Welcome to T1U…

…As an artist, you give so much to our community. T1U offers one-of-a-kind sessions to put you in proximity to the folks that can challenge you to your best, remind you why you’ve dedicated yourself to the art, and connect you directly to the next stage of your work.

MONOLOGUE TRACK – 1/28 – 3/4/19 


Over the span of six weeks, you’ll learn from six of the most in-demand artists.

The track offers twenty-four hours of in depth training split into six, four-hour sessions. Each week a different instructor will bring you through their process.

The track runs Mondays 1/28 – 3/4 (6pm – 10pm) with:

1/28 Ayodele Nzinga
2/4   Edris Cooper
2/11  Susannah Martin
2/18  Tom Ross
2/25 Emilie Whelan
3/4   Lisa Marie Rollins

Tuition for the full track is $360. Ten slots available.

To apply, please send resume and a short statement of purpose (150 words) to Laura Espino at: laura@theatrefirst.com.

You will be notified of acceptance within 72 hours of submission.

  • 1/28 Ayodele Nzinga

    Ayodele Nzinga,MFA,PhD, is often referred to as a renaissance woman. She is a talented actress, a powerhouse SpokenWord Artist, a lyricist, a published poet, a playwright, film and stage director, producer, recording artist, and film writer. She was the Artistic Director of the original Recovery Theater. She is the founding Artistic Director of The Sister Thea Bowman Memorial Theater, a 100 seat theater built in 2000, to facilitate Nzinga’s desire to use live performance as a form of community engagement. Nzinga is the Founder Producing Director of The Lower Bottom Playaz Inc., Oakland CA’s premiere North American African Theater Company. Ayodele Nzinga became the only director, the only producer, her Lower Bottom Playaz, the only theatrical entity of any size anywhere to fully stage the complete works of August Wilson's American Century Cycle in chronological order. Nzinga who has been described by academics as a rare hybrid of theoretician and practitioner uses her practice to nurture future performers, engage at risk students, and to help facilitate the seeding of creative innovators. Nzinga was honored in 2016 for Excellence in Arts Leadership by the Alameda County Arts commission, and by Theater Bay Area for being one of the 40 Bay Area Theater Makers that helped change the face of theater in the Bay Area.

  • 2/4 Edris Cooper

    Edris has been performing more than 20 years with credits at the Sacramento Theater Company; SF Mime Troupe; Theater Works in Palo Alto; Magic Theatre; Intersection For The Arts and was an Associate Artist with Rhodessa Jones' The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women. In 1991, she won the Goldie Award for Acting from the SF Bay Guardian. As a director, Edris has worked at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI; Capital Repertory in Albany, NY; Southern Rep in New Orleans ; Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles; Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Woolly Mammoth in Washington, D.C; Curious Theatre in Denver; TheatreWorks, Palo Alto. Edris’ Bay Area directing credits include the West Coast premieres of Relativity at the Magic Theatre, Stealin’ Home at Exit Theatre; The Old Settler at TheaterWorks in Palo Alto; Crying Holy at Theatre Rhinoceros, andUrban Zulu Mambo and Blue/Orange at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. Her productions of John Henry Redwood's The Old Settler, received the Dean Goodman Award for Excellence (TheatreWorks) and, in Dallas. She holds an M.F.A. in Directing from the University of Iowa and is an alumna of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors.

