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. In the 2016/2017 school year, Livermore Shakespeare Festival Teaching Artists teach in ALL LIVERMORE JOINT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT 2ND GRADE CLASSROOMS. 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 was created to align with Common Core Literacy standards.

In the winter and spring of 2015 Livermore Shakespeare Festival piloted a program in the second grade classrooms of Joe Michell Elementary, produced a half day workshop Del Valle Continuation High School and visited English classrooms at Livermore High School.

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.

2015-2016 Second Grade Program funded in part from a generous grant through Livermore Valley Education Foundation.

2016/17 Sponsors

Livermore Valley Education Foundation
Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center
Rotarian Foundation of Livermore
Severns Family Foundation
Lori Souza and Brian Balazs
Mony Nop Foundation


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 assistant for Livermore Shakespeare Festival. She recently 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. Last summer she was 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 for the past three years 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 most recently played “Lady Bracknell” in The Importance of Being Earnest at Las Positas. 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 has appeared in LSF’s Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew, Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth, and The Real Thing. Jennifer has worked with 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 will direct LSF’s upcoming production of Sense and Sensibility

Michael Wayne Rice

Michael has appeared in 6 shows with Shakespeare’s Associates, including CymbelineAs You Like It, and The Seagull. He has acted on stages in Missouri, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Michael is a graduate of the University of Missouri @ Kansas City with an M.F.A. in Classical Stage Performance. Michael currently teaches acting at the University of the Pacific and has also taught at UMKC and the University of San Francisco.

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 and played Ophelia in Hamlet in 2012.  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

This is Aubrey’s first season with Livermore Shakespeare and she could not be more excited. Most recently, Aubrey has been an actor, stage manager, and teaching artist for Sweet Wag Shakespeare, a touring company based out of Staunton, Virginia. While in Virginia she had the opportunity to perform at the world-famous Blackfriars Playhouse. Some of her 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: