Three weeks after moving to NYC from outside Boston, she join The New Mercury Theatre Company, where not only did she star in Chip Bolcik’s Mike and Dana, but became NMT’s company manager. Jen is an original member of NMT’s The Usual Suspects Improv Troupe and performs with them regularly throughout the city.
She received her acting training from The Eugene O’Neill National Theatre Institute in Waterford, Connecticut. She is very excited to have been in Chip Bolcik’s award winning play The Blizzard. She was a Best Actress Nominee at the Strawberry One Act Festival for her roll in that production.
Sulochana Dissanayake ’09 is a freelance artist engaged in theater-creation, HR training and education, based in Pita-Kotte, Sri Lanka. She graduated from Bates College, USA in May 2009 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and Theater. Formally trained in acting, directing and play writing, she pursued internships to gain professional theater experience in leading American theaters/programmes. In 2007, she traveled to Hungary, Czech Republic and Austria to study ‘Central European Theatre and Film’ (offered by Bates College). She was selected as an Apprentice for the Williamstown Theater Festival 2007, one of the leading summer stock theaters in USA where she co-created an original ensemble piece Project:IDENTITY (WTF Workshop) which addressed issues of identity and self-awareness of actors. In summer 2008, she was selected for a Directing Internship at The Guthrie Theater – one of the top ten regional theaters of USA located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In fall 2008, she directed one of the 2 mainstage productions of Bates College – becoming one of the rare students to be awarded a position usually reserved for faculty.
Keen on discovering the uses of performing arts in addressing socially and economically relevant issues – both in and out of the work place – she travelled to South Africa and Indonesia on a Watson Fellowship 2009/10 (granted by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation for a year of travel and exploration to 40 graduates for their outstanding promise as members of the world community) and studied practical uses of theater in addressing issues of self and others. In South Africa she worked with UBOM! – a developmental theatre company and FTH;K – a visual/non-verbal theatre that integrates deaf and hearing performers – examining original creations and the multi purposes of theatre beyond entertainment. In Indonesia, she worked with internationally acclaimed artists who combined ancient traditions of puppetry to create contemporary performances that delights local and foreign audiences by retaining a unique cultural identity.
Back in Sri Lanka for the foreseeable future, her goal is to advance performing arts (theater and puppetry) as a dynamic mode of communication, training and development – integrating traditions and communities of Sri Lanka to highlight issues integral to modern lives. She trains and performs in educational institutes and corporate organizations while producing original works.
“Bates helped me discover who I am in a professional context. I found my own feet and gained skills to complement my confidence… [I thank] every single faculty and staff in the Theater & Dance department (I mean every single one) for I would NOT be where I am if not for the combined efforts of all of them!” Sulochana Dissanayake ’09
Stacia Saniuk ’09 is a technical director and scenic and lighting designer originally from Massachusetts. Stacia graduated from Bates College in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, concentrating in Stage Management and Theatre Production. She is currently the Technical Director at Waynflete School in Portland, Maine where she designs the set and lights for four mainstage dramatic performances and three all-school dance performances, while providing technical support for all instrumental and choral concerts each school year. Stacia is also a freelance designer for professional theaters in the southern Maine area and is pursuing a Masters of Arts degree from Burlington College in Theatrical Design and Production.
After graduating from Bates, Stacia worked as a production/stage management intern at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California. West coast credits include, Crowns, Cyberia, The Night is a Child, Baby It’s You, Camelot, and Exiles. Upon the playhouse’s closer, Stacia returned to New England in further pursuit of her theatrical career. Freelance design/production credits include, Petrushka (Emerson College – Paramount Theatre), Good Medicine (Farmington, Maine), Harvey (Farmington, Maine), The Last Romance (City Theatre – Biddeford, Maine), and Aquitania (Ziggurat Theatre Ensemble).
“The Bates Theater Department welcomed me into the major as a second semester junior. Having rekindled my love for theatrical production in Australia during a semester abroad, I was cautious to make a change so late in my Bates career. While it was undoubtedly a challenge, the theater department allowed me to pursue my love for theater and for this I am forever grateful. Bates sparked my creativity not only as a student, but continually as a professional.” Stacia Saniuk ’09
Thomas Wesson ’09 is a professional actor in New York City working on a range of areas in the entertainment industry. While at Bates, Thomas acted in theater productions every single semester and by the end of Senior year had decided to pursue a career. He moved to New York, trained at the esteemed Stella Adler Studio of Acting and began working. He works on feature length indie movies, short films, staged plays, readings, industrial commercials, music videos and modeling shoots. In addition to acting, he is an associate producer on a TV Pilot and a screenwriter. He completed a feature length screenplay; a historical biopic on the life of Henry David Thoreau that is currently receiving great interest. His next screenplay is about the crazy world of real estate in New York City. When acting, he is most often cast as the leading man, a type that solidified in his final years at Bates.
