Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff

Alec Wild

Director of the ACA; Acting, Text, Rhetoric
Alec Wild was Founder and Artistic Director of the award-winning Folio Theatre in Chicago, and Founder/Producing Director of the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Minnesota. As the recipient of a 1997 Fox Fellowship, Mr. Wild traveled to Saint Petersburg, Russia, where he studied Directing and Biomechanics at the Saint Petersburg Academy of Theater. Among more than 50 productions of Shakespeare’s plays, he has directed The Taming of the Shrew at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, Titus Andronicus and Richard II for Milwaukee Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Chautauqua Theater Company, The Winter's Tale and Macbeth for the UMN/Guthrie Training Program, The Winter’s Tale, Richard III, Twelfth Night, Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Othello, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Great River Shakespeare Festival, and The Maid’s Tragedy at the ACA. His last film, Whisper, won prizes for Best Film, Best Actress, Best Acting Ensemble, Best Musical Score, and Best Screenplay at the 2015 St. Louis 48 Hour Film Project, and was an official selection for the St. Louis Filmmakers’ Showcase and the St. Louis International Film Festival. Mr. Wild has taught and directed at American Conservatory’s Advanced Training Program in San Francisco, University of Minnesota/Guthrie Conservatory, Fordham University, and Manhattanville College in New York. He was a guest lecturer on Shakespeare at New York University, and was an Adjunct Professor in the Theater Department at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Webster University. He holds an M.F.A. in Directing from the Yale School of Drama, and a B.F.A. in Acting from Chicago’s Goodman School of Drama.

Leslie Jacobsen

Director of Graduate Studies; Topics
Leslie Jacobson has spent close to 40 years producing, writing, directing, and teaching theatre committed to addressing societal challenges and to giving voice to people often marginalized by the dominant culture. She is the Founding Artistic Director of Horizons Theatre. Under her leadership from 1977 to 2007, Horizons introduced Washington audiences to over 60 new plays and playwrights through fully staged productions, and another 50 through public staged readings. The Women’s Committee of the Dramatists Guild gave Horizons a special award for its outstanding work in producing plays by women playwrights. Jacobson has been nominated for the Helen Hayes Award in the category of Outstanding Director three times. Her production of A…My Name Is Alice received a Helen Hayes Award for outstanding production; and her production of Chris White’s Rhythms won the Charles MacArthur Award for best new play.

Jacobson has been a Professor of Theatre at The George Washington University since 1977. She served as Chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance for 13 years, during which time she helped bring the Academy for Classical Acting to GW, and inaugurated several other new courses and programs.

In 2003, Jacobson began a relationship with the impoverished rural township of Winterveldt, South Africa. In collaboration with composer Roy Barber, she has created seven music/theatre pieces with at-risk youth from the Bokamoso Youth Centre in Winterveldt, addressing the many challenges confronting these youth. Since 2003, she has helped organize an annual cultural exchange program, where 12 youth travel to Washington each January to perform and serve as informal ambassadors to the D.C. community. They have a residency at GW. Each summer, Jacobson takes GW students with her to work at the Bokamoso Youth Centre.

In 2008, Jacobson was awarded a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship to Australia. She was a member of the 2001 Leadership America class, joining 99 other women leaders from around the country; and is a past president of the League of Washington Theatres. She graduated cum laude with a degree in Theatre, from Northwestern University, and with a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from Boston University.

Lisa Beley

Voice and Speech
Lisa Ann Beley is head of Voice and Text at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. She obtained a BFA from the University of British Columbia and as an actor worked in theatre, film and television as well as established herself as one of Vancouver’s top voice-over talents. She can be heard in numerous animation series, commercials, and corporate videos. She received her MFA and Voice Teachers Diploma from York University. She has taught voice, speech and text at Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Film School, Tooba Physical Theatre, as well as many workshops for private and corporate clients. Lisa has spent over 15 years on faculty with Canada’s National Voice Intensive where the focus of the text work is on Shakespeare. She is a member of Vasta and of the Guild of Embodied Practice. Much in demand as a dialect coach in feature films and television she has worked with notable actors such as Paul Bettany, Freddie Highmore, Sam Neill, Daniel Radcliffe and Christina Hendricks. Lisa is passionate about the process of the actor, valuing the integration of the physical, vocal and mental rigour demanded in the actor craft and training.

