The Faculty

Jesse J. Perez

Program Director

JESSE J. PEREZ Off-Broadway; Party People (The Public); The Father and A Doll's House (Theatre for a New Audience); Informed Consent (Primary Stages); Triple Happiness (Second Stage); Barrio Grrrl (Summer Play Festival); Recent Tragic Events (Playwrights Horizons); In the Penal Colony (Classic Stage Company); Up Against the Wind (New York Theatre Workshop); and Lucia di Lammermoor (The Metropolitan Opera). Regional;(Shakespeare Theatre Company, Berkeley Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Yale Rep, Lookingglass, McCarter, Goodman, and most recently did “Seize the King” by Will Power at the La Jolla Playhouse) International; The Venice Biennale and The Salzburg Festival. TV and Film; Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, The Job, Life on Mars, American Splendor, Adopt a Highway. As Choreographer he has done;

Shakespeare & Company; The Comedy Of Errors, directed by Taibi Magar, Shakespeare On The Sound; Much Ado About Nothing directed by Joanna Settle, Trinity Repertory Company; Steel Magnolias directed by Brian Mertes. Company Choreographer For The Lake Lucille Chekhov Project since 2003 where he has choreographed all of Chekhov’s major plays under the direction of Brian Mertes and Melissa Kievman. International, The Salzburg Festival; Jedermann directed by Brian Mertes. Movement coach at The Atlantic Theatre Company on The Great Leap, directed by Taibi Magar. Jesse has also been a guest artist and faculty member at The Juilliard School Drama Division where he has choreographed, directed, and taught for the last twelve years.

Ray Chambers

Head of Acting

Since first training with the Old Globe in the mid-eighties, Mr. Chambers has worked as a classical actor and director with numerous regional theatres across the country.  For nearly two decades as an Associate Artist with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Ray has worked as actor, director, writer, and instructor and served as Director of the Master of Fine Arts/Professional Actor Training Program at ASF from 2001-2009.  Regional acting credits include title roles in Hamlet, The Count of Monte Cristo, Richard III, Coriolanus, King John, Henry V, Tartuffe; and leading roles in Julius Caesar, The Winter's Tale, The Rivals, Henry IV, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, Great Expectations, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Saint Joan among many others.  Credits at the Old Globe include Antony and Cleopatra, The Comedy of Errors, The School for Scandal, Coriolanus, Love’s Labours Lost, Hamlet and Macbeth.  He has taught Acting and Classical Text in master classes and workshops for universities and theatres around the country and has served as a national board member of the University/Resident Theatre Association.


Brian Byrnes

Head of Movement

Work as a Movement Coach and Fight Director includes New York theatres, regional theatres, Shakespeare festivals, colleges, universities, and Motion Capture animation in the U.S. and Sweden.  Credits include: Old Globe Theatre, Alley Theatre, Houston Grand Opera, Stages Repertory Theatre, The Ensemble Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Houston Ballet, Houston Shakespeare Festival, Texas Ballet Theatre, Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre, Prague Shakespeare Company, American Players Theatre, John Housman Theatre, Lucille Lortel Theatre, Westbeth Theatre, and many other companies over the past 25 years.   He is an A.E.A. actor, has worked as a director for theatre and opera, and has written several plays that have been professionally produced.  Brian is a long time member of the Society of American Fight Directors and holds the S.A.F.D. titles of Certified Teacher, Fight Director, and Fight Master within the organization.


Jan Gist

Head of Voice and Speech

Jan Gist (Voice and Speech) has been the voice, speech and dialect coach for The Old Globe on 89 productions, and coached at theaters around the country, most recently at Arena Stage in DC on The Heiress. Other theatres: Ahmanson Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival,  Shakespeare Theatre Company (D.C.), American Shakespeare Center, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, San Diego Repertory, North Coast Repertory, Milwaukee Repertory, PlayMakers’ Repertory, Indiana Repertory, American Players Theatre. She is an original member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association, and she has presented at numerous conferences, in addition to Voice Foundation’s conferences. Gist has taught workshops at London's Central School of Speech and Drama and the International Voice Teachers Exchange at the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia. She has been published in numerous VASTA Journals. Chapters in books include Voice and Speech Training in the New Millennium: Conversations with Master Teachers, The Complete Voice And Speech Workout, and More Stage Dialects.

