In-School Programs

So Wise So Young an in-school literacy program

“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 Fielding, Shakespeare’s Associates Teaching Artist

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.

2017/18 Sponsors

Teaching Artists

Mary 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.

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.

Cynthia 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 BergeracMuch 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 Shakespeare’s Associates, including The Tempest, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, CymbelineAs 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 Classical Stage Performance. Michael teaches at the University level and as a teaching artist.

Lindsey Marie Schmeltzer

Lindsey performed in Livermore’s productions of 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 Stebbins

Elissa appeared in Livermore Shakespeare Festival’s Pride & Prejudice in 2014 as Elisabeth 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 last seen as 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:

Aubrey Whitlock

Aubrey supported LSF 17 as a stage manager and dramaturg. She has been an actor, stage manager, and teaching artist for Sweet Wag Shakespeare, a touring company based in Staunton, Virginia. While in Virginia, she had the opportunity to perform at the world-famous Blackfriars Playhouse. Some favorite roles include Falstaff in Henry IV, Part I, Belarius in Cymbeline, and Orlando, Touchstone, Duke Senior, Phoebe, and Audrey in a three-person production of As You Like It. Aubrey is also a credentialed teacher and for six years she taught English and Drama at high schools in South Central Los Angeles and in the Central Valley. She holds an MFA and an MLitt in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin College, an MA in Teaching from Chapman University, and a BA in Theatre Arts from UC Santa Cruz. More info at: