Teaching Artists

BPA's education programs are committed to building on student strengths, teaching new skills, and providing a positive, safe environment where students of any age can grow both artistically and personally, all while having fun! BPA employs a talented cadre of Teaching Artists and Assistants that are eager to generate a positive impact in each student's educational and theatrical experience. Join our team and apply today!

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Pete Benson - Director of Education

From the age of nine, Pete Benson pounded the boards in San Jose, California working primarily with San Jose Children’s Musical Theater (Now CMT San Jose) and City Lights Theater Company. After gaining a two-year degree from the Professional Actor’s Conservatory in Orange County he performed up and down the West Coast with various theaters, including The Western Stage and PCPA. Looking to further refine his skills, Pete attended California Institute of the Arts and graduated with a BFA in Theater Arts. For the last two decades, Pete has been working with Matt Groening Productions, first in the design department of the animated-show Futurama and then for a decade-long stint in merchandise and publishing with all of MGP properties, including The Simpsons and Life in Hell. Pete has most recently been seen in several BPA productions including Much Ado About NothingAugust: Osage County, and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Contact Pete at pbenson@bainbridgeperformingarts.org or 206.842.4560 x3.

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Scott Breitbarth

Scott Breitbarth’s taste for theatre was born within the walls of Bainbridge Performing Arts. In addition to performing in multiple school and community productions on the island, he studied at Bainbridge Dance Center for 10 years. During high school, he also laid the foundation for the dance/choreography program at Kitsap Children’s Musical Theatre, leading and choreographing multiple productions. 

Scott went on to earn a B.A. in Film Production at the University of Southern California in 2015 before returning to Seattle as a filmmaker, choreographer and freelance promotional artist for BPA and organizations all across King and Kitsap. He has built and designed projections for multiple BPA productions, including Big Fish (2017), last year’s summer productions of Willy Wonka and Into the Woods, and this season’s Return To The Forbidden Planet (2018). He made his choreography debut in the community last winter with Masquerade (2018) at Ovation! Performing Arts Northwest. 

Scott currently teaches tap for all ages at Bainbridge Ballet.

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Amanda Yeoman Brooke

Amanda Yeoman Brooke is thrilled to teach at BPA. She is a Seattle based Actor, represented by Big Fish NW for 13 years. Her Casting Networks page (resume.castingnetworks.com/amandayeomanbrooke) contains the list of her filmography, training and education (graduated from UW with her Bachelors in Drama, followed by a decade ongoing training). In spring 2019, her Acting for the Camera class completed two short films for festival entries. She previously taught Acting for the Camera to Teens in the fall of 2018 at BPA, as well as in 2015-16 over at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. Her passion for teaching teens is rooted in focusing on the psychology behind acting, implementing empathy, helping them find their ability to relate to characters who are nothing like them- and in turn bring those characters to life. Amanda resides on Bainbridge with her husband and two young children. Most recently, she shot for a TV pilot, ‘Everybody’s Watching’, a short called ‘The Enhanced REMS Experiment’, completed a series of voiceovers for a tech company and acted in a short for the Seattle 48hr Film Festival race with Plaid Shirt Productions.


Miranda Feldtman

Miranda Feldtman began her theatre education as a student in the BPA Theatre School alongside the incomparable Liz Ellis. Since then, she has been teaching, performing, and technically assisting at Bainbridge Performing Arts for the past fifteen years. In 2017 alone, she collaborated as an assistant instructor and playwright for Voyages of Doctor Doolittle; assistant stage managed for The Bard at Bloedel's production of Merry Wives of Windsor; technically assisted for the northwest premiere production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert; and terrified young children as the Childcatcher in the winter production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She now hopes to spend 2018 invigorating a love of theatre in young children!


Helen Heaslip

Helen Heaslip recently moved to Bainbridge Island from London where she worked as a movement tutor and choreographer on the BA and MA Acting programs at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Work at RCSSD includes: It’s A Mad World, My Masters, The White Devil, The Country Wife, As I Lay DyingWe The Animals, Macbeth, Othello, Hamlet

As a freelance Movement Director recent theatre work includes: Festen (NCTC/12th Avenue Arts); Until You Hear That Bell (Battersea Arts Centre); Quiet Violence (Roundhouse Theatre/Edinburgh Festival); Much Ado About Nothing, (Bridewell Theatre); Pride and PrejudiceWind in the Willows; The Secret Garden (Heartbreak Theatre); and Lizzy, Darcy and Jane (Tabard Theatre). Helen has choreographed flashmobs for Omnibus Theatre and Red Door Communications, and the time travel film Birth Cloud.

Helen has run acting and movement workshops with the Royal Shakespeare Company, RCSSD summer school, Malvern Theatre, Northern Actor’s Center (Manchester), and Frantic Assembly.

As an performer, Helen has appeared as Linda in Festen; Frances in Modern Dance for Beginners; Jeanette in Last of The Red Hot Lovers; and Ariel in The Tempest, among othersas well as touring in the UK production of Frantic Assembly’s Rabbit. She can also be seen in the independent films First Light, One in a Million. Wait For Me, and Without a Face.

Helen trained in Ireland with the Audley School of Dance (where she also taught) and the Cork Dance Company; in London she received her BA in Musical Theatre at Arts Ed, and studied with the Rambert Dance Company.


Patrick Hurlburt

Patrick Hurlburt found a home in the theater at a young age and has remained a grateful student of the stage for many years. He received a bachelor's degree in acting from Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois, where he worked for two years after graduation. He moved to Seattle in 2014 and enjoyed working with several local companies, including Ghost Light Theatricals, Theater Schmeater, and Forward Flux Productions. Since moving to Bainbridge last year, he has turned his attention back to the classroom, where he first fell in love with the performing arts. He sees the theater as an arena of immeasurable educational value, a place in which to practice and refine the skills necessary for self-reflection, communication, and collaboration.

