General information


Mary E. Anderson (MFA 2006, PhD 2009)

Darren Patrick Blaney (PhD 2009)

A native of rural New England and graduate of Reed College in Oregon, Darren Blaney is a teacher, essayist, playwright, solo performer, actor, and director. He graduated with a PhD in Dramatic Art with a graduate minor in Critical Theory from UC Davis in 2009. His doctoral dissertation was entitled: ”Staging the Social and Cruising the Crisis: A Genealogy of Utopian Aspiration in U.S. Queer Theater from the 1960s to the Present.”

While still finishing his doctoral dissertation, Darren taught acting, play-writing, and queer theater at Pomona College, one of the nation’s preeminent private liberal arts colleges. While working at Pomona from 2007-2010, Darren also produced an annual festival of 10-Minute plays, taught for three summers as a Critical Inquiry faculty in an interdisciplinary college-prep program for gifted minority students, and directed an acclaimed production of Lanford Wilson’s Fifth of July. While a graduate student, Darren taught acting and theater history at UC Santa Cruz; and drama, performance, and humanities at UC Davis. Darren was a recipient of the Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship and was a semi-finalist for the ACLS New Faculty Fellows Program. 

Darren currently teaches in the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Miami, Florida. See his CV and read more on his blog, at

Rebecca Michelle David (MFA 2009)

Ron G. Davis (PhD 2009)

Wenting Gao (MFA 2009)

Lynne Rose Giovannetti (MFA 2009)

Judy Halebsky (PhD 2009)

Hope Medina (PhD 2009)

Patricia Elise Miller (MFA 2009)

Hope Mirlis (MFA 2009)

Timothy Orr (MFA 2009)

Nancy Pipkin-Hutchinson (MFA 2009)

Christine Nina Samson (MFA 2009)

Marco “Tony” Shayne (MFA 2009)

Jesse Merz (MFA 2008)

Jesse Merz recently accepted the position of Assistant Professor of Acting at Wayne State University / Hilberry Repertory Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. 2009 marks his 13th year as Artistic Director of the Columbia Gorge School of Theatre, a summer theatre school in White Salmon, Washington. He is currently producing the new musical The Gospel According to Tammy Faye in New York, which recently played at the Manhattan Theatre Club Studio starring Tony-nominee Sally Mayes and directed by Mindy Cooper. He also directed American Homefront and acted in Wild Dogs at the Manhattan Theatre Club Studio. He has begun work on his first book on the Meisner Technique.
Most importantly, Jesse is a proud papa and devoted husband.

Rinat Nevo (MA 2008)

Jeffrey L. Nyhoff (PhD 2008)

Randy Symank (MFA 2008)

Robert Broadfoot (MFA 2007)

Robert Broadfoot is a San Francisco-based scenic designer and works prolifically in both regional and Bay Area professional theater His local work includes critically acclaimed designs for “Fences” at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre and “Musical of Musicals” at Center Repertory. His scenic design for “Bot” at The Magic Theatre won the 2007 Bay Area Critic’s Circle Award and his scenery was featured in “The Hasty Heart” at Pacific Resident Theatre, the 2007 LA Drama Critic’s Circle Award winner for best revival. Major regional projects include “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at San Jose Rep and “Doubt” for the Nevada Conservatory. Robert is a member of United Scenic Artists local 829 and regularly assists prominent Broadway designers Douglas W. Schmidt and John Iacovelli. A portfolio of his work is available at

Hilary Bryan (MFA 2007)

Hilary Bryan is currently a graduate student in Performance Studies at UC Davis, working on her PhD in Practice as Research. She is a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Theatre & Dance.

Emily Davis (MFA 2007)

Martin Flynn (MFA 2007)

Since completing his MFA at U.C.Davis in June 2007, Martin has been the resident Scenic Design Associate for American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco where he worked on their entire 07-08 main stage season as well as several shows for their side stages at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He is currently preparing to start work on the opening show of the ‘08-’09 season, Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll which will make it’s west coast premiere at A.C.T. in September ‘09. From January through May of 2009, Martin will be taking a leave of absence from A.C.T. to be a visiting Assistant Professor in the M.F.A. Scenic Design program at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. In addition to his M.F.A., Martin previously earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Syracuse University in 1992, and an A.A.S. in Architectural Engineering from the State University of New York in 1988.

