Career Strategy Fellowships Study Abroad Summer Session MyYSS

Summer Drama Program Faculty

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Summer Drama Program Faculty Bios

Click either the Conservatory or Directing below to read more about the program faculty.

Director

Blake Hackler

Blake has worked as an actor on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in regional theatres throughout the country, as well as in TV and film. He has held faculty positions at Roosevelt University, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, the National Theatre for the Handicapped, and is currently the director of Yale University’s Summer Conservatory.  In 2015, he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar to Bulgaria, where he taught at the National Theatre Conservatory and worked with some of Bulgaria’s most celebrated actors. Most recently he has appeared with the Tony Award winning Dallas Theatre Center and the Trinity Shakespeare Festival. As a playwright, Blake’s work has been seen across the country, and won several awards. The 2017-2018 season will see two world premieres of commissioned works by Mr. Hackler.  He is a lifetime member of the esteemed BMI Lehman Engel Workshop, and was the winner of their Harrington Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre writing. MFA, Yale School of Drama. Click here to view Blake's video introduction to the Yale Conservatory for Actors.

Faculty

Will Cobbs

Will's most recent theater credits include Raisin in the Sun (Arena Stage), Safe House (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis), When I Come to Die (Kansas City Repertory), Autumn’s Harvest (Lincoln Center), and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof  with Scarlett Johannson (Broadway) . He has also appeared on Elementary, Madam Secretary, Army Wives, The Goodwife, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and The Night Of. Will holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama.

Kristi Dana

Kristi Dana (AEA/SAG-AFTRA) is an Assistant Professor of Voice and Speech in the division of theatre at Southern Methodist University and is also an actor and vocal coach. Credits as an actor include New York Shakespeare Exchange’s Sonnet Project and the world premiere of Matthew Paul Olmos’ so go the ghosts of méxico, part three at Dallas’ Undermain Theatre. Her professional vocal coaching includes Liz Lerman’s tour of Healing Wars and Marie Antoinette at Soho Rep. She is a certified teacher of Miller Voice Method, Knight-Thompson Speechwork, and holds a certificate of completion from the Michael Chekhov Association. From 2016-17, she was interim head of M.F.A. acting, and graduate voice and speech teacher at Brooklyn College and from 2017-2018 served as a visiting assistant professor of voice and speech at Penn State University. She has also taught at Long Island University/Post, the College of Staten Island and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Kristi holds an MFA in Acting from Brooklyn College, an MA in Theatre Education from Emerson College, and a BA in Theatre Arts from Penn State University.

Brad Heberlee

Brad is a New York based actor whose work has been seen Off-Broadway at such theatres as Playwrights Horizons, The Atlantic, The Vineyard, The Pearl, Ars Nova, and SoHo Rep.  Regional theatres include Yale Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Huntington Theatre Company, Geffen Playhouse, Center Theatre Group, The McCarter, Denver Center, Center Stage Baltimore, and Weston Playhouse.  Brad is a company member of The Civilians, The Pearl, and New Neighborhood.  Training:  MFA Yale School of Drama.

Stephanie Machado

Stephanie Machado is a Brazilian-American actress and educator. She holds an MFA in Acting from Yale School of Drama, where she studied with Evan Yionoulis, Ron Van Lieu, Peter Francis James, Steven Skybell, James Bundy, Beth McGuire, and Walton Wilson among others. She also holds a BFA in Acting from Southern Methodist University. Stephanie has most recently worked with the McCarter Theater, Yale Repertory Theater, Group.BR (where she Assistant Directed Linda Wise of the Roy Hart Theater), and more. She currently teaches actors in New York City, and does private coaching in both New York and New Haven. She received the Olivier Thorndike Award in Acting from Yale and the Greer Garson Acting Award from SMU, and is a Jerome L. Greene Fellow. She has also undergone extensive EDI training with Arts Equity and is trained in the Liz Lerman Critical Response method. She is a proud member of Actors Equity Association.

