Before co-founding ISC, Melissa acted as Projects & Education Coordinator at Young Playwrights Inc. (one of New York City’s preeminent educational outreach providers, founded by Stephen Sondheim.)
At California State University, Northridge, she teaches performance and has directed, among other plays, Tony Kushner’s adaptation of Corneille’s The Illusion, Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, and the Western premiere of Miyazawa Akio’s Hinemi.
Melissa directed many ISC productions, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, and Romeo & Juliet. She has also been seen onstage in many ISC productions, including as Kate in The Taming of the Shrew and in Middleton’s The Changeling. Other US and UK acting appearances include on Broadway in Hamlet (with Ralph Fiennes), in the American premiere of Harold Pinter’s Moonlight (with Blythe Danner and Jason Robards) at the Roundabout Theatre Co., A Lie of the Mind (BAC, London), The Rivals (Derby Playhouse, UK and Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia), Romeo and Juliet (Missouri Rep), Hamlet and Twelfth Night (both at Utah Shakespearean Festival), and Barry Kornhauser’s adaptation of Cyrano (Fulton Opera House). She received her MFA from The Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware.
Her favorite ISC project? Whatever we are working on at the moment!
As one of the co-founders of ISC, David has performed in many ISC shows including the title roles in Hamlet, Macbeth, and Richard II; Prince Hal in Henry IV; Touchstone in As You Like It and Sir Toby in Twelfth Night. Other theatre credits include Mother Courage at the Mermaid Theatre, London (with Glenda Jackson); Hamlet, Almeida at the Hackney Empire, London and Broadway transfer (with Ralph Fiennes); Ivanov at The Almeida Theatre, London and Maly Theatre, Moscow. David has appeared in several films including The Understudy (which will be arriving in cinemas later this year)and Perfection. David recently filmed the medieval siege drama Ironclad (starring Paul Giamatti as King John). On television, David appeared as the hopeless British travel correspondent Lawrence Beldon-Smythe in the Travel Channel series Lawrence of America.
David has also composed songs for numerous theater productions as well as film projects. He received his acting training at the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
Marisa Tecson Johnston
Development & Communications Director
Marisa is responsible for fundraising, donor management, seeking grant opportunities, and communications efforts that support ISC’s artistic programming. She previously worked in Arts Learning at the Arts Council for Long Beach. Before entering the nonprofit arts sector she worked in the television industry for twenty years as a producer for MTV, TLC and HGTV. Marisa trained in classical ballet with Choo Chiat Goh and Lin Yee Goh (Goh Ballet School in Vancouver), and spent her summers studying in New York City at the Joffrey Ballet School, with Melissa Hayden, and with Douglas Wassell. Marisa holds a B.A. in English from Barnard College, Columbia University and a Masters in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University. She serves on the board of the Kenneth Walker Dance Project, a contemporary ballet company based in the South Bay. She is a native of Vancouver, B.C., Canada and lives in Silver Lake with her husband and daughter.
Marisa’s favorite Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival moment occurred in 2014 near the end of The Taming of the Shrew. The sky opened up and it started pouring with rain, but almost as one, the audience put up their hoods and their umbrellas and they stayed.
Sarah is incredibly honored and humbled by the work done by this company. As office administrator, she is on the frontline in the office and at the park, eager to answer any questions and help in any way possible. Sarah has a bachelors degree from California State University, Northridge. With the company she has been part of the festival staff since they moved to Griffith Park in 2010 and can be seen floating around handing out programs, setting up lights, and taking down flag poles.
Sarah’s favorite ISC productions are Romeo and Juliet in the Studio in 2014, and Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival in 2011.
Janet comes to ISC with a desire to support the creation of engaging, culturally diverse arts programming for the Los Angeles community. She holds a B.A. in Narrative Studies and Political Science from the University of Southern California, and has worked as a Communications Consultant for the arts education nonprofit Theatre Of Hearts, a Media Production Assistant at The Autry Museum, and an administrative intern for Metro Art. In her free time, Janet enjoys reading, doodling, and working on art and video projects.
Board of Directors
Eduardo A. Braniff, Chair
Stephen & Tiffany Barnes
John C. Reilly