Amy Waguespack, Artistic Director


Amy Waguespack. Director

Amy is the Artistic Director and founder of Acting Up (in Acadiana). A Louisiana native, Amy finished her BA in English Literature at the University of Maine and her MFA in Theatre Arts at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She teaches privately (students of all ages) at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, and has taught at UMM, SUNY Stony Brook, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and South Louisiana Community College. She has former students who have worked in television, film, theatre, and commercials in New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Chicago, as well as touring internationally. This year, two of Acting Up’s Jr. Company members were accepted into NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts. As an actor and director she has a passion for the classics and for the development of new works. Favorite directing projects have included LYSISTRATA, TWELFTH NIGHT, THE TEMPEST, MACBETH, SUSTAINED WINDS, and UNBEARABLY LO_ELY (as artistic and assistant director to guest artist Justin Zsebe). Acting credits include Harper in ANGELS IN AMERICA under the direction of Martha Banta in New York. Recently she played a character named Amy in Tom Krueger’s film THE DAISY CHAIN. Under her leadership, Acting Up has collaborated with numerous non-profit organizations such as PASA, Healing House, The Junior League, Lafayette Animal Aid, and Acadiana Outreach Center. Amy has also worked in arts and education encouraging the arts to be integrated into the academic curriculum. She has taught numerous professional development workshops for the Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Parish School Board. She served as the master theatre artist for the PAL Initiative (Performing Arts Learners) through a grant from the DANA Foundation and administered by the ACA. Currently she works with KidSmart, a New Orleans based arts organization, doing two week residencies in various schools around the state. Amy helped develop the summer theatre program for the ACA through the GEAR UP program, as well as continuing into year ten of the Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble—a 15 day intensive performing arts camp for students ages 10-senior in high school.



Hannah Briggs, actor

A native of Sunset, Louisiana, has been part of the local theatre scene for nearly twelve years earning her Bachelor of Performing Arts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2003.  As a member of Acting Up, she has performed in numerous productions including Twelfth NightThe Complete Works of William Shakespeare: AbridgedMacbeth, the original cast of Sustained Winds, and Play.Music.Heal.  She made her dance debut in Simplicated Complified last spring.  Since December of 2005, Briggs has been one of the original members of the sketch comedy group Skit Happens.  She is excited about participating in her seventh year with the Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble.  She enjoys working with young children and teaches drama at a local elementary school for the arts where she recently received the honor of 2011 Teacher of the Year.  Briggs also served on the Elementary School Theatre Arts Committee to write the official arts curriculum for the state of Louisiana.


Ricky Briggs, actor/writer

Ricky has over ten years of experience in standup and sketch comedy, stage, film and television.  He has entertained nationally in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Austin, New Orleans, and Orlando. Locally, he has performed at the AcA, 307 Downtown, Cite’ des Arts, AOC, Artmosphere, Grantstreet and Bella Notte.  Briggs has also performed with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on Correct Usage & Common ErrorsPicasso at the Lapin Agile and The Tempest.  Since 2003, Briggs has been involved with Acting Up as both an actor and writer. He has been seen in Angels in AmericaTwelfth NightThe Complete Works of William Shakespeare: AbridgedMacbeth, the original cast of Sustained Winds, and Play.Music.Heal. He co-founded the sketch comedy group Skit Happens in December of 2005. Briggs has been an Acting Coach for Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble for 7 years.


Lian Cheramie, actor/writer

is originally from Lafayette, Louisiana. Lian received her BFA in Performing Arts at ULL and has been involved with Acting Up!(in Acadiana) since its beginnings. Some of Lian’s favorite roles have been Brett in Sarah Schulman’s Correct Usage and Common Errors, Trinculo in The Tempest, and Viola in Twelfth Night. She has also been in the original works Sustained Winds, Play.Music.Heal, and Unbearably Lo[ ]ely. With the help of Acting Up!, Lian created and performed her first one woman show in 2008. She continues to train in her summers. For two years, she trained at Chicago’s Second City in improv and sketch writing. This summer, Lian was accepted to take part in the 3 week intensive training session with the multi-award winning Philadelphia based company Pig Iron. Over the course, she trained in mask (5 different types of masks) and clown work. Lian loves being a talented theatre teacher in a variety of schools for Lafayette Parish. Her students have aided in writing, collaborating, and developing their own original works, such as Cirrco EccentricoAll the World’s a Stage: A Shakespearean Mash-upTaking it to the Streets: An Afternoon of Street Theatreand more.


