Tosha Alston
African Dance + Movement I for Actors
David Blixt
Theatre History + Stage Combat

An Artistic Associate of the Michigan Shakespeare Festival and A Crew Of Patches Theatre Company, David Blixt has designed violence for Steppenwolf, The Goodman, Writer’s Theatre, the Shakespeare Theatre of Washington D.C., First Folio Shakespeare, Artistic Home, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Rivendell, and Lifeline, among many others. Twice nominated for Joseph Jefferson Awards for Fight Direction, David is the resident Stage Combat Instructor at the Chicago High School For The Arts. The author of a dozen novels, David lives in Evanston and describes himself as “Actor, author, father, husband—in reverse order.”

Mark J Bracken Jr.
Director of Production

Mr. Bracken is an accomplished theater artist living in Chicago, even though he has Jersey blood flowing in his veins. He has been at ChiArts for the past 6 years serving as the Director of Production. He has been involved with arts education for over a decade, working with various youth organizations across the country. In addition to his technical theater credits, Mr. Bracken has directed productions at ChiArts as well as theaters throughout the Chicagoland area. He has also performed regionally in New York, New Jersey, and is about to step back on stage here in Illinois. Before leaving New Jersey, he had the privilege of working on Broadway as a stage management production assistant for Tommy Kail. He has designed at The Artistic Home (where he is also an Associate Artist), Mercury Theatre, Nothing Without a Company and Three Brothers Theatre to name a few.

Christian Helem

Christian Helem is a multi-hyphenate theatre artist whose belief is that if it doesn’t scare him a little it isn’t worth doing. The imaginative, musical and complex calls to him. As a playwright he has written: “tofu chitlin’ burrito supreme” (Stage Left Theater), apostles (UIC), and he is currently working on his new play “chronic”. His directing credits include: “The Little Things” (Pegasus Theater) “The Project(s)” (Stage Left Theater), “Marcus; or the Secret of the Sweet” (Pride Arts), 21 Chump Street: The Musical (Counter Collective), a queer version of The Glass Menagerie, and assistant directing for “Middle Passage” and “A View From the Bridge”. His acting credits include: Mr Franklin in Passing Strange, Matthias of Galilee in Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Doaker in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson. He is the Competition Director of the Chicago August Wilson Monologue Competition, Associate Board Chair at Jackalope Theater, and a 500 hour registered Yoga Teacher.

Risha Hill
Voice and Speech I + II + III

Risha Hill is a 2003 graduate of the MFA Acting program at the California Institute of the Arts. Risha taught in and around Los Angeles for seven years and moved to Chicago in 2014. She currently is a theater teaching artist in several organizations in the city and is now in her second year of teaching at ChiArts.

Kathy Scambiatterra
Acting III for Actors + Directing

Kathy Scambiatterra is Artistic Director and co-founder of The Artistic Home. Chicago acting credits include: Beaten, The American Plan, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Skin of Our Teeth, Look Homeward Angel, Juno and the Paycock, Natural Affection, Orpheus Descending (The Artistic Home); The Glass Menagerie, Nelson Algren Live, The Diary of Anne Frank (Steppenwolf); Broadway Bound (Drury Lane Oakbrook); A Flea in her Ear (Chicago Shakespeare); Romeo and Juliet (Goodman Theatre), among others. Regional credits: The Quick Change Room (Pacific Resident Theatre). TV/Film credits: Chicago PD, The Appointment, Draggage, Sin Collector, Into the Wake. She has received 4 leading role Jeff nominations for work in Sweet Bird of Youth, Natural Affection, Abundance, The School for Wives. As a director, she has helmed acclaimed, Jeff nominated and After Dark Award winning productions for The Artistic Home including: Waiting for Lefty, In the Boom Boom Room, Angel City, After the Fall, Street Scene, Peer Gynt, The Madwoman of Chaillot, The Petrified Forest, Modigliani, Days to Come, The Touch of the Poet, The Night of the Iguana. Other directing credits: The Copperhead (City Lit) Angel City, Welcome to the Moon and Other Plays (LA Dramalogue Award), A Christmas Carol (Pacific Resident Theater (LA). Ms. Scambiatterra is the director of the actor training program at The Artistic Home Studio. In addition, she has taught at The Steppenwolf School, Columbia College, Center Theater’s The Training Center, Chicago, IL; Carolyn Berry Studio, The Pacific Resident Theatre LA, CA; Director’s Symposium, US Army, Heidelberg, Germany; Screen Training Ireland, Dublin, Ireland; and currently at The Chicago High School for the Arts.

Nicole Scatchell
Ballet C + Musical Theatre Dance I + Musical Theatre Dance III

Nicole Scatchell holds a bachelor’s degree in Dance and a minor in Business Management, her teaching license to teach Dance K-12 in public schools and is currently pursuing a master’s in Counseling Psychology. Nicole has been a dedicated dance educator in CPS, domestically, and internationally for over 16 years. She is the Artistic Director of Chicago Dance Institute, on faculty at Chicago High School for the Arts, Harold Washington College, Joffrey Academy, and Dance Director of All City Performing Arts. Her choreography for ChiArt’s mainstage musical was nominated for Best Choreography through National High School Musical Theatre Awards. In partnership with WorldWide Orphans, Nicole has led and directed international programming in Haiti teaching local children and training local teachers in pedagogy. Nicole has trained with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, and Ballet Legere. She has performed with the International Ballet Ensemble and companies including BONEdanse, Zephyr Dance, David Dorfman, Dropshift Dance and has worked with choreographers such as Peter Carpenter, Reggie Wilson, Jan Bartosek, Tammy Thomas, Sean France, among others. She has performed for audiences across the U.S, Scotland, Italy, France, and Germany. She continues to perform professionally and is earning credentials to pursue her dream of integrating arts education, mental health, and community intervention.