  • 2/11 Susannah Martin

    An award-winning director, teacher, and theatre maker, Susannah has taught and directed for organizations throughout the Bay Area. For five years, she was the Joint Artistic Director of Paducah Mining Co., a San Francisco-based theatre ensemble that produced acclaimed work by established playwrights and devised original pieces on complex material such as domestic terrorism, spousal abuse, and poverty in America. During her tenure with Paducah, she was awarded three Dean Goodman Choice Awards. She is also a Bay Area Critic’s Circle, Broadway World, and Shellie Award nominee. Directing credits include productions at Shotgun Players (company member); Mugwumpin (company member); San Francisco Playhouse; La Pena Cultural Center; the San Francisco International Arts Festival; Boxcar Theatre; Town Hall Theatre; Sonoma County Rep; Porchlight Theatre Company; TheatreFIRST; A.C.T.’s Professional Training Program; Sacramento Theatre Company; and countless readings and workshops for companies as varied as the Aurora Theatre Company, Playwright’s Foundation, Marin Theatre Company, Crowded Fire Theatre Company, TheatreWorks, and Z Space. Susannah is currently the Theatre Director and Arts Program Coordinator at San Francisco University High School as well as Guest Faculty at Saint Mary’s College. She taught movement, voice, acting, and composition for the California Shakespeare Theater for twelve years and directed several Shakespeare productions for their 5-week summer conservatory. Susannah received her BFA in Theatre from NYU. She received her MFA in Directing from UC Davis.

  • 2/18 Tom Ross

    Tom Ross is the Artistic Director at the Aurora Theatre Company. He has served as its Managing Director and Producing Director – and was appointed to his current position after a national search. He has directed 26 productions for Aurora Theatre Company including Fifth of July, A Bright New Boise, This Is How It Goes, A Delicate Balance, The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, The First Grade, The Best Man, SEX, The Birthday Party, Blue/Orange, Betrayal, Lobby Hero, The Shape of Things, The Entertainer, The Weir, and The Homecoming. He co-directed Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale with Muriel Maffre. He directed (and wrote) the long-running A Karen Carpenter Christmas. Before coming to the Bay Area, Ross worked for eight years at New York’s Public Theater (NYSF) as Executive Assistant to Joseph Papp and Co-Director of Play and Musical Development. While there he wrote the book adaptation for the Joe Orton/Todd Rundgren musical Up Against It! and collaborated on projects with artists including Larry Kramer, Kathy and Mo, Malcolm McLaren and Jonathan Larson. He was a site reporter for the National Endowment for the Arts for 16 years.

  • 2/25 Emilie Whelan

    Emilie Whelan is a director, performer, and arts organizer. In 2006 Emilie moved to New Orleans and helped establish social-political theater company Cripple Creek Theater Company. She has performed in and directed over twenty of their community-organizing performances since 2006 including The Cradle Will Rock, The Lily’s Revenge, Clybourne Park, We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!, Balm in Gilead, The Madwoman of Chaillot, Enemy of the People, Waiting for Lefty, and Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi trilogy performed over the course of three Mardi Gras seasons. New Orleans music collaborations include Aurora Nealand, Ratty Scurvics and Valparaiso Men's Chorus. In 2010, Emilie became the Performance Coordinator of the New Orleans Fringe Festival, presenting an international carnival-centric festival of over 70 performances each year. In 2014, she became the co-founder The DISTILLERY Artist Residency housed at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans. In 2014, she also became a proud member of the Ubuntu Theatre Project housed in Oakland. She has trained with ensembles Hand2Mouth, TEETH, and Pig Iron. She is an alumni of Lincoln Center’s Director’s Lab and a current member of the Network of Ensemble Theaters. 2016 MFA - Directing - UCSD. She is also a former 3rd grade classroom teacher.

  • 3/4 Lisa Marie Rollins

    Lisa Marie Rollins (Oakland) is a freelance director, writer and new play developer. She is a Sundance Institute Theatre Lab Fellow (Directing) and a writing fellow with Djerassi, SF Writers Grotto, CALLALOO London & VONA. Regional directing & dramaturg work include Ground Floor at Berkeley Repertory, Crowded Fire Theater, Playwright Foundation, Shotgun Players, Custom Made Theatre, Magic Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse; new plays by Lauren Gunderson, Geetha Reddy, Idris Goodwin, Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm, and creative collaborations with comedic artists W. Kamau Bell and Zahra Noorbakash. She is directing the World Premiere of Idris Goodwin’s new play AMERICAN PROM at TheaterWorks in Colorado in 2019. She is a Resident Artist at Crowded Fire Theater in San Francisco.