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Crystal Johnston

Crystal Johnston has been a classically-trained pianist for almost 30 years. Having attended Seattle Pacific University from 2003-2007 on a piano scholarship, she was exposed to multiple genres of music which developed her skills as a versatile musician. She received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy and Instrumental and Choral Education, K-12. She is an active performer, accompanist, and musical director playing for various choirs, theaters, and special events & weddings. Her diverse musical background has made her known as an accomplished pianist throughout Kitsap County. She enjoys sharing her love of music with others and supporting the performing arts in our community.


Lisa Mandelkorn

Lisa Mandelkorn joins the education staff as an experienced performer, voice teacher and vocal coach. After earning her Masters in Music at New England Conservatory and Diploma in Opera from Boston University, Lisa spent many years as a professional opera singer in New York City. She came to us on Bainbridge Island in 2010 where she has thrown herself into community life as a frequent performer at BPA (Mary in Mary Poppins, Mother in Christmas Story), and a voice teacher of both young and adult performers.

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Prior to becoming part of the BPA Team, Matty could be found singing and acting his heart out at many theaters and performance venues around Puget Sound for over 20 years. A Pacific Northwest native, Matty received his Education degree from Northwest Nazarene University while performing at Boise State University. He is thrilled to be overseeing front of house and box office operations. If his face seems familiar, you may recognize him as the Lion from The Wizard of Oz, Danny from Xanadu, or Bernadette in Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Mark Nichols

After getting his BFA in Drama (USC), Mark Nichols served as Performing Arts Director for Spirit Square (Charlotte, NC) promoting and designing hundreds of productions. Afterwards he served as Project/Show Producer for Disney, Universal Studios, and others, overseeing all aspects of entertainment projects such as Harry Potter the Exhibition global tour and Reflections of Earth (at Epcot). In 2012, Mark quit 30-years of corporate entertainment, eloped with Blair(!), got his Theatre MFA, and moved here. He has enjoyed working with BPA (on the Board and helping with shows) and BARN (serving as their first Executive Director). His focus is now primarily performing arts! Visit Mark online.

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Catherine Rush

Catherine Rush has enjoyed more than forty years working in the American Theater. In that time, she has worked professionally as a producer, actor, costume designer, and, in the last twenty years, playwright.  Most recently her play, Chilmark, received its world premiere at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse in Massachusetts. Her play The Loudest Man on Earth won an Edgerton New Play Award and was voted one of the top ten plays of 2013 by the San Francisco Chronicle. Other full-length play productions include: Losing the Shore, This Island Alone, and A Nice Place to Live. Her one-act play, The Sum of Me, was produced at Spokane Civic Theatre in 2017 and won the Arts and Letters Award for Drama at Georgia College and State University.  She is a two-time winner of the New American Voices Festival at the Landing Theatre in Houston, TX. Staged readings and workshops of various other plays appeared in London’s West End, New York City, and Los Angeles. Catherine has been awarded artist fellowships at Yaddo, Leighton Artist Colony at the Banff Centre, and Arteles, in Hameenkyro, Finland. She’s taught workshops and classes in the United States and New Zealand. Catherine holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and an MFA in Playwriting from Spalding University. She belongs to Actor’s Equity Association, SAG/AFTRA, and the Dramatist’s Guild of America. For more information visit www.CatherineRush.com


Buddy Todd

Buddy Todd has been directing/assistant directing/choreographing for the last 20 years, most recently Charlotte’s Web with Second Story Theatre and Last Fall with Fantastic Z. Other shows from 2016 include: The Games Afoot with Renton Civic Theatre (where he also choreographed Annie in 2012); Little Shop of Horrors, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at the Black Box Theatre in Edmonds; The Long Christmas Dinner and A Child’s Christmas in Wales for Stone Soup Theatre; Fiddler on the Roof with Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theatre; The Fantastiks and Ruthless! The Musical with Eastern Washington University; How I Became a Pirate and The Nutcracker with Spokane Children’s Theater; and Dearly Departed at Spokane Civic Theatre. Buddy recently directed The Wizard of Oz for BPA, is choreographing Little Shop of Horrors at the Black Box Theatre in Edmonds, and looks forward to directing at Renton Civic next season.


Ann Wilkinson Ellis

In 2000, Ann Wilkinson Ellis moved from NYC back to Bainbridge to co-produce award winning independent film Farewell to Harry.  Ann's early acting roots and training started BPA as a founding member of the Greasepaint Repertory Company in the early '80's.  She received her BA in Broadcast Communications & Theater from Principia College.  Later she studied with Larry Silverberg at The Belltown Theater and Suzanne Shepherd in NYC –completing certification in the Sanford Meisner technique.  Ann also studied at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Barrow Group and wrote, directed and performed with the Hudson Theatre Labs.  

Since Farewell to Harry, Ann taught writing/acting workshops for teenagers on the island with Hat Factory Film Studios/Theatre. These students wrote, performed and directed dynamic new works.  When she is not busy with her two children Nobelle and Harrison and husband John Ellis, Ann hits the boards whenever she can.  Her performances include roles in BPA's 2017 award wining August Osage County* (Ann won *Best Supporting Actress from S. Sound Stage Awards), Private EyesIt's a Wonderful Life - Radio Play, The Reimer's of Eldritch and The Vagina Monologues and many Island Theater productions. 

Ann loves directing and teaching young adults and is passionate about excellence in acting and empowering students through hard work in the craft and developing student's unique essence as performers.