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Performance of Id​entity: Past and Present Voices Meet​


applications are still being accepted!

Embody performance of identity through the Linklater Voice Progression, movement, and heightened text.

  • Develop vocal power by exploring your breath, vocal range, body, and resonance and free your voice through the Linklater Voice Progression.
  • Learn from an Alexander Certified teacher and move with economy and creativity
  • Create devised performance pieces using release-based movement as a foundation for creative physical storytelling.
  • Find a strong connection to your audience through the power of personal and universal imagery.
  • Work with award-winning Latinx playwright Octavio Solis and write your own performance of identity pieces for public performance
  • This class will culminate in a public performance of student work.


Undergraduate: DRAMA 424, 3 units
Graduate/Post-baccalaureate: DRAMA 624, 3 units




Actors, theatre teachers, and performance artists who want to cultivate voice and movement skills for the stage and other professional mediums. Theatre majors at the undergraduate, graduate, and post graduate levels are also welcome. Those who want to explore the power of heightened text of the past to write and imagine lyrical performance pieces for the present.


  1. Submit a letter of interest (one page maximum) stating your experience with acting, voice, and movement training. Also in the letter, state how this class aligns with your interest in creating a performance of identity piece. What is your unique story? Why do you desire to tell it? What do you hope the audience learns from seeing your performance? Include a performance or professional resume and a headshot/picture.
  2. Submit/upload the materials listed in step one when you apply online by June 7​, 2021.


Professor Marie Ramirez Downing

Guest Artists

Natsuko Ohama

Natsuko Ohama –

One of the premier voice teachers in the world, Natsuko Ohama trained under legendary Master Kristin Linklater at the Working Theatre in New York. She is a founding member and permanent faculty of Shakespeare and Company, a senior artist at Pan Asian Rep New York, a certified Joy of Phonetics teacher trained by Louis Colaianni and was the Director of Training at the National Arts Center of Canada. She has taught at numerous institutions all over North America, including NYU, Cal Arts, Columbia University, the Sundance Institute. Internationally has taught in Stromboli Italy, Istanbul Turkey, Zurich Switzerland, Shanghai China as well as in Orkney Scotland at the KVLC. She has an extensive workshop and private teaching practice in Los Angeles and has coached numerous productions at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, and the Wallis Annenberg theatre. A Drama Desk nominated actress, she has portrayed roles ranging from Juliet to Lady Macbeth from Hamlet to Prospero (Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company). Her film and TV appearances include the action film Speed, the cult series Forever Knight, and Pirates of the Caribbean 2. Favorite stage roles, Imelda Marcos in Dogeaters, Winnie in Beckett’s Happy Days, and she was in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Company 2018. Ms. Ohama's play Geisha of the Gilded Age was performed by her at Summer Arts 2019. She heads the voice progression for the MFA Acting Program at USC.

Sheila Bandyopadhyay

Sheila Bandyopadhyay –

Sheila Bandyopadhyay is a director, movement specialist and teaching artist who specializes in physical theater, devised work, and Shakespeare. Sheila has directed and created shows featured at the West End Theater, the 72nd St Theater Lab, The Brick, the Boston Center for the Arts, and the Minneapolis and Montreal Fringe Festivals. Sheila is the Head of Movement at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she regularly teaches, coaches, and directs. She has served as a movement director and coach for productions for the Humanist Project, AADA, NYU Gallatin, and FSU/Asolo among others. Performance credits include work with the New England Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare East, Shakespeare & Company, and the Humanist Project among others. Shiela has an M.A. in Movement and Physical Performance from New York University, and a B.A. in Theater Arts, from Brandeis University. She completed Dell’Arte International Physical Theater Studies, Actor Training Program and is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique.

Octavio Solis

Octavio Solis –

Octavio Solis is a playwright and director whose works Quixote Nuevo, Mother Road, Hole in the Sky, Alicia’s Miracle, Se Llama Cristina, John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven, Ghosts of the River, Lydia, June in a Box, Gibraltar, The Ballad of Pancho and Lucy, The Seven Visions of Encarnación, Dreamlandia, El Otro, Prospect, El Paso Blue, Santos & Santos, La Posada Mágica, Prospect and Man of the Flesh have been mounted across the country at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre, Magic Theatre SF, Center Theatre Group, Theatre @ Boston Court, California Shakespeare Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, INTAR, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Dallas Theater Center, South Coast Repertory Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Cornerstone Theatre, Kitchen Dog Theatre, Shakespeare Dallas, Shadowlight Productions, Mixed Blood Theatre Company, Circle X Theatre Company, Tides Theatre, El Teatro Campesino, Teatro Vista, Teatro Dallas, Teatro Visión, Venture Theatre, Thick Description and Campo Santo at Intersection for the Arts. His collaborative works include ​ Cloudlands, a musical co-written with Adam Gown and Shiner, co-written with Erik Ehn. Solis has received the 2019 Distinguished Achievement In The American Theatre award from the William Inge Center for the Arts, the 2018 Imagen Award for his consultancy on Disney-Pixar’s Coco, the 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Texas State University Black and Latino Playwrights Conference, the 2014 Pen Center Literary Award for Drama, the United States Artists Fellowship for 2012, the 2003 National Latino Playwriting Award, the 2000-2001 National Theatre Artists Residency from TCG and the Pew Charitable Trust, the 1998 TCG/NEA Theatre Artists in Residence Grant, the 1998 McKnight Fellowship grant from the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, the 1995-97 Playwriting Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the 1994 Will Glickman Playwright Award. Solis was recently inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters and is a Thornton Wilder Fellow for the MacDowell Colony, New Dramatists alum and member of the Dramatists Guild.

His new book, Retablos: Stories From A Life Lived Along The Border, published by City Lights Publishers, received the 2018 Silver Indies Award for Book of the Year and has been chosen by the National Reading Group Month’s Committee for the Great Group Reads 2019 Selections.

Lisa Wolpe

Lisa Wolpe –

Lisa Wolpe is a crit​​ically acclaimed actor, director, writer and producer. Her work has been seen at PlayMakers Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Company, C​al Shakes, and more. She founded the all-female multicultural Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company in 1993, where for 23 years she produced, directed, and performed many iconic roles including Hamlet, R​ichard III, Angelo, Leontes, Romeo, Shylock, and Iago. She has been a leader in the movement for gender parity in the areas of Shakespeare and Gender for several decades. Her hit solo show Shakespeare & the Alchemy of Gender, directed by Laurie Woolery, has toured universities and Shakespeare Festivals around the U.S., and has played internationally at Prague Shakespeare Company; Bremen Shakespeare Company; in London at The Rose Theatre, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, & King’s College; at Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford U.K.; Warwick University, U.K.; Vancouver, B.C.; and St​ratford, Ontario. ​

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