In-School Programs

So Wise So Young

Sometimes…Shakespeare speaks to those we least expect him to speak to and opens up a world of possibilities that otherwise might never have been.

Mary Eilers-Fielding

So Wise So Young Program Developer, Livermore Shakespeare Festival

About So Wise So Young

So Wise So Young is an in school literacy program for K-12 students which enhances the current English/Language Arts curriculum. The program focuses on increasing language skills, comprehending key details in a text, improving the expression of ideas through drama, writing and reading, developing imagination and relating key themes in Shakespeare’s work to their own lives. Livermore Shakespeare Festival Teaching Artists teach in all second grade classrooms of the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District. The 10 week 2nd grade program introduces the students to William Shakespeare and his history, teaches scene comprehension, language study and actively explores themes using the text of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The program aligns with Common Core Speaking & Listening and Reading & Literature standards.

In addition to the 2nd Grade program, LSF produces half day high school workshops, 90-minute 7th grade programs, and a 2-week summer camp, Some Have Greatness at the Bothwell Arts Center.

Livermore Shakespeare Festival’s pilot program was funded through a generous grant from Severns Family Foundation.

Livermore Shakespeare Festival’s Education Program was chosen by the Wente Foundation for Arts Education as a featured beneficiary at the Livermore Valley Wine Auction held on May 9, 2015.

The 2017-2018 Second Grade Program will be funded by grants from California Arts Council and  Livermore Valley Education Foundation.

Smith Elementary students warming up – 2017. Photo by Bob Palmer, LVJUSD


Teaching Artists

Mary Eilers-Fielding

Mary received her BA in musical theatre at the University of the Pacific and went on to get her teaching credential at SF State. She has been a classroom teacher for a variety of age groups including middle school and first grade. Mary has been seen in Shakespeare’s Associates’ Sonnet Cafe this year and in The Taming of the Shrew at LSF 2013. Additionally, Mary has worked with Curtain Theatre on several of their summer Shakespeare productions. Mary is currently the 6th Core & Theater Acting at Joe Michell K-8 School in Livermore.

Caitlin Evenson

Caitlin has taught theatre camps with TheatreWorks, Cal Shakes, and SF Shakes, and Bay Area Children’s Theatre. In addition to working with these companies, she also teaches in-school residencies with SFArtsEd. She has toured with the TheatreWorks educational OSKAR shows teaching children about anti-bullying and gender expression and with SF Shakes’ school tour production of MACBETH. She also works with Berkeley Interactive Theatre to help with social and cultural awareness in university settings. Selected Bay Area theatres include Livermore Shakespeare Festival, California Shakespeare Theater, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, the Breadbox, Cutting Ball Theater, Ragged Wing Ensemble, PlayGround, Theatre Pub, Los Altos Stage Company, and PianoFight. She holds an honors degree in History and a minor in Theatre and Performance Studies from UC Berkeley and is a proud recipient of the 2015-16 TBA TITAN award.

Deborah Lagin

Deborah Lagin is thrilled to be a teaching artist for Livermore Shakespeare Festival.  She was seen recently as Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and in Persuasion and The Tempest. She graduated from University of California at Irvine with a Bachelor’s in Drama and a minor in Comparative Literature. Among her favorite roles at UC Irvine were Thomasina in Arcadia, Miranda in The Tempest, and Tillie in Effect Gamma Rays of Man in the Moon Marigolds. She served as an Acting Intern at Marin Shakespeare Company and appeared as Young Elizabeth in Richard III. Deborah also went to Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts for their conservatory program, where she had the honor to perform as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.

Cyndi Lagodzinski

Cynthia has served as the Production Manager for LSF. She has also designed props for several shows, and appeared in LSF’s Pride and Prejudice  as Lady Catherine and Mrs.Gardiner. She played Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest at Las Positas College. Other recent credits include Mrs. Antrobus in The Skin of Our Teeth at Douglas Morrisson Theatre, Claire in Proof at Hillbarn Theatre, and Marie in Ladies Man at Role Players Ensemble. She holds a BFA in Acting and Playwriting and a Post Baccalaureate in Directing from UC Santa Cruz.

Jennifer Le Blanc

Jennifer performed the leading roles in LSF’s Cyrano de Bergerac, Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew, Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth, and The Real Thing. Jennifer has worked with Denver Center Theater Company, TheatreWorks, Pacific Rep, Shotgun Players, and the Arabian, Colorado, Marin, and San Francisco Shakespeare Festivals. Jennifer is a member of Actor¹s Equity; her MFA is from the National Theatre Conservatory. She also teaches with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and with the Arabian Shakespeare Festival. Jennifer is a produced playwright and adaptor.  She directed LSF’s production of Sense and Sensibility and wrote the adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

Michael Wayne Rice

Michael has appeared in 8 shows with Livermore Shakespeare Festival including The Tempest, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Cymbeline, As You Like It, and The Seagull. He has acted on stages in Missouri, New York, Los Angeles, Washington and San Francisco. Michael is a graduate of the University of Missouri @ Kansas City with an M.F.A. in Acting and Directing. He has taught at the University of Missouri @ Kansas City, the University of the Pacific, and the University of San Francisco.

Lindsey Marie Schmeltzer

Lindsey performed in Livermore’s productions of The Tempest, Persuasion, Sense & Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, As You Like It, and Much Ado About Nothing, and is delighted to join them again as part of their Teaching Artist Team. Lindsey also teaches with Berkeley Repertory Theater, Cal Shakes, and Walnut Creek’s Youth Theater Programs. Lindsey has performed with Sacramento Theater Company, Shakespeare Napa Valley, Texas Shakespeare Company, and Milwaukee Repertory Theater. She has a BA in Musical Theater from California State University, Chico, and was the Education Intern for Milwaukee Repertory Theater for their 2012/13 season, where she taught reading skills through acting to low income schools.

Elissa Beth Stebbins

Elissa appeared in Livermore Shakespeare Festival’s Pride & Prejudice in 2014 as Elizabeth Bennet, played Ophelia in Hamlet in 2012, and Viola in Twelfth Night. Elissa works as an actor and as a Teaching Artist all over the Bay Area. She is a proud recipient of Theatre Bay Area’s Titan Award and is a 2013 TBA FACES honoree. She has a BA in Theatre and English from Santa Clara University.

Maryssa Wanlass

Maryssa is pleased to return to Livermore Shakespeare Festival, where she was seen as Rosalind in As You Like It, Rosencrantz in Hamlet and Justice Shallow in Merry Wives of Windsor. Other credits include Betrayal (Pear Avenue Theatre), Macbeth (San Francisco Shakespeare Festival), Persuasion (San Jose Stage), Crime and Punishment (San Jose Repertory Theatre), Enchanted April, Witness for the Prosecution (Center REPertory Company), Much Ado About Nothing, Good Person of Szechuan (Woman’s Will), How I Learned to Drive, Gaslight (Hapgood Theatre Company), Picture of Dorian Gray, All About Eve (Theatre Rhinoceros). As a Teaching Artist, she can be found empowering young women through the Girls’ Leadership Institute, helping at-risk young adults in West Oakland discover Shakespeare’s stories through SF Shakes’ Midnight Shakespeare program, and giving maximum security inmates a voice through improv acting workshops with Red Ladder Theatre Company. She is a Resident Artist with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. She studied acting at Mills College and with the Moscow Art Theatre. More info: