Acorn Acting Academy Faculty

JANOAH BAILIN

Janoah anygoodjokes? Bailin learned juggling as a bored ten-year-old trapped at summer camp. He continued practicing (and quit being bored!) with the Suspenders Juggling Troupe in Falmouth MA, dropped countless objects in his back yard, then traveled New England for two seasons with the Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour, where he dropped slightly less often. Janoah graduated in 2014 from College of the Atlantic in Maine, studying the myriad variations on performance: theatre, movement, objects, puppets, film, literature, carnival, gender, etc. In past years Janoah has taught the precarious skills of letting things fall and picking them up again at the Payomet Performing Arts Center in Truro MA. Now he teaches students near Portland, ME how to juggle, perform and drop things playfully. Janoah also performs variety arts and unicycling for festivals, in parades and on stages; presents his contemporary solo circus show: SpinS; and manages kids classes at Studio 408 Dance in South Portland

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.

RACHEL FLEHINGER

After studying acting at George Washington University, Brooklyn College, and The Michael Howard Studio with Larry Singer and with renowned teachers such as Anatole Fourmantchouk (Russian Academy of Theatre); Eloise Watt (Riverside Shakespeare Company), Jim Calder, David Matthew Prior and Chuck Jones. Rachel moved to NYC to pursue her dream of acting. Some of her favorite roles are: Claudia Draper in Nuts, Joan Brennan in The Marriage of Bette and Boo and The Actor in Woman in Black. As a teacher Rachel Flehinger has had the privilege of teaching at The Brooklyn Lycium, at Acorn Productions, as a guest at Bowdin College and Long Creek Youth Development Center and privately for many years. Her students can be seen on film, Broadway and stage throughout the country.

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 is currently devising 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.

RENE JOHNSON

René Goddess Johnson is the Creative Artistic Director of Theater Ensemble of Color and a member of the Lorem Ipsum Theater Collective. She began formal dance lessons at 9 with Portland School of Ballet and has spent the last 22 years fully immersed in movement. René’s autobiographical one woman show, g e e l, that highlights storytelling, singing and dance.

CALLIE KIMBALL

Callie Kimball earned her MFA at Hunter College, under Tina Howe. Her plays have been produced and developed in New York, Chicago, LA, DC, at Team Awesome Robot, Halcyon Theatre, Lark Play Development Center, Drama League, The Brick Theater, Project Y Theatre, Absolute Theatre, Washington Shakespeare Company, The Kennedy Center, Mad Horse Theatre, and elsewhere. She’s received a MacDowell Fellowship, a Playwrights’ Center Core Apprenticeship, a Ludwig Vogelstein grant, and the Rita & Burton Goldberg Playwriting Award two years in a row. Her play Sofonisba won the Clauder Gold Prize, was a finalist for the O’Neill, a semifinalist for the Princess Grace Award, and was included on The Kilroys’ 2016 List.

MICHAEL LEVINE

Michael Levine is the founder and Producing Director of Acorn Productions, as well as the co-Artistic Director of the Maine Playwrights Festival and Artistic Director of the Naked Shakespeare series. He has written several plays for Acorn, including The Dybbuks of Park Slope and The Legend of the Golem, as well as several children’s theater adaptations of fairy tales. He has directed several dozen productions for Acorn and taught acting and playwrighting at SMCC and the Stonecoast Writing Program. 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.

CARMEN-MARIA MANDLEY

Carmen-maria Mandley is currently the Director of Training for Acorn Productions and The Community Engagement Manager for Theater at Monmouth. Previously she was the Education Director and Literary Manager for Portland Stage and a teacher, actor, director and artisan for Shakespeare & Company for 12 years. She is a company member of Bare Portland, Founding Artistic Director of the Nickel Shakespeare Girls (National touring), Founding Artistic Director of Bare Theatre (Raleigh, NC) and a produced playwright and poet. Carmen attended National-Louis University in Chicago, Illinois and continued her training at Shakespeare and Company and at the Dell’ Arte International School of Physical Theatre. She has been actively directing, teaching and performing Shakespeare for 20 years.

MEGAN TRIPALDI

Megan Tripaldi is an actor, playwright, and educator working in Portland, Maine. She graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a BA in Theatre in 2012 and has had her plays produced in Maine, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Washington. She most recently performed in The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Bare Portland Theater; eight shows in the last two seasons of Naked Shakespeare; The Ballad of Daphnis and Chloe with Kerr and Company; and the tour of Romeo and Juliet, and currently the tour of Macbeth with Portland Stage. She has worked in education programs with Stages Performing Academy, Acorn Productions, The Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine, and Portland Stage Company.

BESS WELDEN

Bess Welden 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 has worked 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. She is currently developing an original multi-disciplinary performance piece, Legbala is a River, slated for production in 2017 as well as collaborating as a director/dramaturg with Kari Wagner-Peck on her new storytelling performance, Not Always Happy.