BLAIRE BARON Artistic Director, Founder
A native Angeleno, Blaire began working professionally at age 20 as an actor in theatre, television and films. While studying at The New School/Playwrights Horizons in New York, Blaire was mentored by two legends: Geraldine Page and Estelle Parsons. She performed on Broadway with The Roundabout Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater and Playwrights Horizons, while appearing on The Guiding Light by day. In all, Blaire has appeared in over 50 films and television series.
In 2004, with two young children at home, Blaire was recruited by The Los Angeles Shakespeare Center to work with youth using Applied Theatre techniques and Shakespeare as empowerment tools.
Blaire worked with Fringe Benefits, a non-profit arts company, co-directing an original play at Wilson High School (East L.A.) about hate crimes against gay youth, based on stories from the students. It was performed for the community.
Realizing that bullying, racism, classism and sexism start at a very early age, Blaire created The Hero Program, for Larchmont Charter School’s “launch year” teaching K-3 about compassion and empathy. This prevention education program has been in 5 schools. In all her teaching work, Blaire incorporates Kundalini yoga and Applied Theatre (especially the work of Viola Spolin and Agosto Boal.)
Blaire founded the Los Angeles Drama Club in 2004 and has never stopped directing our country’s youngest Shakespeare Troupe. Directing credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (twice), Macbeth (twice), Twelfth Night, Henry IV, Part 2, Timon of Athens (twice), Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, A Winter’s Tale, Cymbeline, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Richard III, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Love’s Labors Lost, and As You Like It.
In addition to the Shakespeare Youth Festival of Los Angeles, Blaire created LADC’s Acting for Social Justice workshop. With Julia Wyson, she created Queen Elinor’s School of Knighthood and Chivalry, which introduces the ancient art of chivalry to young people: including community service, such as feeding the homeless.
JULIA WALKER WYSON, Executive Director
Julia began acting in Chicago, where she performed with many of Chicago’s foremost theater companies, including Bailiwick Repertory, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Court Theater, Chicago Dramatists Workshop, Commons Theater and Pegasus Players. She has worked in regional theaters across the country, including Alabama Shakespeare Festival, New American Theater in Rockford, Illinois, New Stage Theater in Jackson, Mississippi, and First Stage Milwaukee. Shakespearean roles include Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, Rosalind in As You Like It, Cordelia in King Lear, Lady Percy in the Henry IVs, The Queen in Richard II and Hermia in Midsummer Night’s Dream.
She received her Theater degree from Northwestern University, and her MFA in Shakespeare from the Alabama Shakespeare Festival Professional Actor Training program, and has studied at the Actors’ Center in Chicago. A former dancer, she has performed with a variety of Chicago dance companies, and expanded her experience with Movement for the Stage at the Laban Institute in New York. She is particularly passionate about working with Shakespearean text, and helping her students understand the joys of iambic pentameter.
Julia has worked extensively performing for and with children. She has taught acting and movement workshops to children all over the country from inner-city Chicago, to rural communities in Alabama and Illinois, to Los Angeles, Pasadena and Glendale.
As a director and movement coach, she has created shows for Chicago Actors Ensemble, Bailiwick Repertory, and MoMing Dance and Arts Center in Chicago, and Zoo District and the Northwestern University Entertainment Alliance in Los Angeles.
Julia joined Blaire as Co-Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Drama Club in 2007. Since then, she has directed all but nine of Shakespeare’s 37 plays (we’re not counting Two Nobel Kinsmen, Love’s Labors Won or Cardenio) and she hopes to add at least a few of those nine to her resume soon.
With Blaire Larsen, she created Queen Elinor’s School of Knighthood and Chivalry, which introduces the ancient art of chivalry to young people. In addition to community service, Queen Elinor’s School exposes young people to a variety of new physical experiences, including archery, horseback riding, and combat for the stage.
ANNIWAA BUACHIE, Director & Teaching Artist
Award winning Actress, Anniwaa Buachie is a Ghanaian- British actress . As a child, Anniwaa was scouted by ballet dancer Rhian Robins, who believed Anniwaa’s dance skills, were of an exceptionally high standard and encouraged Anniwaa’s parents to enroll her in to the Royal Academy of Dance. For 16 years Ballet and Contemporary dance was Anniwaa’s obsession, although a dancer of a high calibre she remained focused and adamant on becoming an actress. Anniwaa attended the prestigious British method based acting school – East 15 Acting School. Shortly after graduating from East 15, Anniwaa was awarded The Alan Bates Outstanding Newcomer award. Since winning this Award, she has continued to work on the British stage national TV, in British classics such as: Eastenders , Law & Order: UK and Holby City. She is now based in LA accessing the growing opportunities that America has for black actors.
J. BAILEY BURCHAM, Director & Teaching Artist
J. Bailey Burcham is an LA based actor and director from Kansas. Bailey has directed nine plays locally and has been seen in multiple local and regional productions. His acting resume includes roles such as Max Bialystock (The Producers, Plan-B Ent.), Luther Billis (South Pacific, MTWichita) and the title role in Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Theatre 68 LA).
KILA PACKETT, Director & Teaching Artist, Stage Combat
Kila Packett made his Off-Broadway debut in Sir Peter Hall’s production of As You Like It at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Favorite Shakespearean roles include Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, Orsino in Twelfth Night, and Orlando in As You Like It all at Classic Stage Company. Kila is a founding member of The Plastic Theatre and co-author of, Unnatural Acts (Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Play). After relocating to Los Angeles in 2011, he made his Prime time television debut as Dave Lockhart on the new “Hawaii Five-O.” As a teaching artist, Kila has contributed his skills to the BELL Foundation, CSC Young Company, Columbia Business School’s Senior Executive Program, Columbia High School Institute, Los Angeles Drama Club, Young Storytellers Foundation, and the The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum. He holds his MFA in Theatre from Columbia University’s School of the Arts.
ESDRAS TOUSSAINT, Director & Teaching Artist
Esdras Toussaint is a Haitian born, American actor, director, producer, and teacher. He earned his MFA in Theatre from Columbia University. Esdras has contributed his talents to several outreach programs, including Classic Stage Company’s Young Company in New York, Theater Masters in Colorado, and The Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in California. His theatrical career extends from the experimental and the avant-garde to Shakespeare and the classics. Esdras serves as a resident Artistic Associate at the prestigious Los Angeles Drama Club (the country’s youngest Shakespeare ensemble). His directing credits include: Timon of Athens, Antony and Cleopatra, Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris, and the internationally renowned play Outspoken by Blaire Baron Larsen. Esdras is also a Theatre Arts Adjunct Instructor at Pierce College and East Los Angeles College. He is forever grateful to his acting coach James Brill of The Neighborhood Playhouse, and his wife Jeannie.