Keith Hennessey (MFA 2007)

Keith Hennessey is an award-winning performer, choreographer, teacher and organizer. He was born in Canada, lives in San Francisco and tours internationally. His interdisciplinary research engages improvisation, spectacle, ritual and public action as tools for investigating and revisioning political realities
Hennessy founded and directs Circo Zero, a contemporary circus, in intimate spectacles for stage and street. He was a member of the collaborative performance companies: Contraband (85-94), CORE (95-98), and Cahin-caha, cirque batard (98-02). His work is featured in several books and documentaries, including How To Make Dances in an Epidemic (David Gere, Univ of Wisconsin: 2004), Gay Ideas (Richard Mohr, Beacon: 1992), and Dancers in Exile (RAPT Productions, 2000). Hennessy is a co-founder of 848 Community Space/CounterPULSE a thriving performance and culture space in San Francisco.

Recent awards include a Goldie (2007) and the Alpert/MacDowell Fellowship in Dance (2005). Recent commissions include Les Subsistances, Lyon (Homeless USA, 2005), Les Laboratoires, Paris (American Tweaker, 2006), FUSED (French-US Exchange in Dance), Centre Choreographique National, Belfort (Sol niger, 2007), Arsenic, Lausanne (Fat Crotch, 2008), and Lower Left Performance Co, San Diego (Gather, 2005). Keith¹s 2005-08 teaching includes University of San Francisco, New College of California, JFK University, UC Davis, dance and improvisation festivals in Budapest, Seattle, Stolzenhagen (Germany), Zipfest/Orvieto (Italy), Moab, Vienna/imPulsTanz, Moscow/TSEH, the Aerial Dance Festival (Boulder), and grass-roots workshops in Arcata, Chicago, Toronto, Victoria BC, Madison, and Earthdance (Northampton, MA).

Laura Hope (PhD 2007)

Claire Bennett (MFA 2006)

Claire Bennett has worked on the hit television show, “Modern Family” as assistant art director. The California Aggie interviewed her in March, 2011, when the show’s production team won the  prestigious Art Director’s Guild Award (read complete profile here). She is currently Production Designer on the show, and was nominated for a 2014 Emmy Award for her work as Production Designer on “Modern Family.”

Susannah Martin (MFA 2006)

Tom McCauley (MFA 2006)

Since 2006, Tom has been living in West Hollywood. From 2006 until 2007 he was an a casting associate to Talmadge Ragon at the American Film Institute. Tom has also acted in six films at AFI: Cinema One, Kathy’s Song, The Fighter, Ghengis Cohn, Bobby Fisher, and Mended Spectacle. At USC, Tom acted in two films, The Proposal and Memory Lane. In 2007-08 Tom signed with theatrical agent, Gar Lester and also with Joy Stevenson for management. Tom is on staff at The Actors Group as well as being a resident member of the theatre company. He played the role of Dr. Lewis on the saop opera, Days Of Our Lives. Currently, Tom has auditioned for the TV show Mad Men on AMC for the role of a priest, and was taken to producers for furthur consideration. Tom is auditioning for film and TV on a regular basis. Tom still loves the theatre most of all and hopes to be in a production very soon.

Shannon Rose Riley (PhD 2006)

Shannon Rose Riley is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar. She is Professor and Chair of the Department of Humanities and Coordinator of the Creative Arts Program at San José State University, where she teaches courses in Humanities, Creative Arts, and American Studies. She has a PhD in Performance Studies and Critical Theory from the University of California, Davis (2006), an MFA in Studio Art (Performance, Video, Installation) from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1998), a BFA in Sculpture and Art History from Maine College of Art (1995). She is the author of *Performing Race and Erasure: Cuba, Haiti, & US Culture, 1898-1940* (Palgrave 2016) and co-editor, with Lynette Hunter, of *Mapping Landscapes for Performance as Research: Scholarly Acts and Creative Cartographies* (Palgrave 2009). Her visual and performance works have been exhibited/staged internationally at numerous venues, including the ICA (Portland ME), Mobius (Boston), Randolph Street Gallery and Artemisia Gallery (Chicago), the Cushwa-Leighton Library (Notre Dame IN), Performance Studies International (PSi) in Mainz Germany (2001) and Stanford (2013), the *Festival Nacional de Pequeño Formato *(Santa Clara Cuba, 2006) and Month of Performance Art-Berlin (2013). She is also a long-standing core member of the Chicago-based sound/performance group, ONO.