Dana Tanner-Kennedy

Dana is a scholar, dramaturg, and doctoral candidate at the Yale School of Drama, where she also earned her MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism. Dana currently teaches in the Department of Drama at the University of Alberta and the Summer Conservatory for Actors at Yale University, and she serves as the Managing Editor of the Marginalia Review of Books. Her professional dramaturgy credits include The Soldier’s Tale (Carnegie Hall); Hamlet (Yale Repertory Theatre); Urge for Going (The Public Theater); Suddenly Last Summer, Loot, Nora, and Appropriate (Westport Country Playhouse, CT); Psychos Never Dream (by National Book Award-winner Denis Johnson, Kitchen Dog Theater, Dallas). She is a former Literary Associate for Yale Rep and a former Managing Editor of Theater magazine. Dana spent five seasons in the education department at Dallas Theater Center, serving as Associate Director for two, and worked in the literary offices of Atlantic Theater Company and The Public Theater.  

Kara Lynn Vaeni

Kara-Lynn Vaeni is a theatre and opera director who focuses on highly theatrical, impossible-to-stage works by diverse and interesting writers who are often women or artists of color.

She recently won an NEA grant for her play SHAPE, a weightlifting play, which she directed in its world premiere at The Kitchen Theatre in NY in 2021. SHAPE was also named to the Kilroy’s list. Her play In Search of the Sublime also premiered in 2021 under her direction at Stage West Theatre in DFW.  In 2020 she was named The Best Director in Dallas by the Dallas Observer and she has the trophy to prove it.

She has directed productions and workshops at HERE Art Center, New York; BAM Harvey Theater, Brooklyn; the Irondale, Brooklyn; The National Theatre of Prague; Guggenheim Works & Process, New York; New Georges, New York; 2g, New York; The Flea, New York; the wild project, New York; WP Theatre, New York; Dallas Theatre Center; Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, Conn.; Montana Repertory Theatre, Missoula, Mont.; and the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Jupiter, Fla.

She is on the Acting and Directing faculties of the Yale Summer Conservatory and is an Assistant Professor of Acting at Southern Methodist University. She is a proud member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers.

Evan Yionoulis

Evan Yionoulis is an Obie Award-winning theatre director who has directed new plays and classics in New York, across the country, and internationally. She is Professor in the Practice of Acting and Directing at Yale School of Drama, where she has taught for the past twenty years, and a resident director at Yale Repertory Theatre. 

Director

Pat Diamond

Patrick Diamond, Program Director, directs  both plays and opera. Pat has collaborated with playwrights A. Rey Pamatmat, Eric Sanders, Kathryn Walat; composers Gregory Spears and Ellen Lindquist; and ensemble Sybarite 5. Significant productions:The Dido Project (onsight installation at The Samsung Experience), drömseminarium (Västmanlandsmusiken, Västerås, Sweden), and the American revival of Moniuszko’s Halka (Sarasota Opera) and Wolf-Ferrari’s Le donne curiose (Wolf Trap Opera Company).  He has directed works by Shakespeare, Britten, Calderón, Mozart, Puccini, Janáček, Mayakovsky, and Verdi and worked with American Opera Projects and Aspen Music Festival.  Pat teaches at Manhattan School of Music, Yale School of Drama, and been a guest artist at University of Maryland, University of Michigan, Rice University, and NYU.

Faculty

Nick Francone

Nick Francone is a New York based production designer working in television, film and theatrical production.   Recent Off-Broadway design credits include numerous projects with Ensemble Studio Theater, Vampire Cowboys, Ma Yi, New Georges, The Public Theater, Labyrinth Theater Company, HERE Arts Center, The Flea and many more. Other Credits include Art Direction on Bull for CBS and Maya and Marty for NBC along with fifteen years of collaboration with Eugene Lee including Wicked (Broadway and adaptations around the world).

Andrew F. Griffin

Andrew F. Griffin is a freelance lighting designer supporting good storytelling wherever he can. In New York, his work has been seen at Cherry Lane,  Access Theatre, TiltYard, and others. Regional collaborations include Folger Theatre, Le Petite Theatre du Vieux Carre, Delaware Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth, Olney Theatre Center, Theatre J, Signature Theatre, Synetic Theatre, Riverside Theatre, and Studio Theatre. He is also currently working around the continent as an Associate Designer for Robert Wierzel and Stephen Strawbridge. Andrew is a two-time recipient of the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lighting Design, and a nominee for a Connecticut Critics Circle award. AFGLighting.com

Patric Madden

Patric Madden is a Brooklyn-based actor, director, teacher, and performance artist who graduated recently from the Yale School of Drama's acting program. He is a gemini and is characteristically interested in what some might consider opposed poles in the theatre: experimental devised work, and classical text. Recent projects include a solo queer adaptation of Musset's Lorenzaccio as well as numerous collaborations with director Shadi Ghaheri. He is interested in rehearsal practices that break down traditional hierarchies and encourage a sense of play.