Brian Crutchfield, actor/production designer

Brian is from Jeanerette, Louisiana. He has received an associate’s degree from South Louisiana Community College in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Digital Media and Production, and is currently enrolled at ULL. Aside from his involvement with Acting Up. Brian has performed in local community theater, independent and studio films, as well production designer for a number of local independent films.


David Guarisco, actor

David, lawyer turned physical therapist assistant, was first cast as the father in a local community theatre production of TONY AND TINA'S WEDDING.  He then began working with Acting Up where he has been seen in THE BAR PLAYS, THE PATRIOT ACTS, MACBETH, SUSTAINED WINDS, UNBEARABLY LO[ ]ELY AND TWELFTH NIGHT. David has also performed in productions of HAPPY DAYS and THE FAT MAN'S WIFE. He has also appeared in local television commercials and independent film works including Tom Krueger's film "The Daisy Chain" and Zack Godshall's film "Absolute".


Kara Guarisco, actor/writer

Kara has been working with Acting Up in Acadiana for the past eight years, where she began as a student of the first ever Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble. Student turned company member and teacher, she assists private theatre classes during the year and is thrilled to serve as acting coach with SYSE once again this summer. Notable shows as a student include A Midsummer Night's DreamMuch Ado About Nothing, and As You Like It. As a company member, MacbethSustained WindsPLAY.MUSIC.HEAL. and Unbearably Lo[ ]ely are among her favorites. Kara was accepted as a young creative artist to serve as a part of an international delegation at the Festival TransAmèriques in Montréal. She was also a recipient of the Hill-Bonin PASA scholarship which gave her the opportunity to study with SITI company in Chicago. Most recently, Kara performed in an original dance piece entitled I've Stopped Having That Dream I've Been Having as a dancer. She is currently studying English and French at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.


George Saucier, actor/musician

George was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana and is a full-time student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He’s played and been around music his entire life. He began acting in 2006 when he joined the Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble. Piquing an interest, he began to take lessons in exchange for assisting in teaching younger students in acting classes during the school year, under Amy Waguespack and has continued to do so for the past five years. When S.Y.S.E. needed an assistant music director, George jumped on the opportunity. Now a full company member of Acting Up, he has performed in numerous performances with Acting Up including PLAY.MUSIC.HEAL. and UNBEARABLY LO_ELY.


Cissy Whipp, actor, dancer, choreographer

has been working as a performer, choreographer and dance educator for over 30 years.  She received her BFA in Choreographic Design from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and her MA in Performing Arts: Dance from the American University in Washington, DC.  She founded Louisiana’s first professional modern dance company, Moving South Dance, Inc.  She toured for several years with Young Audiences of New Orleans and performed in France and Belgium with La Compagnie Louisianaise.  She has taught for university dance programs at American University, George Washington University, Potsdam State University of New York, and most recently at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where she directed the Children’s Dance Guild and choreographed for the State of LA Danse Concert series.  Ms. Whipp has been active with the Acadiana Arts Council’s Bright New Worlds program which brings professional artists into the classroom, in their Arts Grants for Teachers program which brings artists and teachers together in collaborative programs and mini-residencies and in their Professional Development for Teacher’s programs for which she has created numerous workshops on integrating dance into the curriculum.  She has been on the Louisiana State Artists Roster since 1986.  In 1997, she was honored with the Acadiana Arts Award for outstanding contributions to the arts in Acadiana.  In 1999 she was invited to join the John F. Kennedy Center’s roster of Teaching Artists and presents workshops nationally for teachers on various topics of arts integration.  She has served on the committee for developing arts assessment standards for the Louisiana Department of Education and for the revision of the state arts content standards and benchmarks. She served as Middle School Dance chair for the committee to write the official arts curriculum for the state of Louisiana. She is currently teaching dance at the J. Wallace James Elementary School for Arts & Technology and mentors emerging performing artists who are entering the Teaching Artist field.  Ms. Whipp is a member of Acting Up (in Acadiana) and continues to choreograph and perform as an independent artist, working collaboratively with a variety of musicians, actors, poets, and dancers.


