Steve_J._Earle  Steve J. Earle, Chair, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Steve J. Earle is a Producing Director for the Workshop Theatre Group and Chair of the Theatre Department at The Governor’s School for the Arts.   Acting credits include the Virginia Stage Company, Theatre IV, Swift Creek Mill Playhouse, Richmond Triangle Players, and numerous other theatres. Television credits include F.B.I. Files, Interpol, and commercial work. Directing credits include Workshop Theatre Group, Theatre IV, Richmond Triangle Players, Generic Theatre, Suffolk Center for the Arts and universities. He holds an M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and a B.F.A. from the University of North Carolina Charlotte. He has also studied at the Gaiety School for Acting in Dublin, Ireland and in various classes in New York. Before coming to G.S.A., Mr. Earle taught at Longwood University, The Governor’s School for Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University and the School for the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community as well as other places. He currently teaches The Theatre Experience and Theatre History at Old Dominion University. At G.S.A. Steve teaches Acting, The Meisner Technique, Lessac Vocal Technique, History of Film, Dramatic Literature and Criticism, Directing, Phonetics and Stage Dialects. Steve is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

 Shawn Crawford, technical, carnegie mellon  Shawn Crawford, Resident Designer/Technical Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shawn S. Crawford has designed over 100 productions in professional, educational and community theatre in Pennsylvania, Maine, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia. Locally she has designed for Little Theatre of Norfolk, Generic Theater and Virginia Musical Theatre as well as the Governor’s School for the Arts. Awards include best scenery for The Tempest at GSA and Three Tall Women at Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, TN. Ms. Crawford holds Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Management from Carnegie Mellon University, a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Design from the University of Memphis and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design from the University of Mississippi. Before coming to GSA, Ms. Crawford taught at Mississippi University for Women. At GSA she teaches a variety of Design/Technical classes including: Scenic Design, Lighting Design, Stagecraft, Theatre History, Scene Painting, Production, Drawing, Rendering and Model Making.

Theatre Faculty

Jennie Brown has more than 30 years experience working with young people and adults as an acting and speech teacher. One of the four founding instructors of the acclaimed SPARC arts education program in Richmond (VA), she was named Artistic Director of that organization in 1998. Her students at SPARC include international pop star, Jason Mraz, and Broadway favorite Emily Skinner, among others. Under her leadership, SPARC grew from 200 local students to nearly 10,000 students statewide, and became one of largest arts programs in Virginia. As an actor, her credits include work in North Carolina, Georgia as well as Theatre IV, Barksdale Theatre, Firehouse Theatre and others in her native Richmond. As a voice-over and on-camera talent, her credits include Family Circle Magazine, General Electric, Arby's, Colonial Williamsburg and MCV/VCU Hospitals, among others. Since moving to Hampton Roads in 2010, Jennie has taught performing arts classes at Tidewater Community College and Theatrix Productions, in addition to The Governor’s School for the Arts. She holds a BA in Theatre from University of Mary Washington and an MFA (Theatre/Acting) from VCU. For her work in the arts in Richmond, Jennie received the YWCA Outstanding Woman Award as well as the coveted Theresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts - Lifetime Achievement. 

Ryan Clemens is an actor, director, teacher, playwright and the Director of Theatre Education at Virginia Stage Company where his one-man show Meet Mark Twain is a featured touring production. Clemens began his career with a Wild West Show in Wyoming, and has performed with summer theatres and professional houses around the country, including local venues such as the Regent University Summer CAMP and the Virginia Shakespeare Festival in Williamsburg.  Clemens holds a Bachelor of Arts from Western Washington University and a Master of Fine Arts in Acting with a Directing Emphasis from Regent University.  He was a founder of Uncovered Theatre Company as well as the Cowpoke Theatrical Company.  He has worked in such diverse genres as musical theatre, Shakespeare, classical Greek drama, absurdism, improvisational comedy and even as an Elvis impersonator.  At GSA he teaches Acting and Improvisation.

Sylvia Hutson is the founder of Hutson Talent Agency and an experienced actress and teacher. She has worked for over 30 years as a costume designer, private coach and an actress for stage and film. Her love for people and the arts makes her one of the most qualified and respected talent agents in the region. She knows how talented people deserve to be treated. Member of the Better Business Bureau and the Cambridge Who's Who Among Executive and Professional Women. At GSA she teaches Acting for the Camera.

Ryan McIntire is a professional performer, choreographer, and stunt player. Performance credits include Lopakhin in The Cherry Orchard, Jerry in Betrayal, Don John in Much Ado About Nothing, roles for the Discovery Channel, TruTV, and CBN, as well as various commercials. Ryan has been recognized by the Kenedy Center for his choreography work, and has staged fights for Macbeth, The Three Musketeers, CBN, The Generic, Little Theatre Norfolk, and Regent University. He holds an MFA from Regent University and a BFA from the University of Central Missouri, and is an active and published member of The Society of American Fight Directors. Ryan has been a guest artist at universities around the country, and works as an adjunct at ODU. At GSA Ryan is an instructor for Stage combat and performance classes.

