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YAS Staff / Teachers


ARGO THOMPSON (Artistic Director)

Argo is the artistic director of The California Theatre, Left Edge Theatre, and Young Actors Studio. He is a fourth generation Santa Rosa who loves all things Sonoma County. He has directed and produced over 100 shows locally. Favorites include A Steady Rain, Drumming with Anubis, Angels in America, The Realistic Joneses, Good People, Hamiltunes, The Princess Bride, Elf, and Fully Committed.


SANDRA ISH (Private Acting Coaching All Grades)

Sandra Ish is a native to Northern California and has been working professionally in the Bay Area for decades. After receiving her BFA from California Institute of the Arts, Sandra resided
in San Francisco doing commercial, film and print work. Her true love has always been the stage. Sandra is an Artistic Associate at Left Edge Theatre where she has worked since the opening of the venue. She has taught classes and directed for YAS many times over the years and has been a private acting coach to many teens and adults. Her passion for the craft is evident and students benefit from her years of professional knowledge.


GRACE KENT (Dance & Movement)

Grace Kent is a dance and movement teacher for the youth and adults. She has taught workshops in aerial silks, dance, and stage presence at different studios around Sonoma County and in Ashland OR where she received her Bachelors in Theater Arts at Southern Oregon University. She is thrilled to be joining the teaching program. Her recent dance credits include choreographing Elf the Musical for Left Edge Theatre and Disney's The Descendants The Musical for Young Actors Studio. 


JESS HEADINGTON (Acting Grades 6-7, 8-12)

Jess Headington (she/her) teaches Advanced Acting for grades 6-12.  Her approach is actor-centered and respectful of each student’s own lived experiences. She combines technique and passion for the craft of storytelling to guide students toward their own discoveries. Jess has a BFA in Theatre Arts from Stephens College and has been working as an actor, director, and teaching artist in Sonoma County since 2010.  During her undergraduate years, she served as Artistic Director & Dramaturge of the student-run Warehouse Theatre Company.  She spent a year with the Vienna Theatre Project in Vienna, Austria working as an actor & directing apprentice.  Jess taught scene study classes for tweens, teens, and adults at the 6th Street Playhouse School of Drama from 2014 to 2019.  Her most onstage appearances include Dancing Lessons at Cinnabar Theater, Barbecue Apocalypse at Spreckels Theater Company, and the one-woman holiday comedy The Twelve Dates of Christmas at 6th Street Playhouse.  Her recent film The Deep End won Best Comedy at the 2021 Hollyshorts Film Festival.

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ANTHONY MARTINEZ (Education Director. Private Coaching. Voice and Singing Grades 3-12)

Anthony Martinez is a Sonoma County-based professional actor, singer, and musician. Anthony has been with YAS since 2017 and during that time has served as Music Director and/or Director on 17 Young Actors Studio productions, including Disney's The Descendants, Willy Wonka, Jr., Moana Jr., and Alice@Wonderland. Anthony trained as an actor and singer with some of the finest teachers and studios in the country, and has appeared on film, onstage, and in commercials for over 25 years. A member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, in addition to his work with the Young Actors Studio program Anthony also maintains a private voice and acting studio, providing individual attention to young performers in a supportive, one-on-one environment.

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CHERYL KING  (Acting, grades 2-5)

Cheryl King has been working in the performing arts since 1978, as a mime, comedian, actor, writer, and director. Since 1999 she has taught writing, improvisation, and acting to students of all ages in NYC, LA, Seattle, and Chicago. Cheryl’s unique approach to teaching elementary school students involves helping them get fully into the mind and body of the character via improv exercises and games. She has worked extensively with children ages 4-16 in both stage and screen acting. She has network TV experience, having served as resident acting coach for the hit soap opera All My Children, at ABC Studios in NYC. Cheryl created and ran her own theater in NYC, Stage Left Studio, from 2005-2015, and has acted in and directed dozens of productions across the US. She studied for over a decade in NYC and LA with acclaimed teachers Carol Fox Prescott, Gary Austin, Michael Gellman, Rod Menzies, and Jeffrey Sweet.


LULU THOMPSON (Acting Grades K-5)

Lulu Thompson is a director, actor & musician who has taught theatre classes in the north bay for over five years - to all ages, from kindergarteners to college students. In addition to after-school classes & summer camps, she is also a recurring guest teacher in Santa Rosa High School's ArtQuest theatre program.Informed by music & contemporary dance, Lulu focuses on helping students develop physicality, group movement & an ensemble-based creative process. As a devised-theatre artist, she facilitates classes in the creation of new plays - allowing each student to share their unique creative voice, while developing listening skills & group awareness.



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