Christopher Cherry

Alexander Technique
Christopher Cherry is the director of Studio 2C, a studio for the performing arts and the Alexander Technique, where he focuses his Alexander practice exclusively on helping performing artists attain greater freedom, grace, clarity, and skill. He has given lessons backstage at Lincoln Center, taught workshops at theatres and universities across the U.S., and consulted on many productions in Washington, D.C., and New York City. A charter member of the ACA faculty, he previously taught at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Summer Acting Conservatory, and is himself a graduate of that program.As a playwright and composer, Cherry has created several musicals for family audiences, including Buried Treasure, Homeward Bound, The Joy Gods Return, Perseus and the Gorgon and a musical version of As You Like It. He regularly directs theatre productions in the Washington, D.C., area in collaboration with his partner, pianist and musical director Stefan Brodd, with whom he also coaches singing actors. Before becoming a certified teaching member of the American Society for the Alexander Technique, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary, and his master’s and law degrees from the University of Virginia.

Dody DiSanto

Mask, Clown, Physical Comedy
Dody DiSanto trained in Paris and is an esteemed teaching protégé of the late Jacques Lecoq, whose teachings she carries forward. She is also on the faculties of The Catholic University of America and the Center for Movement Theatre, and has recently been a Guest Artist for Cirque du Soleil and The Yale School of Drama. She is the founder and artistic director of the Membrane Ensemble Theatre, and was a founding member of Phoenix Dance Theatre. She has been a member of several ensembles, including Chantier Theatre, Present Company and Barking Rooster Theatre. Her thirty years of performing include Off-Broadway at LaMaMa E.T.C., Lincoln Center Serious Fun Festival, Theatre for the New City, the Avignon Festival, and television and film work. DiSanto’s teaching credits include Fundamentals of Lecoq at the Center for Movement Theatre, Dynamic Studies in Space, Gesture and Structure at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, Graduate Acting: Performance Ensemble and Neutral Mask at Towson State University, a Lecoq Colloquium at Tufts University, Mask at University of Toledo, Neutral Mask at M.I.T., and various workshops and courses for Ringling Clown College, Penn State University, Amherst College Department of Theatre and Dance, The George Washington University, the Mid-Atlantic Movement Theatre Festival, MotionFest and the ATA National Convention at Tulane. She holds a diploma and teaching certification from Ecole Jacques Lecoq, where she received a private pedagogic apprenticeship and also completed the Laboratoire Etude de Movement course of study. She studied corporal mime with Etienne Decroux, wire, juggling, acrobatics and tap under the direction of Annie Fratellini at the Ecole Nationale du Cirque, and was the assistant to Jacques Lecoq at the Theatre of Creation Festival. She is nationally certified for Massage Therapy and Bodywork and also created, owned and managed the internationally acclaimed music venue Nightclub 9:30 in Washington, D.C. from 1980-1987

Edward Gero

Acting, Text
In 31 seasons with the Shakespeare Theatre Company, he most recently appeared as King Henry in Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2. 70 other roles for STC include Hotspur in Henry IV (Helen Hayes Award), Bolingbroke in Richard II (Helen Hayes Award) and Macduff in Macbeth (Helen Hayes Award). A 32-season veteran of the Washington Theatre community, he is a fifteen-time nominee of the Helen Hayes Award and four-time recipient. In 2015, he created the role of Justice Antonin Scalia in the world premiere of John Strand’s acclaimed play The Originalist directed by Molly Smith at Arena Stage. He appeared as Mark Rothko in Robert Falls’ production of RED at the Goodman Theater in Chicago and Arena Stage in Washington, DC. Other DC credits include Scrooge in A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre; Salieri in Amadeus at Roundhouse Theatre; Donny in American Buffalo at The Studio Theatre and Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd at Signature Theatre. He has played Richard Nixon in Nixon’s Nixon at Roundhouse Theatre in 1999 and 2008 and received a Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor both times. Other favorite performances include John in Shining City, Ivan in The Seafarer, Tom Sargeant in Skylight (Helen Hayes Award), Vershinin in Three Sisters, and Philip Gelberg in Broken Glass. Other regional credits include Horace Vandergelder in The Matchmaker at Center Stage in Baltimore. Film and television credits include House of Cards, Turn: Washington’s Spies, Die Hard II, Striking Distance, and narrations for The Discovery Channel and PBS. He is an Associate Professor of Theater at George Mason University. He earned a BA in Speech and Theater at Montclair State University. Mr. Gero was also honored to receive the 2015 Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship.

Floyd King

Acting - Comedy
The Shakespeare Theatre: Sir Lucius O’Trigger in The Rivals, Second Murderer in Richard III, Sir Amourous La Foole in The Silent Woman, Osric/Gravedigger in Hamlet, Launce in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Peter in Romeo & Juliet, Mr. Sparkish in The Country Wife, Bottom in A Midsimmer Night’s Dream, Fool in King Lear, Master Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Lavatch in All’s Well That Ends Well, Trinculo in The Tempest, Jaques in As You Like It, Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, Pandarus in Troilus and Cressida, Touchstone in As You Like It, Parolles in All’s Well That Ends Well (Helen Hayes Award), many others. Regional: Folger Elizabethan Theatre: The Dresser, Mad About the Bard; Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: Quills (Helen Hayes Award); Studio Theatre: The Lisbon Traviata (Helen Hayes Award), A Tale of Two Cities (Helen Hayes Award), The Mystery of Irma Vep; Olney Theatre Center; Alley Theatre; Pittsburgh Public Theatre; Alliance Theatre Company. Honors: Fulbright Fellowship 1995-19996. Teaching: The Juilliard School; Shakespeare Theatre Acting Classes; University of South Carolina; British American Drama Academy, Oxford, England.

