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Instructors

Gabriel Folse

Gabriel Folse Gabriel Folse has been acting and teaching for nearly 2 decades now. He is also a writer, director and producer. He studied film theory with Tom Schatz, cinematography with Roberto Quiroga, and film acting with Edward Dmytryk, to name a few. In 1998, he received a Bronze Award from Worldfest-Flagstaff Film Festival for his short film, In God We Trust, and he directed his first feature film, Guilty, in 2007. He believes life offers a variety of opportunities to create, learn and grow, and the pursuit of one desire will benefit the pursuit of others. His television appearances include WALKER TEXAS RANGER, GIDEON OLIVER, and THE YOUNG RIDERS. Gabe also had a supporting role in Episode Six of INTO THE WEST, a miniseries for TNT.  His feature film appearances include MISS CONGENIALITY, A PERFECT WORLD, and WYATT EARP.  www.gabrielfolse.com.

Brittany Flurry

Brittany Flurry Brittany Flurry is the Administrative Assistant for the State Theatre School of Acting.  She is an actor, writer, director, and producer. Brittany graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Acting from Texas State University, and studied abroad with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon. She is currently studying with Richard Robichaux in a two year Meisner-intensive. She assisted Jay Jennings, professor at Texas State University, in creating his musical The Turning. In 2013, she started her own production company (Behind the Nose Productions) and filmed her first feature. In addition to film and stage, Brittany also performs stand up comedy.

Babs George

Babs George Babs George founded the State Theatre School of Acting in 1993 and has been the Director since its inception. She is a professional actress and has been a member of SAG and AEA for 30 years. Babs graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Performance from the University of Utah, and an MFA in Classical Acting from The Shakespeare Theatre’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington Univ. She has been awarded the Austin Critics Award, the B. Iden Payne Award, and the Austin Chronicle’s “Best Actor/Actress in Austin” Award. In addition to her extensive stage career, Babs also pursues film, television and commercial work, and recently filmed a recurring role for the ABC series, My Generation. She has been an adjunct instructor in acting for the University of Texas, Texas State, Southwestern University and St. Edward’s University.  Ms. George has studied with many prestigious teachers over the years including Uta Hagen, Michael Kahn (Shakespeare Theatre), Ann Bogart (S.I.T.I. Company, Viewpoints and Suzuki), and Tina Packer (Shakespeare & Co.).

Carol Hickey

Carol Hickey Carol has studied with some of the most prestigious instructors in Acting at HB Studio in New York and 7 years in Los Angeles with Harry Mastrogeorge. She has a degree in Theatre from University of California, Santa Barbara. She earned her living working on commercials and television series (Gilmore Girls, Six Feet Under, Scrubs, ER, NYPD Blue, Judging Amy, Big Love, National Tide, AT&T, Kelloggs, Cisco and many more) in Los Angeles. She also has received awards for her work on stage, developing premiere works in Los Angeles and in New York with The Canyon Theatre Company, along with name actors such as Mark Ruffalo and Kathy Bates. She worked as an instructor through East L.A. Classic Theatre to inner city, underprivileged youth and has primarily served as a private audition coach here in Austin.

Shana Merlin

Shana Merlin

With over a thousand hours of teaching under her belt, Shana Merlin is one of the most experienced and effective improv teachers in Central Texas, as well as a highly acclaimed performer. She has trained with some of the top teachers in the field of improvisation including Keith Johnstone, creator of TheatreSports; Paul Sills, founder of Second City; Gary Austin, member of The Committee and founder of The Groundlings; and Charna Halpern, founder of Improv Olympic and co-author of Truth in Comedy. Shana founded her own company, Merlin-Works in 2003 to provide custom training, interactive presentations, and comedy shows to businesses and organizations using improvisation. In 2008 she opened the Merlin Works Institute for Improvisation to teach short form game play and narrative long form to improvisers and actors in Austin, TX. Most recently she was awarded "Best Improv Teacher" and "Best Improv Class" and commended for her "Outstanding Contribution to Improv in Austin" by the Austin Improv Collective. [Video]

Pierce Purselley

Pierce Purselley

Pierce Purselley has been improvising for over seven years, performing in festivals all over the country, and recently headlining festivals such as the Milwauakee Comedy Festival.  While in Austin he has produced many short films, music videos, and currently is the Executive Producer of Mortified Austin: Angst Written.  This past fall he co-produced the documentary, See The Dirt, which was accepted into multiple festivals and won the Austin Film Festival Best Short Documentary of 2012.  Pierce currently teaches improv at ColdTowne Theatre and where his two man show, Miller and Purselley, creates a whole one-act play in the moment every week.  Miller and Purselley were recently named the best troupe of ColdTowne.  He also guest lectures on Improvisational Drama at The University of Texas and is excited to begin teaching at The State Theatre School of Acting.  He is also in a Ke$ha cover band, Hot & Dangerous, and you should ask him about it.