Rachel Slavick
Musical Theatre Acting II + Acting IV + Advanced Movement

Rachel Slavick has been teaching acting for 24 years. Rachel is also faculty at The Theatre School of DePaul University and acts and directs in the Chicago theatre community. She is currently directing the second of The North Shore Trilogy, Pakalolo Sweet, having directed the first (Not One Batu) last summer and will direct all three next summer of 2020.

Jason Sperling
Acting I for Acting Majors + Acting III for Musical Theatre Majors

Jason Sperling works as an actor, singer, teacher, and director around Chicago, and has taught at ChiArts since 2011. He is an emeritus founding company member of PlayMakers Lab (f/k/a Barrel of Monkeys), a children’s writing and theater program, and worked with them for over twenty years. Mr. Sperling created and taught the drama program at St. Juliana School, as well as directing there for seven years; he taught and directed with the CAST program in Oak Park for ten years; he was a poet/educator with the Chicago Park District/Chicago Humanities Festival’s Words@Play program; and he has also taught or music directed for Beverly Arts Center, Raven Theatre, and Prologue Theatre. Additionally, Mr. Sperling has taught, directed, and music directed with Elmhurst Children’s Theatre since 2009, and is a past director of the Chicago Improv Festival’s Summer Theatre Camp. He has worked as a performer at theatres including Marriott, Drury Lane, Apple Tree, Northlight, Theatre at the Center, Illinois Theatre Center, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Noble Fool, and Ravinia.

Shawn Wallace
Ensemble Singing + Vocal Tech & Rep I + Keyboard Fundamentals

As keyboardist, Shawn has worked with Common, Ice Cube, Little Brother, Bobby Brown, Dwele, Johnny Gill, Jon B., Bilal, Estelle, Julie Dexter, Rene Neufville, Rakim, Eric Roberson, and Maggie Brown just to name a few.

Arrangement/Composition for Theatre includes Red Summer (with Shepsu Aakhu and Andy White, premiering Sept. 2022), Middle Passage (Lifeline Theatre Spring 2022), Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery (Pegasus Theatre Fall 2017), Lawd the CVS is Burning…a Gospel Musical Stage Play (MPACT 2015) and Warm on the Cooling Board (MPAACT 2014).

Sound Design credits include N (GLP Productions 2019), Single Black Female and Lady Day at Emmerson’s Bar and Grill (Congo Square Theatre 2018-2019). Commercial credits include Jet Magazine, Mississippi Rick’s Restaurant, Huffy Bicycles, Arby’s and Sprint.

Shawn Wallace’s teaching experience includes current work at Storycatchers Theatre, Lyric Opera’s Empower Youth Program, and past work as the Technical Theatre Program Lead at Mayo Elementary School.

Lauren Wells-Mann
Theatre Department Head + Diverse Playwrights & Scene Study + Voice & Speech I + Advanced Theatre & Camera Techniques

Lauren Wells-Mann is an actor, director, dancer, choreographer and arts educator. As a proud company member with MPAACT, she has had the pleasure of directing the following productions: Pulled Punches (BTAA and Black Excellence Award Nominee for Best Direction) Mother of the Dark Water (Jeff Nominee for Best Ensemble, Black Excellence Nominee for Best Production and Best Direction), By Association by Shepsu Aakhu (Black Excellence Nominee for Best Production) and various podcast plays. Assistant Director credits include: Upstate by Aaron Todd Douglass, directed by Carla Stillwell and Crowns by Regina Taylor, directed by Chuck Smith. Mrs. Wells-Mann holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theater/Acting (Columbia College Chicago) and a Masters in Secondary Education (Univ. of Phoenix). She began her professional acting career with Eta Creative Arts foundation. It was here that Lauren had the pleasure of working with esteemed directors such as Ilesa Duncan, Kemati Porter, Runako Jahi and Cheryl Lynn Bruce. She has also performed with companies such as Lookingglass, Black Ensemble, MPAACT, Harlem Theater Company, Healthworks Theater Company, and Victory Gardens to name a few. Mrs. Wells-Mann has been coaching competitive acting and speech events for the Illinois High School Association for 20 years. Under her direction, students have won numerous state and national championships in various acting and public speaking activities. Lauren Wells-Mann believes in the power of the arts and the importance of BIPOC artists having autonomy over their own narratives. It is a mission to which she is deeply committed.

Josh Zambrano
Department Assistant + MT Acting 1 + Advanced Studio & On-Camera + Acting Styles: August Wilson + Heightened Language: Shakespeare

Josh is a Chicago native and graduated from ChiArts as an Acting major as part of the school’s second-ever class to graduate. He then went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in Organismal Biology and Ecology from Colorado College (’18). He is a Chicago Youth Shakespeare alumnus, teaching artist, and served on its board of directors until its dissolution in 2023; he is also a company member of Visión Latino Theater Company, striving to tell the stories of his people and giving others a space to do the same. Josh has been teaching at ChiArts for the last 5 years, first as a science teacher, then an acting teacher, and now he is serving the Theatre Department as the department assistant! Josh has performed around Chicago, his efforts have taken him to LA and Detroit for various educational projects. Josh is honored to work as the Theatre Department Assistant, and work to make the department a safe, reliable space like he had when he studied here. He is represented by Gray Talent Group.