Ricardo Melendez is a Producing Director for The Workshop Theatre Group in Norfolk, Virginia. He recently received the ‘Best Male Actor” award at the Dublin Theater Festival for his interpretation of Nijinsky in the Workshop Theatre Group production of Nijinsky’s Last Dance, previously performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, in Spain and many regional theaters across America. Some of his regional credits include, Hamlet in Hamlet at Theatre 22(NYC), Rodolfo in A View from the Bridge, at the Gershwin Theater, NY,  Peter  in Legacy of Light at the Barksdale Theatre in Richmond, Orsino in 12th Night, Puck in Midsummer Night’s DreamGoss in Bug by Tracy Letts and Wilde in Gross Indecency by Moises Kaufman. Recent directing works : Hamlet at Workshop Theatre Group, Twelfth NightBlood Wedding, Servant of Two Masters, Triumph of Love and The Laramie Project. As a playwight his one man show, Call Me Boricua! received a premiere at The Workshop Theatre Group and at The Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis. His latest work Cloaked was produced at the Dublin Theatre Festival 2011 in Ireland, receiving nominations for Best play, Best actor, and Best costume design. Some film credits include Bordertown (2009), and A Gift Devine(2010). Mr. Melendez is the Associate Artistic Director for Todd Rosenlieb Dance, and currently teaches at the Governor School for the Arts both in the Theater and Dance Departments as well as at the Tidewater Community College, Norfolk Campus. Mr. Melendez holds a BA degree in Dance Pedagogy from Butler University and a MFA degree in Theater from Brooklyn College, New York. At GSA he teaches Acting, Scene Study, Theatre History, Dramatic Literature, Pilates, Speaking Classical Text, Acting Shakespeare, and Vocal Production.

Ailish Riggs is an actor, director, vocal coach and aerial artist who has worked throughout the country over the last ten years.  As a member of the Denver Center Theater Company, Ailish appeared in productions of You Can’t Take It With You, Pride and Prejudice, The Laramie Project and Harvey, and understudied over ten roles in her residency with the company.  While at the Denver Center she wrote and performed a one-woman show, Unbound.  She also appeared in productions of The Grapes of Wrath, The Admirable Crichton, Battleground State, Romeo and Juliet, O’Flaherty, V.C., Taming of the Shrew, and Mulan. She has been seen in San Francisco Bay Area productions of Playboy of the Western World, Top Girls, Execution of Justice, The Good Person of Setzuan, The Fever and I Do Not Like Thee, Doctor Fell. She was commissioned to perform an original performance piece for Senator Hillary Clinton at the 2007 Democratic National Convention and she has also appeared in numerous commercials and instructional videos and has done voice-over for radio and television. As a singer she has performed the National Anthem for the San Francisco Giants and the San Francisco 49ers and has opened for Chris Issak. As a vocal coach she has worked on numerous productions, including Around the World in 80 Days with the Virginia Stage Company and the upcoming feature film, The Highwayman. She is a trained aerial artist and has performed numerous movement pieces on the low flying aerial trapeze. Her television credits include Nash Bridges, Wicked Attraction, and The 700 Club. Ailish graduated, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of San Francisco with a BA in Performing Arts and Social Justice. She holds an MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory. At the Governor’s School, Ailish teaches Voice and Speech, Stage Dialects, Improvisation, Music and Character, and Extended Character Development. And most recently directed Eleemosynary for the Theater department and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for the Musical Theater department. She is also an Adjunct Faculty member at Old Dominion University.  Ailish is a member of the Actor’s Equity Assocation and the Voice and Speech Trainers Association.

Randy Strawderman teaches for the departments of Theatre and Musical Theatre. In 1989 Randy founded and directed Young Writers for the Theater, Virginia’s first state-wide competition and New Play Festival for middle and high school students. This program (now “New Voices”) has helped launch the careers of a number of young writers, including Jerome Hairston and Clay Chapman. For Barksdale Theatre in Richmond, Virginia, Randy directed the world premiere of Red, Hot & Cole, which he co-wrote with James Bianchi and Muriel McAuley. He co-directed (with Word Baker) an Equity workshop of Cole at the former Michael Bennett Studio in New York, featuring Rita Gardner, Leigh Beery and George Lee Andrews. He also directed Cole at the Variety Arts Theatre in LA with Kay Ballard, Jonelle Allen and Andrews. Red, Hot & Cole is now produced world-wide and can be licensed through Music Theatre International. Randy wrote and directed world premieres of Red Badge, a musical adaptation of Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage; and Ella & Her Fella, Frank: a Concert Made in Heaven, which featured world renowned jazz singer Rene Marie as Ella. As Artistic Director of Barksdale Theatre, Randy produced the American premiere of Alex Finlaysonís Misfits. He also produced the late Ernie McClintock’s production of The Old Settler at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He has directed national tours of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Randy has a BFA in Theatre from Virginia Commonwealth University and he is a Visiting Lecturer at The Darden School at the University of Virginia. He is a recipient of the Theresa Pollak Award for Excellence in the Arts. At GSA Theatre Department he teaches Acting, Playwriting, Directing Theory and Directing.

Main Office

Main Office: 
757-451-4715 Fax 
254 Granby Street
orfolk, Virginia 23510

Dance Department

The GSA Dance Department
is housed in the TRDance Center
757-628-2747 Fax
325 Granby Street

Norfolk, VA 23510