Justine (she/her) is a professional actor, singer, director, and vocal director and has been working in theatre education since 2008. While attending Cal Poly Pomona for acting, she took a course focusing on creating a community based (helping a community create their own work) performance with a local low-income community of high school students. Growing up in theatre, Justine knew how much the arts helped shape her in life, but being able to see these students, who were not theatre kids, embrace the arts and find a way to tell the stories that were important to them, from depression and eating disorders to peer pressure and parties, and have a safe place to explore and express themselves sparked her in unanticipated ways.
Through the years, Justine’s passion for theatre education has grown while working with students of all ages. She also enjoys 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 the vocal instrument to impart proper singing techniques, as well as help 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.
Before coming to Dragon and Redwood City Youth Theatre, Justine worked at California Theatre Center. It was with CTC that she found a knack, and a love, for administrative organization and helping team members with their projects and making sure everyone had the tools and resources to be successful. At the end of the day, Justine is most satisfied when she knows her work helped others move forward at work or in life and is able to snuggle with her husband, and two daughters (one fur, one human).
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Bora “Max” Koknar (he/him) is a Turkish-born actor, director, writer, educator, producer and the Co-Artistic Director of the Dragon. In his professional career of 15+ years, Max has entertained over 500,000 people as a performer; produced a touring program serving over 100,000 children a year across the west coast; founded an education program designed to increase language fluency and communication skills of 100s of at risk youth in partnership with local elementary schools and the Ohio State University; created site specific and immersive experiences entertaining 1000s of people in partnership with venues including the SF MOMA, Fort Mason, and San Jose Japan Town with Epic Immersive; and collaborated with international tech giants such as Google, Apple,Facebook, Box, Intuit, Genentech, and Paradox Interactive as director, performer, executive coach, training facilitator and experience designer. Inquiries about corporate workshops and team builders please contact Max.
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Alika U. Spencer-Koknar (she/her) is a native to the Bay Area who graduated from Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in 2006. She is honored to be working alongside her husband, Bora “Max” Koknar as Co-Artistic Directors of Dragon Theatre. She has performed throughout the peninsula with various Bay Area theater companies including; Dragon Productions as Ephonia Rigstone in Shoggoths on the Veldt, Judith in Equivocation, Boshka/Magda Goebbels in Cirque Exotique Du Monde, with Northside Theater Company as Maureen in The Beauty Queen Of Leenane, with Renegade Theatre Experiment as Hannah in the South Bay Premiere of Collapse, with City Lights as Johnna Monevata In August: Osage County with City Lights Theater Company and Alice Bloomfield in Kinan Valdez’s production of Zoot Suit with El Theatro Campesino.
As a performer, Alika also focuses on creating new and devised works. She has created self produced works and collaborated with companies like Golden Thread, Bindlepunks, foolsFury, First Person Travel, and Epic Immersive. Pieces she has worked on have been embraced by the local community and have been so well received that multiple extensions have been made to shows. Alika also teaches theater to youth throughout the Bay Area and has worked as an educator with companies like Broadway by the Bay, Tabard Theatre Company, California Theater Center, and Enacte. For press or donation inquiries please email Alika.
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