Scott Ripley

Chair, Department of Theatre and Acting Instructor

Scott graduated from the US Naval Academy (BS: English) and served for six years as an A-6 bombardier/navigator onboard USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt – before resigning his commission to enter the Professional Actor Training Program at UC San Diego (MFA: Acting). He has played leading roles on stages across the US and abroad, including La Jolla Playhouse, A.C.T., Moscow Art Theater, Taiwan National Theater, Folger Theatre, three seasons at the American Repertory Theatre, four seasons in PlayMakers Repertory Company, three seasons at Connecticut Repertory Theatre, and, most recently, one season (2015) at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He has also worked on camera, and as a voiceover actor, in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Amsterdam. Scott has directed productions at Actors Theatre of Charlotte, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, and Theatre Row (off-Broadway), and Cape Repertory Theatre.

Scott has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Acting, Commedia dell’Arte, Improvisation, Movement, and Voice at Arizona State University, Davidson College, UNC (Chapel Hill), UConn, and the Academia dell’Arte, in Arezzo, Italy. He is currently Chair of Theatre and Director of the Undergraduate Theatre program at USD.

Cynthia L. Caywood


Cynthia L. Caywood has been a member of the USD faculty since 1984.  She has taught at Washburn University, Duke University, and Wake Forest University.  She is currently director of USD’s Oxford programs, and Chair of the study abroad program.  One of the founders of the Aphra Behn Society, she published a number of articles on Aphra Behn and Restoration theatre.  She is also the editor of Teaching Writing: Pedagogy, Gender and Equity.  In 1986 she received a teaching award from the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies and in 1998, she was awarded the Davies Award for Teaching Excellence.


Gerhard Gessner


Gerhard has been teaching yoga since 1983 and has been part of the MFA faculty since 1989.  He is trained in a variety of different styles of Hatha Yoga, including Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram Ananda and Contact Yoga.  His non-dogmatic approach to yoga is eclectic and combines elements of all the styles he has studied, tailored to the needs of his students.  His educational background includes a BA in Mechanical Engineering, a MA in Education and a MA in Counseling Psychology. He is a certified Massage Therapist, a certified Hatha Yoga teacher E-RYT 500, and studied Dance and Movement Therapy at the Tamalpa Institute in San Francisco and with Gabrielle Roth at the Moving Center.  Gerhard is owner and Director of Prana Yoga Center in La Jolla, California.

Fred Miller Robinson

Modern Drama

Fred Miller Robinson received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington and has taught modern literature and cultural studies, first at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, then at USD (1992 -present).  He is the author of three books and numerous articles, most especially on comedy and comic theory, Samuel Beckett and Wallace Stevens.  For nine years he reviewed books on cultural studies for The New York Times Book Review.  He has won distinguished teaching awards at UMass and USD.  He has taught Modern Drama in the Globe Theatres/USD MFA Program in Dramatic Arts since 1994.  He is writing a book on the interculture of Ireland and America, for work on which he won a University Professorship at USD in 1997.


Abraham Stoll

Renaissance Literature

Abe Stoll teaches the Shakespeare text course.  His scholarship focuses on Renaissance and early modern English literature.  His recent book, Milton and Monotheism, is on the poetry and theology of John Milton.  He also edited the five-volume edition of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene.  Currently, he is working on a study of conscience in Shakespeare and the early modern period.  Stoll received his PhD from Princeton University, and has taught at the University of San Diego since 2000.


Richard Seer

Director of the Program 1993-2017

An award-winning actor and director, Richard Seer served as the Program Director for 25 years.  In 2017 he was made an Associate Artist of The Old Globe Theatre.  He has directed and/or performed on Broadway, off-Broadway, on film and television, and in over seventy productions at regional theatres in this country and Great Britain, including: The Goodman Theatre, The Kennedy Center, The Stratford Shakespeare Festival, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Huntington Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, The Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, and The Sybil Thorndike Repertory Theatre in England, to name a few.  He originated the role of Young Charlie in the 1978 Tony Award-winning production of Hugh Leonard’s Da, and received the Theatre World Award for his performance.  As a resident director for The Old Globe, he has directed more than a dozen productions. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree in directing from Boston University, where he was awarded the prestigious Kahn Directing Award in 1985.  In 1990 he was invited to return to Boston University’s School for the Arts as an Associate Professor of acting and directing.  Professor Seer has been Director of The Old Globe/University of San Diego Graduate Theatre program since 1993.  He was awarded the Craig Noel Distinguished Professorship in 2010.

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Playing With Giants

November 6, 2018

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The Old Globe/USD Graduate Theatre

Post Office Box 122171

San Diego, CA 92112-2171

Tel: 619.235.2161





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