We know the transformative power that performing arts education can have on youth and teens. Our classes go beyond teaching the typical acting, singing, and dancing skills, and instill life lessons of creativity, passion, and collaboration. At Dragon Youth Theatre, all are welcome, and each student has a safe space to explore, discover, and grow their artistic skill set while connecting with their peers and mentors. We know that arts education can change lives. Will you join us?
Dragon Youth Theatre began as a hybrid program in the summer of 2019 between Dragon Theatre and Broadway By the Bay called Redwood City Youth Theatre. These two companies performed across the street from one another and decided to come together to share their unique theatre disciplines for a well rounded youth education program. While both companies had hosted a variety of youth classes or camps as one-off events, this collaboration would bring year round theatre education for both musical and non-musical focused students. Although the two companies no longer collaborate, we are honored to continue bringing our community a multifaceted theatre education focused on the growth of our students.
Justine Bechler joined Redwood City Youth Theatre and Dragon Theatre as the Education Director in March of 2019. Previously she ran the education department at California Theatre Center. She is a professional actor, singer, director, and vocal director and has a passion for theatre education for all ages and mentoring teenagers to be leaders and future teaching artists through internships. Justine is extremely dedicated to the success of each of her students as individuals and as an ensemble. She loves passing on the knowledge of how the vocal instrument functions to impart proper singing techniques and helping actors overcome their challenges while simultaneously instilling confidence to students. Justine loves watching theatre bring people from all different backgrounds together and collaborate towards a common goal. She is very excited to work with the students in this community to help them grow to be the best they can be!
Elizabeth Berg has worked with numerous companies in the Bay Area and beyond, including the California Theatre Center (where she was the Education Coordinator), Starting Arts, StarStruck Theatre, and Portola Valley Theatre Conservatory. She also spent 3 years as the drama teacher and theatre director for Ashland Middle School in Massachusetts. She taught every child in the school and ran the after-school theatre program, directing two productions each year and leading a company of up to 80+ cast and crew members. Highlights among the 20+ productions she’s directed include The Wizard of Oz, The Music Man JR., Macbeth, Seussical JR., The Phantom Tollbooth, Amelia Earhart: Flights of Fancy, and The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Massachusetts premiere). Elizabeth holds an M.A. in Theatre Education from Emerson College and a B.A. from Whitman College.
Stefan Fisher has been involved in the performing arts since the age of six when his father gave him an old box of magic tricks. For twenty-one years Stefan was an actor, director, playwright, and instructor with California Theatre Center, where he appeared in over a hundred productions and directed student actors in numerous Conservatory productions, many of which he wrote. The last three springs, he directed the Middle School production at Woodside Priory with the most recent play being recorded via Zoom and streamed online. He has acted with Epic Immersive, where he played: a rather persnickety White Rabbit in two different sequels to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the genial pirate Smee in a Peter Pan sequel, and the nefarious pirate Blackbeard in a prequel to Peter Pan, all at secret locations in San Francisco. Stefan has also recently worked with EnActe Theatre Company in their productions of The Parting in which he played Cyril Radcliffe and The Kingdom of Cards as the King of Cards. Stefan has also taught for Peninsula Youth Theatre and Portola Valley Theatre Conservatory. In his younger days, he traveled and performed with several circuses as a juggler, tight-wire walker, unicyclist, and master of ceremonies. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Dramatic Art from University of California, Davis and a Teaching Credential from Sacramento State University.
Elana Hershman is a Bay Area-born actor and creative with a big spot in her heart for art and people. These passions led her to UCLA, where she recently graduated with her B.A. in Theater. She’s well-versed (pun intended) in the world of classical theater and just concluded her service as the Director of Education and Outreach for the Shakespeare Company at UCLA. She loves creating positive, energized class experiences for young creatives of all ages and has worked with K-12 students in a variety of settings. Recent acting credits include Queen Elizabeth in Richard III and Venus in Galatea, a new play.
Sara Tahirovic is a student at Pitzer College and is in her fourteenth year of participating in the theatre arts. Throughout her theatre history, Sara has been an actor, director, stage-manager, and instructor. She first experienced theatre education as a member of the Leadership Team at California Theatre Center where she was an assistant teacher and joined the RWCYT family last year as the site manager and guest instructor for the Theatre Arts Academy summer program. Sara loves getting to know the students and creating an inclusive environment in which all are bound to grow as performers and individuals while having fun! Growing up in the arts, Sara remembers how much she learned as an artist and how theatre skills helped mold her into the person she is today. As one of RWCYT’s summer instructors, she is very excited to work with your students to help them grow and create an experience they can treasure!
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