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Acting Instructors

ACTING-THEATRE-Michael Schraeder
Michael Schraeder

Meet the Acting Program Chair

Mike earned his Ph.D. in the Visual and Performing Arts from the University of Texas at Dallas, his M.F.A. in Acting from Wayne State University, and his B.S.Ed. in Secondary Education from Baylor University. Mike has taught theater history, voice, and acting at Baylor University, the University of North Texas, University of Texas at Dallas, and KD Conservatory. He has acted and directed in over 70 professional theatrical productions, including venues in New York City, Detroit, Atlanta, Nashville and Dallas. In 2004, he co-founded Second Thought Theatre in Dallas, where he served as public relations coordinator for three years. He is currently represented by Kim Dawson Talent..

Lois Leftwich

Lois Leftwich is originally from Dallas where she started her acting career in local theatres like Theatre Three and Stage West, worked in voice over and on camera commercials, joined AEA, SAG and AFTRA and then found herself working as an actress in New York City and didn’t return to Dallas for 30 years. While in New York City she acted in many broadcast venues including television and radio commercials, recording audio books, several daytime dramas, industrial films as well as Off Broadway. She studied acting with John Strasberg at Mirror Repertory, Curt Dempster at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Gene Frankel, voice with Steve Sweetland and dance at Steps on Broadway. She was in the Performance Master Class at Chicago City Limits Improvisation. Teaching has always been part of her personal curriculum and has provided her with great joy throughout her career. She has taught everything from Musical Theatre camps to filmmaking. She has taught acting for all media and genres. She loves teaching and performing improvisation, which she firmly believes is essential to being a successful performer. Since returning to Dallas she is represented by the Kim Dawson Agency and continues to work on stage, TV, radio, film, and audio books. She graduated from University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Drama. For a more complete story visit her personal website at Check out the retro-commercials on her fan page.

Jim Jorgenson

Jim is a Dallas actor and educator. He is a member of Actors Equity and graduated from the Southern Methodist University MFA Acting Program in 1988. Since then, Jim has had a long and varied career. For the last 16 years, he has worked extensively in Washington DC. Additionally, he has worked as an actor in Seattle, Chicago, and Houston. Recently, he re-joined the faculty at KD in 2016, having taught there seven years prior. Jim was also on faculty at Nebraska Wesleyan in 2008. Jim has acted as Managing Director for New Theatre Company for seven years and Fountainhead Theatre for three years. Some awards and nominations include: Washington DC Area: Helen Hayes Nominations for Best Ensemble; Angels in America Part I and II, and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Dallas Area: Dallas Theatre Critic’s Awards; Season of Work, Leon Rabin Best Actor; Rocket to the Moon. He is represented by the Kim Dawson Agency. For more information about Jim go to

Lizz Bashore

Ashlee Elizabeth Bashore has performed in over 40 regional theaters from the Philadelphia Tri-State area, Michigan, and across the Dallas/Fort Worth professional theater market. Additionally, she has appeared in many independent films. Before moving to Dallas to work on her MFA in Acting at Southern Methodist University, she founded 23 Piece Productions, a production company focusing on bringing all mediums of art together to explore the human spirit. During her time working with 23PP, she directed and produced two shows as part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. At KD Conservatory, she teaches voice, speech and phonetics, and acting for stage and camera. Other works include choreography for musicals and directing for colleges and puppetry performances.


Carter Gill

Carter Gill was a cast member in Punchdrunk’s production of Sleep No More in New York. He is a Helen Hayes award nominee for Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Comedy of Errors. He created and developed Commedia Dell’ Artichoke, a long running, site-specific Comedy, and Even Maybe Tammy, both Commedia Dell’Arte, both of which were Off-Broadway after their creation and initial productions. Regional Theatre Credits: Colorado Shakespeare Festival in The Merchant of Venice, Yale Repertory Theatre in Eurydice (dir. Les Waters), Berkshire Theatre Festival in Moonchildren (dir. Karen Allen), Actors Theatre of Louisville in The 39 Steps, and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley in 3 Farids (New Works Festival) Film/TV Credits: Banana Split on Netflix, NBC’s Law & Order, CBS’s Person of Interest, AMC’s Turn: Washington’s Spies, and TV Land’s Younger. Carter studied Clown with Philippe Gaulier in France, and Physical Comedy for three years with Christopher Bayes, Yale School of Drama’s current Head of Physical Acting. Carter has taught at Pace University, New York University, Rider University, and Marymount Manhattan College teaching Movement, Acting, Clown, Commedia. He studied Shakespeare at the British American Dramatic Academy. Carter holds a BFA in Directing from Southern Methodist University and an MFA in Acting from Yale School of Drama. Washington’s Spies, Younger. OTHER: Christopher Bayes’ Funny School of Good Acting Professional Commedia Company: founding member; The Comic Performer: founder. TEACHING: Pace University: Professor of Acting; NYU: Physical Acting Instructor; Rider University: Professor of Theatre; Marymount Manhattan College: Professor of Theatre.


Linda Leonard

Linda has appeared as Grizabella in the international tour of Cats, as well as Ellie in Hal Prince’s revival of Showboat. No stranger to prime-time, she has guest-starred in on Friday Night Lights, Dallas, Salem and American Crime. Her movie credits include Cleaner, Playing for Keeps with Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel, and Wonderful World. Most recently, Linda has created the role of Texas’s beloved governor, the late Ann Richards, in the one-women hit show “ANN.”

Reis McCormick

Reis McCormick has acting professionally since 1984. After receiving her B.A. in The Humanities from the University of Texas, she moved to Dallas to pursue theatre training at the Dallas Theatre Center.  A member of the Texas Commission on the Arts, Reis has been involved with many projects such as the Imagination Celebration at the Kennedy Center and has performed lead roles in regional and stock theatre from Texas to Virginia in addition to indie films and network television credits from Barney to Breaking Bad.

Sarah Rutan

Classically trained and a member of Actor’s Equity Association, Sarah began teaching at KD after  seven seasons as a member of the acting company at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. in Ashland. Her impressive regional theater resume includes such notable theaters as Amphibian Stage Productions, Trinity Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Theater Center, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Shakespeare in the Park-Bend, OR, Idaho Repertory Theatre, and Meadows Showcase at SMU.

Michael D’Andre Childs

Michael D’Andre Childs is an accomplished Director, Music Director, Composer, Playwright, Choreographer, and Actor. Originally from San Antonio, Michael made his Dallas debut in 2015 and has excelled since, having numerous opportunities to display his talents. Most recently, his live entertainment company, Artists Unplugged, headlined and hosted Last Night in Black History. Some of his other credits include: Last Night in Black History (Director/Choreographer), Sweatbox Refugee (Dance Concert Choreographer), Legally Blonde Jr. (Music Director), First Date (Assistant Director and Music Director), TILL (Director/ Musical Director), As We Lie Still (Choreographer), A Good Man (Director/Musical Director), RENT (Tom Collins/Assistant Musical Director), EDGES (Assistant Director)

Merri Brewer

Merri Brewer is a National Michael Chekhov Association certified teacher with expertise in on-camera acting, improvisation and audition preparation. A native Texan, she has served as Managing Director of Theatre Three, a live professional theatre in Uptown Dallas, and as Producing Director of Creative Arts Theatre & School in Arlington, Texas.  As an actor, she has appeared in stage productions at Dallas Theater Center, Theatre Three, Stage West and Echo Theatre, among others.  Represented for broadcast work by The Campbell Agency, she’s worked in a wide variety of film, industrial and commercial productions.  Holding a BFA from Texas Christian University in Theatre and Television, she enjoys sharing knowledge with her students.