Young Playwrights' Theater inspires young people to realize the power of their own voices.

YPT's 2016-17 Teaching Artists

YPT's 2016-17 Teaching Artists

Kathleen Akerley is an actor, director, playwright and teacher, and the Artistic Director of Longacre Lea.  She has premiered plays at Theater Alliance (Night Falls on the Blue Planet), Sideshow Theatre (Tyrant and Theories of the Sun), SourceFest (Feetand 1,952 Miles), as well as short plays, one-offs and readings at eXtreme eXchange, Hope Operas, Rorschach's MythAppropriations and Theatre J's 5x5 Series.  At Longacre Lea she has premiered Fear, Bones in Whispers, Pol Pot & Associates LLP, Goldfish Thinking and her original adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle."  She is currently in post-production of the film version of her play Something Past in Front of the Light.



Audrey Bertaux is a professional actor and teaching artist.   She holds an MFA in Classical Acting from the Academy for Classical Acting.  Recent credits include Folger Theatre (Julius Caesar (U/S)), Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Annapolis Shakespeare Company (Hamlet), The Source Festival (A Bid to Save the World), Filament Theatre (Orpheus, From the Circle), Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (The Grapes of Wrath, Sense and Sensibility), and The Heartland Actors Repertory Theatre (The Two Gentlemen of Verona).  Audrey is also a teaching artist with Round House Theatre, Educational Theatre Company and Chesapeake Shakespeare Company.  She believes deeply in the power of language and story to change lives.


Cecilia Cackley is a puppeteer and playwright based in Washington, DC. She is the artistic director of the company Wit's End Puppets and her bilingual children's plays have been presented by GALA Hispanic Theatre. Cecilia is an affiliated teaching artist with Imagination Stage, The Theatre Lab, Encore Stage & Studio, Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and Young Playwrights’ Theater. Internationally, she has performed or taught workshops in Canada, Armenia, Guatemala and El Salvador. She is a proud company member of GALA Hispanic Theatre and Young Playwrights’ Theater. 



Naomi Cohen is a bilingual teaching artist and actor in the DC metro area. She holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Maryland, College Park. Most recently, she was the Institutional Development Apprentice at Imagination Stage, where she also got the opportunity to teach in the Early Childhood programming and work with the outreach initiative, ¡Óyeme! She is positively thrilled to be returning to YPT this year!   





Alina Collins Maldonado is an actress and teaching artist based in the DC metro area. Locally she has performed in productions with The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Rep Stage, Forum Theatre, Theater Alliance, GALA Hispanic Theatre, and 1st Stage. As a theater based educator she is a resident teaching artist with the Smithsonian's Tools of Discovery, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Imagination Stage and GALA Hispanic Theatre. 





Joan Cummins is a dramaturg, director and teaching artist working in new plays and interactive theater. She is also a public historian, working to make history accessible to the public through interactive experiences and performance. Locally, she has worked with dog & pony dc, President Lincoln's Cottage, The Welders, Signature Theatre, Pinky Swear Productions, the Capital Fringe Festival, Ford's Theater and the Kennedy Center. She grew up in the DC area and has been teaching with YPT since spring 2015. 




Suzanne Edgar is happy to return to YPT in a new role. She was a member of the acting company in YPT Express Tours 2006-2008, and various readings since then. Suzanne has also worked as an actor with Flying V, Kennedy Center TYA, Keegan, American Century, Live Garra, Unknown Penguin, and Inkwell Theaters. Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Music in musical theater and a Masters degree in special education. She taught in DC public and charter schools for six years, and currently works to promote early literacy with the Literacy Lab! When she's not acting or teaching, Suzanne is a birthday party princess!  




Paige Goodwin is delighted to work with Young Playwright's Theater this year in a new role!  She has volunteered in classrooms, assisting students with their writing with YPT for the past two years, and has served as a dramaturge for the 2016 New Play Festival. As a playwright, Paige's works have been performed by the Weekday Players at the University of Maryland, and she had a ten-minute play published through the League for Innovation. She recently graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in English and Creative Writing.




Drew Kopas has been an actor and teacher in the DC area for seven years. He has performed with Shakespeare Theatre Company, Olney Theatre Center, Rep Stage, Everyman Theatre, Clown Cabaret, We Happy Few, Constellation Theatre and Faction of Fools, the latter two of which Drew is an associated artist. He toured America with the National Players, and Ireland with Keegan Theatre.  He holds an MFA in acting from Western Illinois University.




Sam Mauceri is a director, playwright, theatre educator and actor in the DC area. Their plays have been produced by the Weekday Players, and as part of the D.C. One-Minute Play Festival, the Capital Fringe Festival and the NextNOW Fest Alumni Play Commission. Her directing credits include Andy’s Summer Playhouse, the Capital Fringe Festival, the Weekday Players and assistant directing at Roundhouse Theatre. In addition to YPT, Sam is a teaching artist at Imagination Stage, with focuses on early childhood creative drama and improv. They hold a BA in theatre from the University of Maryland.




Jonathan M. Rizzardi is an actor, vocalist, and teaching artist new to the DC area. After earning his B.A. and M.A.T. at St. Mary's College of Maryland, he has made developing innovative arts education programs for at-risk and underserved students his focus as an artist and educator. He teaches with Round House Theatre, as a guest artist with Carroll and St. Mary’s County Public Schools, and is the Founding Artistic Director of The Bell Tower Theatre, which houses teen intensive programs in Southern Maryland focused on fusing classical acting and devised theatre in performance.




Khaleshia Thorpe-Price has worked as an arts educator and manager for over 15 years. As an artist, she co-wrote A Journey with Jazz, an interactive performance experience for young audiences, for the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts. She performs in this production with the Wolf Trap Jazz Trio. She is the host for the Music Box Family Concert Series with members of the BSO at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and she directs performances in the Folger Shakespeare Children's Festival. As a teaching artist, Khalesia has facilitated residencies and workshops for children and adults for many arts organizations including Wolf Trap, Arena Stage, Young Playwrights’ Theater, Young Audiences of Maryland, Folger Shakespeare Library, Shakespeare Theater Company and M-NCPP. As an arts manager, she has coordinated workshops and residencies for thousands of students and educators in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. She partnered with many organizations including the United States Department of State, the National Portrait Gallery and ZERO to THREE to provide unique arts learning experiences for all ages. In addition, she managed enrichment and academic afterschool programs for D.C. Public Schools. She earned an MA in Arts Management from the University of Central Florida and a BA in Theater Arts from Morgan State University.


Teaching Artist Michele Vicino works frequently with Imagination Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company and Round House Theater. Previously, Michele was an Elementary School Teacher with MCPS, and the Theatre and Choral Arts teacher at Archbishop Carroll High School in NE DC, where she established a new Theatre Program. In addition to her TA work, Michele is a singer, actor, director and music director for school programs, local theaters and Levine Music. She holds an MA in Theatre Education from The Catholic University of America. This is Michele’s first season working for Young Playwrights' Theater.


More 2016-17 Teaching Artists coming soon!