Kelly Clayton, actor/writer

Kelly is a Louisiana Creole whose roots on both sides of the family reach back to 1778. She recently moved home after twenty years in New York City, where she studied acting at The Neighborhood Playhouse. Kelly writes poetry full time, and home schools her nine-year old son.

marla-kristicevich Marla Kristicevich, visual artist/set designer

Kristicevich received her BFA in Metalworking and Jewerly from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2005. Her work has been exhibited in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. She assisted artist Takashi Horasaki on "Social Distress: New Orleans" in creating a mono-print sculpture of Katrina damaged shot-gun style home in the lower 9th ward. The installation was part of Prospect I in New Orleans in the Fall of 2008. She has consulted Acting Up since 2006 as artist and set desinger in their productions of the original SUSTAINED WINDS, NO TEACHER LEFT STANDING, THE TEMPEST, and most recently PLAY. MUSIC. HEAL. She has also collaborated with dancer/choreographer Paige Krause on a site-specific performance piece shown at Festival International Artwalk in 2008.  Kristicevich teaches for the AcA's Art in Education program-P.A.C.E. and for Arts and Science program-CitySmarts.
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Hector LaSala, set designer

LaSala is a professor of architecture and design at the University of Louisiana. He holds the Slemco Professorship in the Arts. He received his architecture degree from the University of Louisiana in 1973, and conducted his graduate studies at Texas A & M University.  Hector has been teaching at UL’s School of Architecture and Design for over thirty years, and was a visiting professor at Virginia Tech in 1983. He is a member of the graduate faculty, and the coordinator of the school of architecture‘s Foundation Design Division.  The central motivation of his academic career has been teaching, in particular freshmen. In recognition of his teaching and research, his peers have honored him with two of UL’s most prestigious accolades: The 2001 Excellence in Teaching Award and The 2008 Distinguished Professor Award.  Concurrently, for several years, Hector and his colleagues Geoff Gjertson and Corey Saft have conducted numerous Service Learning initiatives with over 300 students. In recognition of this effort, he received The 2007 Oliver-Sigur Humanitarian Service Award.  Additionally, he has been a member of The Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education program since 1995, which purpose is to integrate the arts throughout the K to 12th grade curriculum. For this endeavor Hector and his team members were granted The 2004 Governor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education.  He has been involved in stage set design for several years, and has participated continuously in the Summer Shakespeare Youth Ensemble since its inception.


Brian Schneider, stage lighting designer

Schneider recently moved to Lafayette to fill the position of Technical Director for Acadiana Center for the Arts. A New York City native, Brian has worked extensively in lighting for Theater, Dance, TV, and most recently as Lighting and AV Manager at the Rubin Museum of Art. Here in Lafayette, he has collaborated with Paige Krause lighting here dance piece “I Stopped Having That Dream I’ve Been Having” , as well as Acting Up in Acadiana’s Summer Youth Shakespeare.He is thrilled to be in Lafayette and part of this thriving arts community,

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Danny Devillier, Music Designer

A graduate of UL, Devillier has worked as a professional musician and educator for the past 13 years in Lafayette and New Orleans. He has shared the stage with some of the region’s most well-known musicians including Terrance Simien, Michael Doucet, David Egan, Mem Shannon, Theresa Andersson, Bonsoir Catin, and Anders Osbourne performing all over the United States and overseas. He has taught children and young adults of all ages in and around the community of Lafayette through his continuing involvement in music education. His arrangements and compositions include works for marching band, orchestra, percussion ensemble, dance, theater, and other mixed media, and have been performed by the Acadiana Symphony, U. L. Lafayette’s wind ensemble, percussion ensemble, orchestra, dance and theater departments, the Dayton Symphony Orchestra, as well as numerous area high school marching bands. In 2010 he received the award for Best Composition at the Acadiana Film Festival. This is his 7th year composing and teaching music for the Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble.

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Chad Trahan, Costume Designer

Chad is a native of Abbeville, LA. He has been doing costume work for the last nine years in Lafayette and Baton Rouge earning a Bachelor of Science in Apparel Merchandising and Design at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2001. He has worked on shows including ULL’s THE TEMPEST as Costume Designer, and LYSISTRATA and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM as Costume Assistant.; as well as Acting Up (in Acadiana)’s SUSTAINED WINDS, UNBEARABLY LO_ELY, and SYSE’s productions of A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT’S DREAM, TWO GENTLEMAN OF VERONA and AS YOU LIKE IT. Chad has also done collaborative costume design work and danced in different modern dance productions with Esther Winn and Paige Krause as well as Of Moving Colors Dance Company of Baton Rouge. While not costuming, Chad works in the fashion merchandising side of the clothing business, focusing on visual merchandising at a retail location.


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