Julius Caesar Post-Show Conversations

Following select performances, you are invited to stay and join in a conversation with co-directors David Melville and Melissa Chalsma, the cast and our special guests:

Ambassador Derek Shearer
Sunday, March 31


Ambassador Derek Shearer is Chevalier Professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles. He handles the college’s international relations, directing the expansion of its international affairs programs, and serves as Director of the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs.

He served in the Clinton administration as an economics official in the Commerce Department, and then as Ambassador to Finland (1994-97). Among his many accomplishments were the creation of the administration’s coordinated strategy to the Nordic-Baltic region and the hosting of the Clinton-Yeltsin summit in Helsinki.  At Ambassador Shearer's recommendation during the presidential campaign, President Clinton established the National Economic Council in the White House. He was a co-author of the Clinton-Gore campaign program Putting People First.  After diplomatic service, Ambassador Shearer was a fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute and then at the Woodrow Wilson Scholars Center in Washington, DC. He also has been a visiting Woodrow Wilson fellow and ambassador-in-residence at a number of colleges.  He served as a foreign policy advisor to Vice President Gore during the 2000 Presidential campaign and to Senator Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Ambassador Shearer’s articles on foreign affairs and public policy have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, and many weekly and monthly publications. He has authored numerous scholarly and policy articles in books and journals - and has lectured at leading universities in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Australia, including speaking tours for the US government in China, Japan, Greece, Australia, Kazakhstan, Peru, Chile, Syria and the Baltic States - and taught at the University of Maryland, Tufts, and UCLA, as well as at Occidental. He has lectured on US foreign policy at Pembroke College, Cambridge, St. Andrews University, Scotland, and at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard as well as at leading universities in Brazil.  Ambassador Shearer has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an US-Japan Leadership Fellowship, and a Swedish Bicentennial Fellowship, among other honors - and he is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, and other such publications. He also is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.

Ambassador Shearer has also taught courses in business and entrepreneurship, served on the boards of media and food companies, and as an international advisor to Ziff Brothers Investment Co, and other firms. He has served on the board of the nonprofit relief group Operation USA, and is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. He currently resides in Pacific Palisades, CA. with his wife Sue Toigo, and two dogs, Nick and Nora, and Vera the cat.


Betty Avila
Friday, April 5


Betty Avila's work is centered on the intersection of the arts and social justice, with a particular focus on community building, public space, and youth empowerment. She is the executive director of Self Help Graphics & Art, an organization that, for over 45 years, has been dedicated to fostering the creation and advancement of new art works by Chicana/Chicano and Latinx artists exploring experimental and innovative printmaking techniques and other visual art forms. She is on the board of the Center for Cultural Innovation and Arts for LA, and is a founding board member of People for Mobility Justice, an organization that supports low-income communities of color that bike, walk and use public transit in Los Angeles County.  Betty sat on the inaugural Advisory Committee for Los Angeles County's Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative as an appointee of Supervisor Hilda Solis that resulted in the recommendation of cultural policy and was unanimously approved by the County Board of Supervisors. In 2017, Betty was named one of C-Suite Quarterly Magazine’s NextGen 10 in Philanthropy, Arts and Culture and also named an Impact-Maker to Watch by City Impact Labs. 



Scott Carter
Friday, April 19


Scott Carter has served as Executive Producer for "Real Time with Bill Maher" since it debuted on HBO in 2003. He produced the first 1,100 episodes of "Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher" from its 1993 Comedy Central debut to its 1997 move to ABC. While at “P.I.”, Carter received eight Emmy nominations and three consecutive CableAce Awards for Best Talk Series. He has served as creator, producer and/or writer for, among others, “Curb The Discussion with Susie Essman” (TV Guide, 2010), "Root Of All Evil With Lewis Black" (Comedy Central, 2008), "Earth To America" (TBS, 2005), "The Conspiracy Zone with Kevin Nealon" (Spike, 2002-3) and "Exhale with Candice Bergen" (Oxygen, 2000-1). In 1997, Variety named him one of the “50 Creatives to Watch.” In 2007, he was a co-recipient of the Producer’s Guild of America’s Johnny Carson Award for “Real Time.” As a playwright, his “The Gospel According To Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord” has been produced in almost 20 theaters around America, including The Geffen Playhouse (Los Angeles) and The Cherry Lane Theatre (New York City). A former stand up comedian, Carter has written and performed two full-length monologues, "Heavy Breathing" and "Suspension Bridge," at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Aspen Comedy Arts Festival, The Kilkenny (Ireland) Murphy's Cats Laugh Festival, the Cleveland Performance Festival, Dixon Place, Primary Stages, Manhattan Punchline, etc. He is former Producing Director and a founding member of The Invisible Theatre, now in its 42nd season in Tucson, Arizona.