Lisae C. Jordan

Lisae Jordan is originally from upstate New York, where many small towns have ballet schools as a result of the Ford Foundation’s support for George Balanchine and his efforts to establishing regional professional ballet companies and training for American dancers. She studied and performed classical ballet since age 5, training at Ramsey School of Ballet and the School of the Hartford Ballet, and performing with Ballet North, WomenWerks (a company of actors and dancers), and other regional companies. Her roles include classical and contemporary works and, of course, all female roles in the Nutcracker (as well as several of the male variations). Since moving to Washington, DC, she danced with the Washington National Opera, Baltimore Opera, and as a guested with various local companies. Repertoire includes Samson et Deliah, Aida, Luisa Fernanda, Hamlet, MacBeth, La Traviata, Le Boheme, Maid of Orleans, and Lakmé. She is a proud member of the American Guild of Musical Artists and services on the area committee for the region.

A teacher respected for her focus on responding to the needs of actors and dancers, Lisae teaches ballet, conditioning and body mechanics, and stretch. Her work incorporates aspects of dance, feldenkrais, gyro, pilates, and floor barre, but is grounded in the desire to provide performers with the strength and flexibility they need to be artists. She teaches at the Maryland Youth Ballet and the School of the Washington Ballet, and was part of the original faculty at the American Dance Institute founded by Pam and Michael Bjerknes. Lisae teaches stretch at the Academy for Classical Acting.

Roberta Stiehm

Roberta Stiehm has been dancing since the age of 8. At 12, she began professional training in ballet and modern dance with Loyce Houlton at the Minnesota Dance Theater and School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At 16, she began dancing with that company and went on to dance leading roles in such ballets as Sir Frederick Ashton’s Les Patineurs and Facade, Herbert Ross’ Capprichios, George Balanchine’s Serenade, Concerto Borocco, and Allegro Brilliante, Glen Tetley’s Mythical Hunters, and over fifty world premieres by resident choreographer Loyce Houlton. She later joined the Bat Dor Company of Israel, where her favorite role was the Lamentoso solo in Alvin Ailey’s Streams. In South Africa, she danced with several small dance groups and with the American tour of Disney on Parade. In the early 80’s, she played the roles of Bebe and Diana in the National and International companies of A Chorus Line and was honored to have worked directly with Michael Bennett. In Washington, D.C., she acted in the Studio Theater’s acclaimed production of Fifth of July, emceed the Folger Theater’s Annual High School Shakespeare Festival, and performed and choreographed for D.C. Cabaret Theater. Ms. Stiehm spent more than one year on Broadway in Cats, playing the role of Cassandra. She also performed various other roles from the musical in the National company. Ms. Stiehm was Rehearsal Director of the D.C. Contemporary Dance Theater under the Artistic Direction of Miiya Hisaka, and she has been on the teaching staff of many companies and schools, including The Shakespeare Theatre, George Mason University, Feet First, Joy of Motion, The Ballet Center, The Jewish Community Center, and Model Secondary School for the Deaf at Gallaudet University (where she also choreographed numerous production and concert modern dance pieces). She is on the permanent senior teaching staff of the Academy of the Maryland Youth Ballet, where she has choreographed numerous concert and demonstration pieces for senior-level students of the Academy. Ms. Stiehm studied Pilates under the tutelage of Romana Kryzanowska, a former student of Joseph Pilates, and has been a certified instructor since 1999.

Robb Hunter

Stage Combat
Robb Hunter is a member of AEA, SAG/AFTRA, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and is a Certified Fight Director and Teacher of Stage Combat for the Society of American Fight Directors. As a professional fight director he has choreographed violence/movement for many DC theatres including The Shakespeare Theatre, Arena Stage, Center Stage, Washington National Opera, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, The Studio Theatre (where he has received multiple Helen Hayes Award nominations for his choreography), Olney Theatre, The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, Rep Stage, and Washington Shakespeare Company. Robb holds an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy from the Virginia Commonwealth University and is currently Artist in Residence at American University where he choreographs, directs and teaches movement, mime, stage combat, acting and various sections of theatre history. He also teaches stage combat for McDaniel College and for the MFA program at Catholic University.