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Faculty

Mike Downey

Office:   G132
Phone:  Not Available
Email: Not Available

Background:
Mike Downey, who currently teaches Fundamentals of Acting, joined the Theatre Arts Department at Ventura College in 1999. He has also taught theatre courses at Santa Barbara City College since 1989. Mike is a Ph.D. candidate in Dramatic Art at the University of California at Santa Barbara, holds a Master of Arts degree from this same institution, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama from California Statue University at Los Angeles. He currently directs a theatre program for the Education Department of Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara and serves as a faculty advisor for a guerrilla theatre project that is sponsored by the Health and Wellness Department at Santa Barbara City College.

Mike cofounded and performed in a Santa Barbara based theatre company that specialized in adaptations of African folkore. The company, Omowale: An American Theatre Company, performed for elementary school children and received grant support from the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission. A dancer, as well, he was a dance specialist and resident artist in south Santa Barbara County schools through the Children's Creative Project, an arts in education program. He performed and toured with various dance companies in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. As a writer, he created several scripts and various freelance theatre and dance articles.

Abra Flores Paudler

Office:   G25
Phone:  654-6400, ext. 3231
Email:    apaudler@vcccd.net

Background:
Abra Flores Paudler is the resident costume designer at Ventura College. She received her Bachelor of Arts form Portland State University and a (MFA) in Costume Design from the California Institute of the Arts. She teaches the Costume and Design and History class and the Make-up Artistry class. She is offering a new course in the Spring of 2002 entitled Costume Crafts. Abra plans to take a group of students to Europe this summer for the Costume Tour of Europe, something she hopes to repeat every year.

Abra designs the productions for both the Theatre department as well as the productions for the Opera Workshop. The collaborative process that takes place for every production is one of the most important aspects of her job. To enable students to be part of that process, whether it is learning how to make the costumes, how to design and build a show, hat making, or the design and application of the makeup for the plays, she encourages active participation and teamwork. Working with the students to create the costumes for the plays is pure enjoyment for Abra.

Besides being the resident designer at Ventura College for the past ten years, Abra has designed productions at the Rubicon Theater Company, the Burbage Theater, Los Angeles Theater Works, Access Theater, Ensemble Theater, Santa Barbara Dance Theater, and Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera. She has also worked on several video and film projects. Please feel free to contact her if you have any interest or questions about how to participate in the very exciting process of costume design.

Jonathan O'Brien

Office:   G131
Phone:  Not Available
Email: Not Available

Background:
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away ... Jon attended the University of California, Los Angeles film school, bringing to the school four years of experience in local television and filmmaking, which included news, sports, commercials, and entertainment shows. After graduating from the masters program, he was chosen for the prestigious Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) Entertainment Management Internship Program. Following that year-long grounding in all aspects of production and story development, he was with the In-House Movies of the Week/Mini-series department for five years where he worked in both story development and all facets of production for over 60 movies and mini-series. Together with his wife (Who also went to the University of California, Los Angeles Film School), they have collaborated on a wide variety of freelance productions that range from educational videos to feature films to stage plays, and a number of screenplays and writing projects. Jon has won awards for writing, directing, editing, and cinematography. A recent screenplay was a top five finalist at Austin's Heart of FIlm National Screenwriting Contest. His work as a cinematographer earned a Silver CLIO, a California ADDY award, first place at the Marin County Film Festival, and a showcase at the Bilbao International Film Festival. For editing, Jon has won awards from the JVC International Pro-Video Contest and Beldings Excellence in Advertising. In addition to his classes at Ventura College, Jon also teaches at Santa Barbara City College where he launched a screenwriting component of the Film Department and currently teaches both beginning and advanced screenwriting classes. The majority of Jon's professional writing time has now shifted from screen to the streets where, as a grant writer/program design, he has won over $35 million dollars for non-profit agencies and educational programs for underprivileged children. A four-year, four million dollar Technology/Literacy program he co-designed for the Lennox School District (an 88 percent HIspanic port-of-entry community in Los Angeles) was one of only five from a national field of over 500 finalists accorded a permanent place in history at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History, Education and Academia. Jon has a passion for creating a classroom atmosphere that is fun and helps students discover their hidden talents, find their passion, follow their own path, and develop what remains the most powerful tool they'll ever have at their disposal in their future endeavors - the head on their shoulders.

Jay F. Varela

Office:   G131
Phone:  654-6400, ext. 3194
Email:    jvarela@vcccd.net

Background:
Jay Varela received his Bachelor of Science in English Literature at Loyola Marymount and his Master of Arts in Theatre Arts at the Unversity of California, Los Angeles. Mr. Varela taught for six years at Pierce Community College before beginning a professional career in acting, directing, and writing in theatre, television and film. He has been an associate professor at Ventura College for the last fifteen years. Twelve years ago, he began the Student One-Act Play Festival, to give students the opportunity to write, direct, act and engage in all aspects of play production.

Judy Garey

Office:   G132
Phone:  654-6400, ext. 3236
Email:    jgarey@vcccd.net

Background:
Judy Garey holds a Bachelors degree fromt he University of Maryland, a Master of Arts in Theatre from the University of Illinois, and is currently working toward he Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In addition to acting and directing, Judy's interests focus toward using theatre in the teaching of other disciplines, and her work as a 2000-2001 Carnegie Scholar highlights a collaborative curriculum project between Theatre Appreciation, African American History, and Women in Literature. Productions Judy has directed at Ventura College include: The Normal Heart, The Destiny of Me, Noises Off, The Memorandum, A Streetcar Named Desire, and the Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), to name a few. She is an active member of the Association of Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and the American College Theatre Festival (ACTF). For the American College Theatre Festival, she serves as a regional production adjudicator and received national recognition as a director when her 1988 production of Biloxi Blues was presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

 

Questions/comments regarding these pages, contact Abra Paudler • 654-6400, ext. 3231