James Mountcastle

James Mountcastle is a Professor in the Practice in Yale School of Drama’s Stage Management Department. He is also the Production Stage Manager at Yale Repertory Theatre, where he has stage managed Arcadia, The House that will not Stand, A Streetcar Named Desire, American Night: The Battle of Juan José, Three Sisters, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, The Master Builder, Passion Play, Richard II, Eurydice, a new adaptation of The Cherry Orchard, and the world premiere of The Clean House. At New York’s City Center Theatre, he was the Production Stage Manager for the revival of Randy Newman’s Faust for Encores. He also has supervised and mentored young professional stage managers on dozens of productions. Before arriving at Yale in 2004, he was a professional stage manager with more than 20 years of diverse experience in regional, stock, and Broadway and Off-Broadway theater. Broadway credits include Damn Yankees, Jekyll & Hyde, Judgment at Nuremberg, The Boys from Syracuse, The Smell of the Kill, Life x (3), and Wonderful Town. He spent several Christmas seasons in New York City as stage manager for the now legendary production of A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden. Broadway national tours include City of Angels, Falsettos, and My Fair Lady. He served as Production Stage Manager for Damn Yankees starring Jerry Lewis for both its national tour and at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End. In addition, Mr. Mountcastle has worked at The Kennedy Center, Center Stage in Baltimore, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and elsewhere. As an actor, he received a B.F.A. in Drama from Catholic University in 1983. He is also a 1990 graduate of Yale School of Drama.

Dana Tanner-Kennedy

Dana Tanner-Kennedy is a scholar, dramaturg, and doctoral candidate at the Yale School of Drama, where she also earned her MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism. Dana currently teaches in the Department of Drama at the University of Alberta and the Summer Conservatory for Actors at Yale University, and she serves as the Managing Editor of the Marginalia Review of Books. Her professional dramaturgy credits include The Soldier’s Tale (Carnegie Hall); Hamlet (Yale Repertory Theatre); Urge for Going (The Public Theater); Suddenly Last Summer, Loot, Nora, and Appropriate (Westport Country Playhouse, CT); Psychos Never Dream (by National Book Award-winner Denis Johnson, Kitchen Dog Theater, Dallas). She is a former Literary Associate for Yale Rep and a former Managing Editor of Theater magazine. Dana spent five seasons in the education department at Dallas Theater Center, serving as Associate Director for two, and worked in the literary offices of Atlantic Theater Company and The Public Theater.  

Kara Lynn Vaeni

Kara-Lynn Vaeni is a theatre and opera director who focuses on highly theatrical, impossible-to-stage works by diverse and interesting writers who are often women or artists of color.

She recently won an NEA grant for her play SHAPE, a weightlifting play, which she directed in its world premiere at The Kitchen Theatre in NY in 2021. SHAPE was also named to the Kilroy’s list. Her play In Search of the Sublime also premiered in 2021 under her direction at Stage West Theatre in DFW.  In 2020 she was named The Best Director in Dallas by the Dallas Observer and she has the trophy to prove it.

She has directed productions and workshops at HERE Art Center, New York; BAM Harvey Theater, Brooklyn; the Irondale, Brooklyn; The National Theatre of Prague; Guggenheim Works & Process, New York; New Georges, New York; 2g, New York; The Flea, New York; the wild project, New York; WP Theatre, New York; Dallas Theatre Center; Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, Conn.; Montana Repertory Theatre, Missoula, Mont.; and the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Jupiter, Fla.

She is on the Acting and Directing faculties of the Yale Summer Conservatory and is an Assistant Professor of Acting at Southern Methodist University. She is a proud member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers.

Evan Yionoulis

Evan Yionoulis is an Obie Award-winning theatre director who has directed new plays and classics in New York, across the country, and internationally. She is Professor in the Practice of Acting and Directing at Yale School of Drama, where she has taught for the past twenty years, and a resident director at Yale Repertory Theatre.