While at Bates, Thomas acted in 14 different theater productions. Favorites include Measure for Measure, Lie of the Mind, Alcestis and Private Eyes. The many opportunities to get on stage, the wonderful instruction of his professors and the high quality of the Bates Theater Department have been instrumental to his real world success. Unlike many actors who attended purely performance based art schools, Bates’s rigorous academic environment provides a distinct advantage in understanding theater, writing and teamwork.
“Bates’ Theater Department displayed such passion for the art of acting that it quickly became my main extra curricular activity: I couldn’t get enough. I ended up doing a minor in Theater, traveling to Europe to explore Central European Theater and Film for Short Term and acting in many shows. My post-graduate life would have been very different had I not discovered Theater at Bates. I believe people should pursue what makes them happy. Bates and the professors of the Theater Department helped me realize I was happiest when discussing plays, going to rehearsal and putting on a show.”
Stephen Lattanzi ’08 is a professional actor, currently working in Los Angeles. In addition to roles in the Los Angeles theatre: Angelo (Measure For Measure; Write Act Repertory) and Cletis Fulenroy (Lone Star; Underground Theatre Co.) his credits include work on CSI: Miami (CBS) and most recently a role in the political thriller Argo (dir. Ben Affleck) in a scene opposite John Goodman. He has also been fortunate to write, produce, and star in the award winning web series Keeping Up With the Downs. The most recent episodes feature Bates Theatre Alums Tim Fox ’11 and Marielle Vigneau-Britt ’10
“Not a day goes by that I don’t draw upon the staggeringly well rounded theatrical education afford me by the faculty in the Bates Department of Theatre. As a professional actor in Los Angeles so much of my work can be attributed to the strong set of fundamentals and unique range of experiences I was exposed to while on campus. Under the tutelage of Martin Andrucki, Paul Kuritz, Katalin Vecsey, Micahel Reidy, Christine McDowell, and Kathy Peters I was opened up to the intricacies of the theatre. The elements of production that went far beyond performance, from costume, scenic, and lighting design, to play writing, and direction. The hope was that experience within the different subsets of the discipline would give me a greater understanding, appreciation, and grasp of my work as an actor. This insight and wealth of knowledge has translated into some early success in my professional career. “
Sam Leichter ’08 is a professional actor and playwright. Over the past three years, Sam performed with some of the top San Francisco Bay Area theatres including Marin Theatre Company, Center REP, Marin Shakespeare Company, Playwright’s Foundation and African American Shakespeare Company. A proud member of Actor’s Equity Association, Sam is currently pursuing his MFA in acting at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Sam’s plays The Philadelphian andThe Pond were seen at the BOA Festival, and The Witch Doctor advanced to the final round of PianoFight’s ShortLived, the largest audience-judged playwright competition in the US. Sam has taught drama to children of all ages, and served as the Education Manager at Marin Shakespeare Company. During his time at Bates, Sam appeared in 9 shows, his favorites beingThree Sisters, Measure for Measure and The House of Blue Leaves.
“In the last three years, I’ve acted in dozens of plays at some of the top theaters in the area, had three of my own plays produced, directed, worked as an arts administrator, joined Actors’ Equity Association (the union of professional actors), taught acting to children of all ages, and, most recently, been accepted to the MFA Acting program at Rutgers University. In all of these endeavors, I have relied heavily on my Bates education.” Sam Leichter ’08
Molly Anne Coogan ’05 is an actor, writer, musician, director, and producer originally from Northern California. Recent acting credits include: Anna Ziegler’s An Incident at the Tony Award Winning Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center; workshop and world premiere of Laura Schellhardt’s Auctioning the Ainsleys (TheatreWorks); world premiere of Paul Gordon’s Jane Austen’s Emma (TheatreWorks); M. Butterfly (TheatreWorks); Killing John Grisham (NYC Fringe); Assassins (Custom Made); Blindsight: A Melodic Hypothesis (Culture Project) as well as numerous workshops including Bess Wohl’s Touch(ed) and Anna Ziegler’s Variations on a Theme. Her musicalStairway to Stardom (based on the 1984 public access TV show of the same name) that Molly wrote, directed, and performed in was just produced by Ars Nova and included in ANT Fest 2011. She is a contributing writer and cast member of the award winning webseries Hot Mess, her album Dropping Anchor was released in August 2011, and her music video (filmed in one continuous uncut shot, which she wrote and produced) for her song It Could Be is currently appearing in film festivals throughout the US.
