Theatre Department Faculty Ingrid Schaeffer: Chair of Theatre Department. Focus: Acting and Directing. Education: BFA, Drama, Carnegie Mellon University and advance study at New York University and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. 6th Year EDL Southern Connecticut University. Ingrid is an award winning teacher and director. She has taught theatre for over 20 years and many of her students have gone on to study in the best universities and conservatories for theatre in the country. Her students have gained work in regional theatres, films, soaps and Broadway. She has performed in theaters in Connecticut, New York, Maine, Vermont and Chicago. She is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association and the American Alliance for Theatre in Education. Ingrid is also the Founder and Director of Creative Dramatics, a private children‘s theatre school.
Aaron Jafferis: Focus: Playwriting and Theatre for Social Change. BA in Arts & Social Change from the University of California at Berkeley, studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and received his MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU. Aaron Jafferis’ musicals Kingdom (Richard Rodgers Award, NYMF Most Promising New Musical), Stuck Elevator (Creative Capital Award, NEFA National Theatre Pilot, Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award), How to Break (Barbour Playwright’s Award), Blood Magic,Shakespeare: The Remix, and No Lie have been produced, presented, or developed by The Old Globe, Public Theater, Sundance Theatre Lab, Atlantic Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and many others. A former Open Rap Slam champion at the National Poetry Slam Championships, Aaron teaches poetry and hip-hop theatre in schools and health centers in his home of New Haven, CT.
Carolyn Ladd: Focus: Voice and Speech, Acting and Musical Theatre. Education: St. Olaf College - BA Fine Arts; Northwestern University – MA Theatre History, MS Education; and the Theatre School of DePaul University – MFA Acting. Carolyn is a professional actor, musician and director who has worked on stage and in film and commercials in New York, Chicago and New Haven. She has served as vocal coach for professional and university productions, and maintains a private studio for singers, actors, and presenters. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Voice and Speech Trainers Association.
Michael Lerner: Focus: Acting and Directing, Classical Theater, Theater for Young Audiences, Stage Combat. Education: BA Connecticut College, National Theatre Institute, MS Theater/English Education SCSU. Michael is a professional director, actor, and playwright who has been teaching students of all ages for 27 years. He has directed and acted regionally in New York, Seattle, Boston, Washington DC, and throughout the Midwest. Plays he’s written have been performed as close as New Haven and as far afield as Dayton, OH. Additionally, Michael specializes in over life-sized puppetry and mask theater. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Peter Loffredo: Focus: Acting and Directing. Education: BA Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA and trained as an actor at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Peter has directed many Theatre for Social Change productions at ECA as well as other mainstage productions. He is founder and Artistic Director of Connecticut Heritage Productions based in Middletown Connecticut. He is also Artistic Director of The Free at Last Players, a stigma-buster troupe, whose mission is to raise awareness about the myths and stigma of mental illness. He has taught workshops, directed and performed in numerous productions in London, New York and Connecticut.
James Luse: Focus Acting and Directing. Education: MFA in Acting/Directing Brandeis University, Graduate of the Baikal Theatre School, Irkutsk, Siberia, Russian Federation. Having been appointed to theatre faculties of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, College of William & Mary, Yale University and Northern Michigan University, he spent the last four years as the Head of the BFA Program in Acting for Wayne State University. James was awarded the Oscar Wilde Award for Between the Lines, City of Detroit, for ―best ensemble‖ for his production of Compleat Female Stage Beauty at the Hillary Repertory. He has acted throughout regional theatre and summer stock, most recently at The Virginia Shakespeare Festival, The New Moon Repertory (NYC), The Archlight (NYC), Bristol Riverside Theatre, and the International Stanislavsky Theatre Studio.
Joan Keogh McAfee: Focus: Acting and Directing. Education: BA with honors from Southern Connecticut State University. Graduate study Tufts University. She was co-founder and Artistic Director of Sparrow Theatre Arts Repertory in Atlanta, and served on the faculty of Metro-Atlanta‘s Cobb Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts. Joan has over 30 years of experience directing classical and contemporary plays, musicals and operas. She is an adjunct professor at Southern Connecticut State University. Acting credits include Yale Rep, Long Wharf Theatre, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and theaters in Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Boston and Atlanta.
Pamela Newell recently relocated to Connecticut from Montreal where she was a vital member of the dance community as choreographer, performer, educator and writer for nearly twenty years. Since 1988, she has created a dozen choreographic works, among them Being Susan Sontag (2006) and Ultreya! or my soul has legs (2004), which was described in Montreal’s La Presse as “absolutely magical…her dance gives off a particular aura, a subtle mix of sensual power and meditative, ethereal communion”. For more than ten years she toured the world as both dancer and rehearsal director for Compagnie Marie Chouinard, reaping critical acclaim such as “virtuoso” and “transfigured by passion” for her performances. Pam’s writings on dance have appeared in diverse books and periodicals and her research on the role of the dancer in the choreographic process has won awards for scholarly excellence. Pam’s teaching engagements have included Concordia University (Montréal), Université du Québec à Montréal and Harvard University. As well, she has taught master classes at Wesleyan University and at Connecticut, Kenyon and Middlebury Colleges, and at festivals around the globe. Pam is a certified Laban Movement Analyst and holds a Master’s Degree from the Université du Québec a Montreal. She is currently on the dance and theater faculties at New Haven’s Educational Center for the Arts.