Hillendale (Hair/Makeup), Kevin Kieta (Actor-The Mousetrap), Heather Moore (Audience Services), Phoenix Ritchie (Paint/Props), Trevor Sakai-Jolivette (Acting Company).

Theatre Arts Alumni Nominated for an Emmy!
News just in that former makeup student, Tyson Fountaine, has been nominated for an Emmy for his work on The Middle, a television mini-series…we'll keep you posted. This is actually his second nomination (he was nominated in 2011 for his work on iCarly). This busy guy still found the time to come home this summer and serve as a judge for the Sonoma County Fair.

Theatre Arts Alumni Named TD of 6th Street Playhouse
Alumni Vince Mothersbaugh has been named the Technical Director for the wonderful 6th Street Playhouse here in Santa Rosa. In addition to his work for 6th Street, he will also be designing the set for our spring production of A Few Good Men.

Theatre Arts Students and Alumni Are Taking Over Sonoma County…and beyond!
The acting, design, and technical work of SRJC Theatre Arts students, past and present, graced several stages around Sonoma County this summer including shows with 6th Street Playhouse, Narrow Way, the Raven Players, Sonoma Theatre Alliance, Spreckles Theatre Company, Lucky Penny Productions, and the new theatre company, Three Rabbit Productions. Current student, Beth Woodruff completed the A.C.T. Acting Intensive this summer, as well as the 2-week Shakespeare Intensive.

SRJC Alumni Accepted to University of Washington MFA Program
Melinda (Mindy) Hare will be starting the MFA in Costuming program at the prestigious School of Drama at the University of Washington. We are thrilled for her!

SRJC Alumni Clowning Around
Larena Iocco is completing her second year of touring as a clown with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus this fall. The tour swung through California in August and September so she was able to stop by to say "hi!" and tell us a bit about her adventures.

Understudying His Idols
Alumni Bruce Carlton worked for Cal Shakes (California Shakespeare Festival) this summer and had the opportunity to serve as understudy for two of his theatre idols, James Carpenter and Michael Winters, both highly respected actors in the Bay Area. Needless to say, it was an invaluable learning experience. (Keep your eyes out for Bruce when you see a Coyote Valley Casino ad on TV…he's the guy winning all the money!)

Take Me to the Fair
Theatre design and technical skills probably came in very handy for Theatre Arts student Tiffany Thorsson in creating the Professional Garden entry, "Istanbul", that she and her sister Amanda created for the Sonoma County Fair's Hall of Flowers. Together, they won Best Use of Multi Flowers and Best Use of Dahlias, presenting a dazzling landscape display for fairgoers!

Theatre Arts student Kelly Cronin also earned four blue ribbons for her Arts and Crafts and Amateur Garden entries at this summer's Sonoma County Fair, including one Best of Show award! She says the skills she has gained in her Theatre Arts classes, especially Julia Kwitchoff's Properties Workshop, really helped her in creating the works that earned her these honors.


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