Andrew Haserlat ’05 is an actor, director, choreographer, and scenic designer in NYC. A proud member of SAG, AFTRA, and AEA Andrew has toured internationally with MGM’s 75th Anniversary production of The Wizard of OZ (Scarecrow) and My Fair Lady. After graduating from Bates (where he majored in Biology and Theater), Andrew served for two years as Education Associate at North Shore Music Theater and directed numerous productions for Ogunquit Playhouses Department of Education – notably the New England premier of Disney/Steven Schwart’s My Son Pinocchio, Pinkalicious, and Fairy Houses: The Musical (based on the children’s book series by Maine local Tracy Kane). In New York City he has appeared in the York Theatre Company’s production of Edith Stein, Cat’s Cradle with Untitled Theater Co. #61, and the pre-Broadway reading of Empire. Regionally: Bill in John Pielmeier’s World Premiere of Slow Dance with a Hot Pick-Up (Barnstormers), Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol (Hanover Theatre), Henry Ford in Ragtime, Will Parker in Oklahoma!, Fyedka in Fiddler on the Roof (Reagle Players), Les Miserables, The Producers, Fiddler on the Roof, High School Musical, and The Full Monty (Ogunquit Playhouse), and Jesus Christ Superstar (North Shore Music Theater). Andrew has worked on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Gossip Girl,” and “Smash” as well as the feature films ”The Social Network” and Disney’s ”The Surrogates.” As a scenic designer Andrew has worked with Bates Alum John Ambrosino ’01 (Animus Ensemble’s Once Upon A Mattress) and Saida Cooper ’04 (Wizard Oil Production’s Empire of the Trees). Since 2009 Haserlat has assisted NY based scenic designer Craig Napoliello on various projects including the recent production of Witness for the Prosecution at the Fulton Opera. In addition to his directorial work in education and youth theater Haserlat directed the 2012 production of Unity Stage Company’s Bye Bye Birdie in NYC.
“My senior year I directed and scenic designed Keneth Lonergan’s gritty drama ‘This is our Youth’; a play which to this day drives my career in its overall theme: Wether to stay complacent in time or thrust boldly into the unknown in and make your dreams a reality. Bates allowed me to explore all the diverse facets of theater and with that knowledge gained i find myself tackling new project, booking callbacks, and discovering my own idea of ‘success’ on a daily basis.”Andrew Haserlat ’05
John Ambrosino ’01 is a theater Professional living in New York City. After receiving his B.A. in Theater Directing from Bates College, John became an artistic associate at The Wang Center for the Performing Arts (now the CitiCenter for the Performing Arts), New England’s largest non-profit performing arts center. While at the Wang, John was instrumental in creating American Voices–a reading series of classic American Plays at the Shubert Theater. The series connected the classic American cannon with such performers as Paul Rudd, Dennis O’Hare, Anthony Mackie, Charles Busch, Kerry O’Malley and Ruben Santiago Hudson. Also at the Wang, John served as an associate producer for Commonwealth Shakespeare Company the resident LORT theater that produces free productions of Shakespeare on the Boston Common. John oversaw Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s largest budget show in the company’s history–Hamlet staring Jeffery Donovan. The 2005 production drew nearly 100,000 patrons over the 20 free performances. In addition, John worked with Vice President of Programming, Steven Maler, to develop a slate of product to fill the 3,600 seat Wang Theater and the 1,250 seat Shubert Theater. With Maler, John also served as associate producer of Wilde Nites LLC, which produced Academy Award winning comedienne Whoopi Goldberg in An Evening with Whoopi Goldberg at the Wang Theater.
In the fall of 2005 John left the Wang Center in order to focus more directly on his own theater company, Animus Ensemble, which he founded in 2001 directly following his college matriculation. Over his five years with Animus, John produced and directed 10 productions at the Boston Center for the Arts. The mission of the company was to create a dialogue with audiences using music, movement and drama. His production of Burt Bacharach’s Promises, Promises earned the company an IRNE nomination for Best Musical Production and also earned him an IRNE nomination for Best Director of a Musical.
John left Boston to pursue artistic opportunities in New York City in 2007. Upon his arrival, he worked as an actor in the development of The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley. Through a series of workshops the classic children’s story was adapted for the musical stage. He toured the United States in the title role in the production’s first national tour. Upon his return, John joined the Las Vegas company of the hit Broadway show, Jersey Boys.
John is currently a principal producing partner for U Rock Theatricals L.L.C. a New York based theatrical production company.
“Without my mentors and colleagues at Bates, my career would not have been so varied and fruitful! When I am in a theater, be it as a director, actor or producer, it is always a ‘great day to be a Bobcat’!” John Ambrosino ’01
Amy Robbins-Wilson ’92 is a healing music artist. She holds a BA in Empowerment Theater for Women from Bates College, a masters in Expressive Arts Therapies from Lesley University and a masters in Ritual Song and Chant Performance from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, Ireland. She is the author of the award winning book Transformational Mothering-A Prayerful Companion for New Mothers the creator of the online musical parenting program Mommy Jingles and four albums of music. Her albumLullaby and Goodnight-33 lullabies for babies was awarded a Kids Music Award in 2011 and The Divine Hours of Motherhood was awarded a Gold Mom’s Choice Award in 2010. Her original lullaby, Angels Watch Over My Baby, from The Divine Hours was selected by St. Jude’s Research Hospital to be used in a nationwide television fundraising campaign in 2012.
Amy streams live online healing music circles from her home in Belfast and performs Angel Baby Remembrance Concerts to help those who are healing from the loss of a child. She is a recipient of the Harry S. Truman Award and the co-founder of Angelsong Creations, LLC and Cat Game Apps, LLC. To learn more about Amy you are invited to AmyRobbinsWilson.com.