Theater Workshops


Registration Opens SEPT 1st.
Open to all 6th-8th Graders
Classes held Thursdays 3:30-5:30 at White Hill in Room 601
No Volunteer Hours, No Performances
Take one class or take them all
$25 a class / $180 for all 8

Students learn about the building blocks of professional theatre, review Western theatre history, learn common theatre jargon, and walk through the jobs in a professional theatrical setting. Seasoned theatre students will learn what it takes to thrive as a professional. This is an in-depth workshop, intended for students at all levels.

Students learn about the ‘Father of Modern Acting’—Constantin Stanislavki. Kept hidden in Moscow until the fall of the Berlin wall, Stanislavski’s system is often confused with its infamous American misinterpretation—Method Acting. Ms. Davis studied with Stanislavki’s protégés at the Moscow Art Theatre and will teach students from the same curriculum, including: character development, sense memory, realism in performance, endowment of properties, and full-body acting. Stanislavski’s system empowers students to craft believable and engaging characters.

AUDITIONING – Shannon Davis
Students learn what it takes to land the role. Approaching the audition process from the perspective of the casting table, they learn the importance of headshots, monologues, cold readings, dressing for success, and being their best selves. Students learn the ‘secrets’ of what the director is really looking for. This workshop is typically taught as a culminating course for university-level actors preparing to enter the professional world. It has been specifically tailored to middle school students with a special section on the challenges posed by school production auditions. 

This workshop is college-level curriculum made accessible to middle school students. Students learn the roots of Augusto Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed,” discover diversity through games, and explore theatre’s power for social change. Through play and movement, students create a safe space to share their truths.This class is student-led. The students will decide what complex issues they want to discuss, not the instructor. The instructor will provide guidelines and moderate conversations to be safe. Students and parents should expect topics ranging from bullying and violence to race and gender.

YES director and Drake drama teacher Jasper Thelin will lead this improv class, including brain, body and voice warmups, and the Improvisor’s Prime Directive. The focus will be on actual ensemble scene creation.

Students will learn the basics of physical theater through exercises in weight sharing, contact improv, Suzuki and Viewpoints training. By learning to approach text physically, students will gain new perspectives on character development and develop tools to improve their physical presence and confidence on stage. Work will be done in small groups and with partners. No experience necessary. Come and put the “play” back into theater!

Students will learn about performing improvisation on a stage, including a grounding in the fundamental “rules” of improvisation; a review of common improv terms and finally, an exploration of improvisation on stage through open and structured scenes.
Student with little or no improv experience will get a good introduction. Students with more experience will have an opportunity to reinforce good habits and deepen their experience of improvisation.

VOICE FOR THEATER – Melissa Tanner
With the support of good posture and breathing vocal clarity and flexibility can be achieved through the effective use of: Articulation, Audibility, Clarity, Tone and Vocal dynamics. These are just a few of the many practices you will learn to become an expert in your craft! 



Shannon R. Davis
Shannon is a professional Director, Actor, & Educator. She is known for her work in experiential theatre for cultural and social awareness in the classroom and onstage. She explores theatrical storytelling as a tool to provoke meaningful dialogue and inspire positive change. As an Educator, Shannon has worked around the world, employing a growth-mindset, student-led curriculum. She currently works for the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where she is a resident Teaching Artist with their School of Theatre. Recent collaborators include, but are not limited to: Shotgun Players, Theatre of Yugen, Facebook Research, Fogg Theatre, Microsoft Research, StageWrite, Bay Area Children’s Theater, SF Fringe, Forward Theatre Co., Renaissance Theaterworks, International School of Asia Karuizawa (Japan), UW-Madison, & Children’s Theatre of Madison. Education: MFA-Directing, MFA-Acting, Stanislavski Intensive- MXAT Harvard, BA-Theatre/Voice.

Jasper Thelin
Jasper has directed ten plays for YES Theater. He has a BA in Theater Arts from UC Santa Cruz. He played Sir Toby  Belch in “Twelfth Night” with the Inverness Shakespeare project this summer, and last year played Francis Flute/Thisbe in their “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He toured with the Traveling Lantern Company, played Hamlet for the Guerilla Shakespeare Company and played Josh in Stapleton Theater’s “Big: The Musical.” A founding member of The Original Action Pack improv comedy troupe, he has taught drama at Wavy Gravy’s camp Winnarainbow for the past 26 years,  and is currently in his 18th year teaching beginning drama and art in Drake High School’s Revolution Of Core Knowledge program.

Andrea L. Hart
Andrea is a writer, director, performer and teacher. She has taught drama and directed plays at many Bay Area schools, including White Hill and Drake. Her latest play, “dark is a different beast” premiered to sold-out houses in San Francisco in 2016. Her work has been supported by grants from Puffin Foundation West, Theater Bay Area, Venturous Theater Fund and has been developed at Great Plains Theatre Conference, the MacDowell Colony and CounterPulse in San Francisco. She creates devised, site-specific theater with Ochlos Theatre Lab. She is currently the visual and performing arts teacher at Ring Mountain Day School in Mill Valley. Find out more at:

Drew Merit
Drew produces, directs and performs improvisation and teaches improv to youth and adults including organizational groups. He led BATS Improv’s Young Audiences Program which produced improvised assembly performances throughout the Bay Area. The practice of improvising hones creative skills; supports collaborative creativity; and builds confidence. Drew has performed with BATS Improv, Big City Improv, and Secret Improv Society (which he founded in 2009). He founded Improv Marin in 2016 where he’s working to support a growing community of improvisers in Marin with training and performance opportunities.

Melissa Tanner
Melissa has over 20 years of experience in performing arts. In the last 10 years she has focused and honed her talents as a Director of Performing Arts for youths ages 18months to 18years. She feels lucky to say that for the last five of those ten years she has been able to teach here in Marin, where she grew up.She has spent most of her life working with children in many different settings. She has worked as a camp counselor, a nanny, a performing arts teacher on tour and is a willing mentor to all of the kids in her life. She is thrilled to be back in the bay area after a three year stay in London, England where she studied at The American Musical Theatre Academy. Whilst in England she performed with Progress Theatre Company as Curly’s Wife in Of Mice And Men. Before moving to England Melissa toured the UK and Mid West with The Young Americans. They provide a musical outreach program for children ages 6-19 years, consisting of classes in Singing, Acting and Dance. She was also a part of the award winning A Capella group Til Dawn. Before coming back to Marin, Melissa studied Acting and Musical Theatre at The American Musical And Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles, CA.

She believes that: “Children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.

Show them all the beauty they possess inside.”- Whitney Houston