Fall 2017 Highlights

Our Most Ambitious Season Yet

Footage from Charles Tuthill Memorial
and Member Profile with Welker White

Members of The Actors Center with Ron Van Lieu, November 2017
Warm greetings from all of us at The Actors Center! It has been a season of momentous growth and transition for us as an organization and we wanted to take a moment to share some of the highlights from the past four months.

With a mission to support the continued artistic development of working actors, we were pleased to welcome 16 of the finest acting teachers this Fall to work with our growing company of 266 members. In this way, The Actors Center continues to be one of the most unique and vital resources to acting professionals.

The Fall 2017 Season

Fall 2017 Faculty Joanna Merlin, Dakin Matthews, Ron Van Lieu, and Rebecca Guy
Each season, The Actors Center curates a diverse mix of recurring weekly classes, weekend workshops, and week-long intensives devoted to challenging and inspiring our company of actors to take bold risks in their work. Our programming enables actors to EVOLVE in their understanding of the craft; to EXPAND their knowledge and technique; to EXPERIMENT amid a sense of creativity and joy; and NOURISH their body, mind, and artistic self.

This Fall, we played host to a remarkable group of acting teachers, directors, and performing artists from the United States, UK, and Russia.

Faculty & Guest Artists


Tony-nominated Playwright, Actor


Head of Movement at NYU Grad Acting

Slava Dolgachev SCENE STUDY

Distinguished Artist of Russia, Artistic Director Moscow New Drama Theatre


Faculty, The Juilliard School

Karl Kenzler GAMES

Past Faculty Member at NYU Grad Acting and Guthrie Theater

Felix Ivanov MOVEMENT

Choreographer, Teacher
Syracuse University

Dakin Matthews SHAKESPEARE

Actor, Director, Scholar, Teacher
Juilliard, ACT, Cal Arts

Kathleen McNenny MASK

Actor, Teacher, Coach
Juilliard, Rutgers, UCSD


Actor, Teacher, Casting Director
Last Living Student of Michael Chekhov


British Voice Teacher & Coach
Faculty at BADA, RADA

Welker White & Damian Young SCREEN ACTING

Film, TV, Stage Actors
Teach at Brooklyn College, NYU

Jessica Wolf ALEXANDER

Faculty, Yale School of Drama
Founder, The Art of Breathing

Ian Wooldridge SCENE STUDY

British Director/Educator
Former Dean, BADA


Faculty, Columbia University
Formerly Head of Acting at Yale School of Drama and NYU Grad Acting

Grace Zandarski VOICE

Faculty, Yale School of Drama

Our Most Ambitious Season Yet

It's an exciting time for us. The Actors Center continues to expand due to overwhelming interest. Our company of actors has grown considerably over the past two years—up from 158 members in 2014-15 to 266 this season. We've almost doubled the number of faculty and guest artists from last Fall, while increasing our overall programming by 33%. And perhaps most telling, participation and engagement among our company is the highest it's ever been.

Fall 2017 By the Numbers

Charles Tuthill Memorial

Our esteemed colleague and dear friend Charles Tuthill passed away suddenly at home on April 28, 2017. For many years, Charles was a tireless champion and passionate advocate for actors and actor training. Charles’s determined leadership was a tremendous gift to The Actors Center, whose family he had been a part for almost 20 years, serving as a faculty member and becoming its Executive and Artistic Director in 2015.

On Sunday, September 10, 2017 at Judson Memorial Church in Manhattan, nearly 330 people gathered to pay tribute an extraordinary artist, educator, mentor, colleague, and friend.

Speakers and performers included:
Steven Freeman, his husband; Nancy Kurfess Johnson, his mother; Micah Stock, Lauren Ward, Maria AitkenMatthew McGrath, Mary McCann, Taylor Schilling, Kim Johnston, Judy Kuhn, Grace Zandarski, Dee Pelletier, Ron Van Lieu, Armand Schultz, and Alex Birnie.

WATCH: Charles Tuthill Memorial Celebration

Maria Aitken speaks at the memorial celebration for Charles Tuthill, September 2017

Our Leadership Team

From Left: Alex Birnie, Managing Director; Michael Mastro, Lisa Rothe, Grace Zandarski, Co-Artistic Directors
In June of 2017, following the passing of Charles Tuthill, Armand Schultz, chair of the board of The Actors Center, announced four appointments, including Alex Birnie as Managing Director, and a trio of interim Co-Artistic Directors, Michael Mastro, Lisa Rothe, and Grace Zandarski, who have overseen the artistic programming this season.

Welcoming 28 New Members 

This Fall, The Actors Center was also pleased to welcome 28 new company members. These included: Caroline Aaron, Josiah Bania, LaTonya Borsay, Orlagh Cassidy, James Chen, Denise Cormier, Ethan Dubin, Bree Elrod, Jake Epstein, Matthew Goodrich, Robert David Grant, Annie Henk, Joe Holt, Clark Jackson, Eva Kaminsky, Erik Liberman, Tom Lipinski, Kathryn Markey, Beth McGuire, Sepideh Moafi, Alex Morf, Rosemary Quinn, Nikkole Salter, Emily Skeggs, Tim Thomas, Benjamin Thys, Kathleen Turco-Lyon, and Damian Young.

View Our Current Membership

Member Profile: Welker White

How did you first discover The Actors Center?

I joined The Actors Center about 10 years ago. I heard about it through Jane Nichols—who I didn’t know at the time but a friend put me in touch when I was looking for an acting class that would fulfill my desire to reconnect with joy and freedom in acting. Jane suggested I make an application to The Actors Center. Jane’s workshops remain among my favorites. They are truly joyful.

Is there a class that stands out for you during your time at The Actors Center?

There are so many moments from classes that I carry with me. But I’d have to say that the biggest take-away from The Actors Center for me is not the particular teachers or methodologies per se, but the steadfast commitment I observe in my fellow actors each time I take or observe a class. Time and time again I see actors taking risks and pushing through fear that I often feel overwhelmed by. Working alongside actors who open themselves up fully to discovery—with the potential for failure as well as growth—has taught me as much as anything.

What have you been working on recently?

I’m currently shooting Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. The project has been so meaningful. Goodfellas was one of the first films I ever worked on and remains one of the richest professional experiences of my life. To get to work with Scorsese again nearly 30 years later is such a treat. He creates an environment of real collaboration. Scorsese is a true master of the form and to watch him work is spellbinding. I’ve taught acting for many years now, and for the last few years I’ve put my focus on teaching Screen Acting. Deepening my understanding of the medium has become a real passion. I’ve loved having this moment of intersection between my two professional pursuits.

Welker White has worked with esteemed directors such as Martin Scorsese, Peter Weir, Roger Michell, Kevin Smith, Ed Burns, Ryan Murphy, Griffin Dunne, Chris Rock, and Nora Ephron. She’s appeared in many film and TV projects: GoodFellas, Dead Poet’s Society, This Is My Life, Eat Pray Love, Morning Glory, I Think I Love My Wife, Sex and the City, Smash, Law and Order, and the virtual reality series Invisible, to name a few.  Welker has also originated roles by major playwrights such as Lisa Kron, John Patrick Shanley, Craig Lucas, Mac Wellman, Howard Korder, David Ives, Amy Freed, Joanna Murray Smith, and many others.

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