Acorn Acting Academy Faculty

SARAH BARLOW

Sarah Barlow is a Portland-based theatre artist and company member of Acorn Productions’ Naked Shakespeare ensemble. Since returning to Portland, she has directed for Sound & Fury, Naked Shakespeare, and PortFringe, and has been seen on stage with Naked Shakespeare, Portland Shakespeare Company, Maine Playwrights Festival, PortFringe and Portland Players. Prior to moving to Maine, she worked in southeastern Massachusetts for 15 years as an actor, director, and text coach. She holds a degree in Vocal Performance and Theatre from Wheaton Conservatory, and has also studied at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox MA, and the Sandra Feinstein Gamm Studio in Providence. Not content to have even a tiny amount of free time, Sarah is also a bodyworker, playwright, and photographer.

DANIEL BURSON

Daniel is the Artistic Director of the Maine Playwrights Festival. He has developed and directed new plays for theaters including Penobscot Theatre Company, Mad Horse Theatre, Saco River Theatre, Boston Playwrights Theater, and Portland Stage Company, where he was previously Literary & Education Manager. Other Maine credits include the world premieres of One Blue Tarp at Penobscot Theatre and Legbala Is A River at Mayo Street Arts, as well as productions at Portland Stage, Penobscot Theatre, AIRE, Dramatic Rep, and Deertrees Theatre. He is also a member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas.

JARED CULVERHOUSE

Jared Culverhouse is the founder of Working Man’s Clothes Productions, a theater company which he started in 2005 in New York. Working Man’s Clothes Productions has produced works by playwrights including Romulus Linney, Bekah Brunstetter, Samuel Brett Williams, and Chisa Hutchinson. Working Man’s Clothes was instrumental in getting new plays seen and published. As an actor Jared has been seen in multiple productions including To Nineveh (Best Ensemble NYIT Awards), Derby Day (Clurman/Theater Row), and New Country at the Cherry Lane Theater. Jared received his BFA in Acting from Texas State University and his MFA in Directing from UMass Amherst. As an educator Jared has worked at The New York Film Academy and the Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. This summer his devised piece 8X10, dealing with the effects of solitary confinement, was seen at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival.

LINDSEY HIGGINS

Lindsey is the Producing Artistic Director of 60 Grit Theatre with a hunger for physical and devised theatre. She recently directed the Maine premier of Sarah Kane’s Blasted and devised Unsinkable, an original piece created by 60 Grit. Lindsey received her MFA in Theatre Directing from East 15 Acting School where she spent two intensive years studying and directing devised and adapted theatre under the tutelage of Mathew Lloyd. Her work has been produced regionally and academically at Etcetera Theatre (London UK), The Drayton Arms Theatre (London UK), Theatre Madness Festival (London, UK), University of Southern Maine, East 15 Acting School, Portland, ME, and Seoul, South Korea. Lindsey served as the Artistic Director of Seoul Shakespeare Company in South Korea from 2010 – 2014 and has worked as a Teaching Artist for Wintergreen Arts Center, The University of Southern Maine Theatre Academy, and Seoul Shakespeare Company.

MICHAEL LEVINE

Michael Levine is the founder and Producing Director of Acorn Productions, as well as the Artistic Director of the Naked Shakespeare series. He has been teaching acting classes at Acorn for almost 20 years as well as directing several dozen productions for Acorn. He has also taught acting and playwrighting at SMCC and the Stonecoast Writing Program and written several plays for Acorn, including The Dybbuks of Park Slope and The Legend of the Golem. He is a graduate of M.I.T., where he studied playwrighting with A.R. Gurney, as well as acting with Kristen Linklater, and Shakespeare and Company, and he is a certified secondary school English teacher.

TESS VAN HORN

Tess Van Horn is a director, performer and teaching artist based in Portland. She holds a BA in Theater from Sarah Lawrence where she focused on physical theater, Viewpoints and devised work with Daniel Stein, Dan Hurlin and Kym Moore. She is a member of Lorem Ipsum Theater Collective and has directed such productions as Ubu Roi, Blood Wedding, Threepenny Opera and the original play Gargantua. She has also worked as a director and actor with Fenix Theater, Good Theater, Hinge/Works, Acorn’s Maine Playwrights Festival, Portland Theater Collective and Portland Stage. She has the privilege of creating and teaching theater with young people via Stages Youth Theater and Portland Stage’s Theater for Kids, and teaches Intro to Acting at SMCC. Viewpoints has been a staple of her teaching and directing for the past 10 years and she is eager to share what she knows.

MAX WASZAK

MAX WASZAK
Max Waszak holds a BFA in Acting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an MFA from The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University. Having acted in New York and his home state of North Carolina, he has worked as an actor in Maine since 2012 at Theater at Monmouth, Everyman Rep, Good Theater and as an Education Artist at Portland Stage Company. As a kid, Max was a bit obsessed with the DK Eyewitness Book, Arms and Armor and has been an avid student and practitioner of stage combat since his early training in undergrad.

BESS WELDEN

Bess Welden holds an MFA from the National Theater Conservatory, and has been making theater professionally as an actor, writer, and educator for 25 years. She has focused much of her teaching work on helping students of all ages and backgrounds connect with their authentic voices. She works one-on-one with seasoned performers, first-time actors, and business executives, and has served on the teaching faculty at Vassar College, The School for Film and Television (NYC), University of Southern Maine, and currently Colby College. Her original storytelling performance event, Legbala is a River, premiered in June. She is also collaborating as a director/dramaturg with Kari Wagner-Peck on her new storytelling performance, Not Always Happy, which will premiere as part of Portland Stage’s Studio Series in November.