Faculty & Staff

Program Director 

Jesse Perez


Ray Chambers *

Jesse Perez

Scott Ripley


Gerhard Gessner

Amanda Penaloza Banks

Jesse Perez *

Eileen Troberman

Program Coordinator

Shana Wride

Production Stage Manager

Nicole Ries

Chair, Dept. of Theatre

Scott Ripley

Voice and Speech 

Jan Gist *

Emmelyn Thayer

Text and Context 

Cynthia Caywood

Danielle Mages Amato

Fred Robinson

Abe Stoll *

Production Manager

Nate Parde

Dept. Executive Assistant

Dana McNeal

* Department Head

Department Head Bios

Jesse J. Perez

Program Director

Jesse Perez is an actor, director, and choreographer/movement director who is currently the Program Director of The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program. He recently directed the program’s Twelfth Night. His choreography/movement credits include The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare & Company), Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare on the Sound), Steel Magnolias (Trinity Repertory Company), The Luckiest (La Jolla Playhouse), The Great Leap (Atlantic Theater Company), and Jedermann (Salzburg Festival). He has served as company choreographer for The Lake Lucille Chekhov Project since 2003. Perez has also been a guest artist and faculty member at The Juilliard School, where he has choreographed, directed, and taught for the last 12 years. As an actor, he recently appeared in the Globe’s Romeo and Juliet directed by Barry Edelstein. His Off Broadway credits include Party People (The Public Theater), The Father and A Doll’s House (Theatre for a New Audience), Informed Consent (Primary Stages), Triple Happiness (Second Stage Theater), 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). His opera credits include Lucia di Lammermoor at The Metropolitan Opera, and his regional credits include La Jolla Playhouse, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Yale Repertory Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre Center, and Goodman Theatre. He was also seen internationally with the Venice Biennale and Salzburg Festival. His television and film credits include “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Job,” “Life on Mars,” American Splendor, and Adopt a Highway.

Scott Ripley

Chair, Department of Theatre and Acting Instructor

Scott Ripley graduated from the US Naval Academy (BS: English) and served for six years as an A-6 (Intruder) bombardier/navigator onboard USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt. He resigned his commission to enter the Professional Actor Training Program at UC San Diego, where he received his MFA in Acting.

As a professional (AEA) actor, Scott has worked on stages across the US and abroad – including La Jolla Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse, A.C.T., Moscow Art Theater, Taiwan National Theater, Folger Theatre – and has been a member of four different repertory theatre companies: three seasons at the American Repertory Theatre, four seasons in PlayMakers Repertory Company, three seasons at Connecticut Repertory Theatre, and, most recently, one season 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’s directing credits include productions at Actors Theatre of Charlotte, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Theatre Row (off-Broadway), Cape Rep Theatre, and at Theater aan het Spui and Zeeheldentheater, both in Den Haag, Netherlands.

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


Ray Chambers

Head of Acting

Ray Chambers has worked as an actor and director with numerous regional theaters across the country since first training with The Old Globe in the mid-‘80s. For nearly two decades as an Associate Artist with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Chambers has worked as an actor, director, writer, instructor and served as Director of the Master of Fine Arts/Professional Actor Training Program at ASF from 2001 to 2009. His regional acting credits include title roles in Hamlet, The Count of Monte Cristo, Richard III, Coriolanus, King John, Henry V and 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. His credits at The Old Globe include Life of Riley, Macbeth, Hamlet, Love’s Labors Lost, The Comedy of Errors, Antony and Cleopatra, The School for Scandal and Coriolanus. He is Head of Acting in the Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program.

Jan Gist

Head of Voice and Speech

Jan Gist has been the voice, speech and dialect coach for Old Globe productions on 89 shows and for 50 USD/Shiley MFA productions. She has coached at theatres around the country including Ahmanson Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., The American Shakespeare Center, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage, San Diego Repertory, North Coast Repertory, Milwaukee Repertory, PlayMakers’ Repertory, Indiana Repertory, American Players Theatre, and Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company. She coached dialects for the film The Rosa Parks Story and recorded dozens of Books To Listen To. She is an original member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA), and she has presented at its 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 an interview in Voice and Speech Training in the New Millennium: Conversations with Master Teachers, exercises in The Complete Voice And Speech Workout, and Yiddish, in Jerry Blunt’s More Stage Dialects. She is a professor in The Old Globe/USD Shiley Graduate Theatre Program.        

Abraham Stoll

Head of Text and Context

Abe Stoll is a core member of the MFA faculty, teaching Shakespeare and serving as dramaturg in our productions. In recent years he has worked on Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Visit, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, Two Gentlemen of Verona, As You Like it, Pericles, and Measure for Measure. His scholarship focuses on Renaissance and early modern English literature, including the books Milton and Monotheism (Duquesne 2009) and Conscience in Early Modern English Literature (Cambridge 2017). He is also the General Editor of the Five-volume edition of Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, and is currently editing John Milton’s Paradise Lost for Broadview Press. He 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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Private funding for the program has been contributed through a generous endowment established by

Donald and Darlene Shiley

Additional support for the program is provided by

The Globe Guilders

Terry Atkinson

The Dorothy Brown Endowment Fund

Louis Yager Cantwell Foundation