David Beatty (MFA 2005)

In addition to acting, David is a director, writer and producer in both theater and film. His production company, Double Yellow Line Films, has produced eight short films and one feature. One of those films, Surviving New Year’s, was conceived, written and produced in association with five other UC Davis graduates. David lives and works in Los Angeles. You can find more information at See his filmography on IMDB.

Hester Chillingworth (MFA 2005)

Rebecca Redmond (MFA 2005)

Rebecca Redmond is a freelance costume designer. She has designed costumes for Mrs. Warren’s Profession with Shotgun Players in Berkeley, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare for the Marin Shakespeare Company, Electricidad at Sacramento Theater Company, Reckless at Folsom Lake College, Afghan Women and Loose Knit at Sacramento State College, as well as many productions at Capital Stage aboard the Delta King in Sacramento. Photos and a complete resume can be found at her website:

Melissa Baker (MFA 2003)

Brett Hadley (MFA 2003)

Brett Hadley graduated UCD in 2003 with an MFA in Theater Art. He is now running the Theater program at Union College in Lincoln, NE beginning next August. It’s a life-long dream of his and e believes that the education he received at UCD with the experiences that followed are big factors in making this possible.

From an alumni, thanks to the Theater dept. there for the amazing education and experiences I received at UCD. 

Nicole Schallig-Weil (MFA 2003)

Amy Avina (MFA 2002)

Amy Avina was the first graduate of the MFA program in Directing, in 2002. She worked with Sarah Pia Anderson on her thesis project as well as Anne Bogart, Kate Whoriskey, Annabel Arden, and Peggy Shannon.

Since graduation, Amy’s life has taken a decidedly non-theatrical turn. She spent two years teaching English and Drama at a local high school, then moved to Orange County where she became a High School Assistant Principal. In spring 2008 she will graduate from USC’s Rossier School of Education with an Ed.D in Educational Leadership.

Amy currently works as a high school administrator in Santa Ana Unified School District, however, theatre is still a big part of her life. She recently created a high school performing arts program and continues to see performances involving UC Davis alumni on a regular basis. Amy sees herself as a “director” of teachers, helping them become better instructors each day.

Amy has a beautiful daughter, Lily, with husband Frank Gutierrez. Amy can be reached at

Hanna Rahilly (MFA 2001)

Hanna Rahilly (MFA 2001) is an Adjunct Professor of Theatre at Piedmont Virginia Community College.  She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with her husband, Michael, and their three daughters.  She has been teaching theatre at the community college and university level for the past fifteen years.  Hanna also greatly enjoys acting, directing, and playwrighting.  She may be reached at

Lissa Ferreira (MFA 2000)

Lissa Ferreira is on the faculty of the Drama Department at Napa Valley College and is associate artistic director of the new Napa Valley Repertory Theatre, which she co-founded with her classmate Lisa de Bruin. The company’s first show was Alan Ayckbourn’s Table Manners directed by Domenique Lozano, who is also a founding member of the company and a former Voice & Speech teacher at UC Davis. Next was Noel Coward’s Hayfever. Lissa appeared in the Berkeley’s Transparent Theatre production of What Cats Know by Lisa Dillman, directed by Rebecca J Ennals (MFA ‘98) and also featuring Tom Clyde, Katharine Dunlop (MFA ‘00) and Steve Gallion.

John Lawton-Haehl (PhD 2000)

After completing his PhD in Theater History with a Designated Emphasis in Feminist Theory and Research, John Lawton-Haehl taught at UC Davis for several years. In 2002 and 2003 John directed the February 2002 five-star benefit show of The Vagina Monologues, sponsored by the UC Davis Women’s Resources and Research Center, the Department of Theatre and Dance, and the Campus Violence Prevention Program. John designed the costumes for the 2002 UC Davis Spring Dance Concert, an opulent production requiring more than 500 costume pieces, as well as the costumes for other productions at UC Davis and Foothill Theatre Company.

In recent years Lawton-Haehl has been teaching at Gavilan College, in Gilroy, where he directs the Theatre Department. Lawton-Haehl studied at the American Conservatory Theater and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Oxford University.

Anita McCann (MFA 2000, Acting)

McCann worked at the Royal National Theatre in London during the 2000-2001 season.

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