Adam Roberts

Adam Roberts State

Adam Roberts has served as artistic director, musical director, or choreographer for over ninety productions to date, with choreography credits including two European concert tours. Having taught and coached musical theatre voice and dance styles throughout the country, his students have appeared both on and off-Broadway, in regional theatre and national tours, and on film and network television. Mr. Roberts' Austin credits include productions and/or faculty positions with Austin Children's Theater, Austin Conservatory of Theater (of which he currently serves as Director), Austin Shakespeare, Ballet Austin, the Paramount and State theaters, Theatre at the J, St. Stephen's School, ZACH Theatre, and others. A member of the Austin Critics' Table, he is a contributing writer and arts critic for the Austin Chronicle and is currently authoring a book focused on music analysis for practitioners of musical theatre. Mr. Roberts is also highly active as an interpreter of sacred music, having served as musical director at Calvary United Methodist Church in Tallahassee, Florida, and Covenant Presbyterian Church in Wellsville, Ohio. He holds a Master's degree in Music and the College Teaching Certificate from Florida State University and received undergraduate degrees from Youngstown and Kent State universities.

Paula Russell

Paula Russell

Paula Russell is a professional actor and director with over 25 years of teaching experience. She is a member of SAG, Actors Equity and AFTRA. In Austin, Paula is a member of TXMPA, The Alliance, Reel Women, The Austin Film Society and is a founding member of Austin Creative Alliance (formerly ACoT). She has directed at the famed Ensemble Studio Theatre, Cast Theatre, Actors Playhouse and interned by invitation as director-in-training on Taxi, Cheers, WKRP and Newhart under James Brooks, James Burroughs, Will McKenzie, Joan Darling and others. Under Actors Equity, Ms. Russell both performed the lead role and directed the musical, "Always, Patsy Cline." Locally, she has directed two plays at the Long Center's Rollins Theatre. She recently coached two of the lead actors for a film that has been accepted at Sundance. For more visit www.paula-russell.com.

Tony Sears

Tony Sears

Actor/director Tony Sears studied Drama at Furman University, The University of Georgia, and l’Institut des Etudes Européenes in Paris.  He spent several years as the Associate Artistic Director of the Hilton Head Island Playhouse (now the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina) before moving to Los Angeles, where he spent 20 years working on both sides of the camera. 
He worked in the Art Department of several films and TV shows, including three seasons of the series Star Trek: Voyager, assisting Emmy Award winning production designer Richard James. Sears later returned as an actor in two episodes of Voyager, playing a Starfleet Officer and the Borg Drone, Four of Twelve. Tony has appeared in numerous roles for film, television, and stage and has directed many theater productions on both coasts. He played Dr. Davies in season six of Lifetime’s Army Wives, and has made guest appearances on such popular shows as Drop Dead Diva, Dallas, Devious Maids, ALIAS, Judging Amy and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He has also produced and directed for the camera, including Public Service Announcements, Industrials, a documentary (The Queen of Sunset Boulevard) and several short films. Sears first began experimenting with kinetic energy in performance at The University of Georgia, under the direction of the late August Staub. In Los Angeles he trained and later taught with Darryl Hickman, exploring the Actor’s use of moment-to-moment energy. Before coming to Austin, he taught his own acting workshop in North Hollywood, where he experimented with how the creative imagination informs the flow of real-time, organic energy through an organized structure, free of  “acting tricks.” Sears encourages actors to tell their story. They may use the author’s words, wear wardrobe’s clothing, stand where the director tells them, but it is the actor who ultimately breathes life into the role. Sears is currently developing a television series based on characters from the Mary Magruder Katz novels by Barbara Levenson and in pre-production for the feature film, Jimmy & Mia which he will direct in and around Austin, TX.

M.J. Vandivier

Marijane Vandivier is a professional Equity actress with over forty years experience. She enjoyed a successful television career for 30 years including film, radio shows and commercial work, and has been an acting and speaking voice teacher / coach for the past 17 years.  Mj studied at The America Theatre Wing in NYC where she appeared off-Broadway in “Late Arrival.”  Vandivier holds a B.S. from the University of Houston in Psychology and Theatre and is a Certified Lessac Voice / Body Trainer.   She played with her show band in Vegas, Reno, Tahoe, LA, and across the country for 7 years.  Many Texans grew up with Mj on the popular KPRC-TV live children shows, “Happy Hollow and Marijane’s MagiCastle.  Her long-running talk/news show “Wake-up Houston” was seen on KUHT-TV daily while she continued performing at the Alley Theatre, Theatre Under The Stars and Houston Music Theatre.  Marijane moved to Austin 10 years ago to be with family.  She has been an adjunct instructor at St. Edwards University, teaches for The State Theatre School of Acting, and for private clients as well as continuing to act professionally.  In Austin, Mj has been featured in a variety of roles at St. Edwards Mary Moody Northen, Zachary Scott, Austin Playhouse and Tex-Arts Theatres. [Video]

Irene White

Irene White

Irene White hails from the great state of Texas where she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She has studied at the Second City in Chicago and IOWest where she performed with King Ten, White Shorts and The Armando. She also taught long-form improvisation and coached Harold Team Trophy Wife. Here in Austin, she has taught and coached at ColdTowne Theatre. Her Chicago theatre work includes The All-Female Bonanza at Live Bait Theatre and Chamber Music at the Transient Theatre. Her Los Angeles theatre credits include Blue Window, The Women, The Red Coat and her one-woman show Open to the Public. Irene can be seen in lots of commercials and in episodes of Brothers & Sisters, Friends, Will & Grace, and Scrubs. Her recent credits include Carpoolers, Man Stroke Woman and the films Green Hornet and Spy Kids 4. http://irenewhite.com