2018/19 Emerging Professional Residents

In order to further the development of the next generation of American theater artists, for over 50 years Milwaukee Repertory Theater has supported one of regional theater’s most highly respected programs for emerging professionals. Each season, Milwaukee Rep welcomes Emerging Professional Residents (EPRs) who join the company in order to gain valuable experience and to learn from experts in their fields. Below are the EPRs for the 2018/19 Season. Click here for a list of previous EPR classes.


Sadé AyodeleActing Resident
Sadé is a recent graduate of the University of California at Riverside’s Theatre, Film, and Digital Production program and is very excited to be embarking on the next chapter of her career as a Milwaukee Rep Emerging Professional Resident. She has played Teiresias in Antigone and Sebastian in The Little Mermaid—but she plays women, too (promise!). When she isn’t pretending to be someone else on stage, she likes to dance and write short stories. Following her time with Milwaukee Rep, she looks forward to pursuing an MFA in acting. She would like to extend a sincere thank you to you for being a part of her creative growth and journey.

Amaris BatesCompany Management Resident
Amaris is thrilled to be joining Milwaukee Repertory Theater for the 2018/2019 season! Amaris is a recent graduate from Grinnell College where she earned her B.A. in Theatre & Dance and English. She spent a semester in London working for The Actors Centre and she travelled to Taiwan in the summer of 2017 to collaboratively devise and perform Night Magic with Riverbed Theatre. Some of her favorite shows she has been involved with include Next to Normal, The First Time I Walked on the Moon, Godspell and The Royale. Amaris is excited to expand her love of theatre this season and she's incredibly grateful for this opportunity!

Josiah BenderProduction Electrician Resident
Josiah is incredibly excited to join Milwaukee Rep as the Fall Production Electrician EPR! Originally from Minnesota, he graduated from Baylor University this past May, where he studied Theatre Arts and German. Having been involved in theatre since high school, he has experience as an actor, writer, stage manager, lighting designer and electrician. Most recently he has been working as an electrics intern at Pittsburgh Festival Opera, working on shows such as La Bohéme and Das Rheingold. In his free time he enjoys playing tabletop and video games, writing plays, and exploring new cities.

Sam Bravo, Acting Resident
Sam is thrilled to join Milwaukee Rep as a recent graduate from Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts. His acting credits include multiple roles in Beach Blanket Babylon, Spike in Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Jehan in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (also Phoebus understudy) at Pacific Conservatory Theatre, Count Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music at Conservatory Rep, Reverend John Hale (understudy) in The Crucible, Parker in Freaky Friday, Spot Conlon in Newsies and Ed Carmichael (understudy) in You Can’t Take It With You. Other theater credits include Ko Ko in The Mikado at Point Loma Opera Theatre and Tony in The Most Happy Fella. Sam holds a BA in Finance from Point Loma Nazarene University, is a coffee fiend, and is a California native excited to be with Milwaukee Rep! 

Kristen CarterEducation Resident
Kristen is so excited to be working at Milwaukee Repertory Theater as the education resident this season! Kristen was born and raised in Flushing, Michigan. She graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in 2015 with a B.A. in theatre, a minor in music, and dreams of being an actor. After accidentally landing a job as an educator, she learned how much she loved working with kids. After three years of working during the day and rehearsing and performing at night, she decided to try to blend the two together. Kristen has just spent the summer as a Theatre Arts Training intern at Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She's very excited to spend time exploring Milwaukee and learning more about theatrical education from the staff at MRT. In her spare time, Kristen can usually be found cross stitching or singing.

Annalise CaudleAssistant Lighting Design Resident
Annalise is a lighting designer and assistant lighting designer from DeSoto, TX. She has been an ALD for the multiple Zach Theatre, Dallas Shakespeare, and Maine State Music Theatre Productions and was an ALD Intern for the Broadway production Prince of Broadway. Annalise graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BFA in Drama and received her MFA in Theatre with and emphasis in lighting and scenic design. Her most notable lighting design credits include Ragtime, Intimate Apparel, Legally Blonde the Musical, Elephant and Piggie and Clybourne Park. annalisecaudle.com 

Blake Dava, Acting Resident 
Blake joins Milwaukee Repertory Theater as a 2018 Ohio University graduate with a BFA in Acting Performance and a BA in Strategic Communications. Prior to coming to Milwaukee, Blake played Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Tantrum Theater). Highlights of his time at Ohio University include The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (El-Fayoumy), The Ladies Man (Etienne), Stop Kiss (George) and Urinetown (Tiny Tom, Dr. Billeaux), along with several new plays in development including A Driving Beat, The Undetected Deaths of Cardinals in the Park and What Life Stole from Me.

Jose GalvanDirecting Resident
Jose is a director in Milwaukee Rep’s 2018/19 Emerging Professional Residency. He is an Associate Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, an alumnus of Directors Lab West, and a graduate of the University of San Diego. He was the first ever Artistic/Literary Intern at the Old Globe. Directing credits include Bees & Honey, Heridas Graves En El Parque De Juegos (San Diego Rep), Adam & Evie (self-produced), Supers (Cygnet), Gruesome Playground Injuries, Buried Child (USD). Assistant Directing credits include Kill Local (La Jolla Playhouse); The Blameless and Tokyo Fish Story (Old Globe); The Kid Thing, Brownsville Song and Orange Julius (Moxie) and Eurydice (USD). He is a two-time recipient of the KCACTF Meritorious Achievement Award and inaugural inductee of USD’s Chapter of Alpha Psi Omega National Honor Society. He trained at the Meisner/Chekhov Integrated Studio. He studied contemporary dance at Culture Shock Dance Studio.

Josh HartStage Management Resident
Josh is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago, with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Theater and Performance Studies. While at Chicago, he stage managed such shows as Peter and the Starcatcher, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, and a burlesque-inspired circus showcase. He assistant stage managed Echo Theater Collective's first production, Blues for Mister Charlie, in Chicago. In his free time, he enjoys knitting, reading, and begging people to take his knitting projects because he made too many. He is thrilled and grateful to be working with Milwaukee Rep this season!

Sara HiltonStage Management Resident
Sara is excited to join Milwaukee Rep as an EPR this season. A graduate of the B.A. Theater program at University of South Carolina, she has spent the past two years working at Trustus Theatre in Columbia, where she is a company member. Her recent stage management credits at Trustus include Fun Home, Evil Dead The Musical, and the original musical The Restoration’s Constance. Favorite university credits include her ASM work on The Tempest and Blithe Spirit. She sends her love to her family and friends in South Carolina, and thanks them for their support.

Justin JonesActing Resident
Justin is thrilled to join Milwaukee Rep as an Emerging Professional Resident this season! Originally from New York City, Justin is a graduate of the LaGuardia High School Drama Department and Williams College, where he was a double major in History and Chinese. Some of his favorite roles at LaGuardia and Williams include Reverend Hale in The Crucible, Adham in The Hour of Feeling, Bernard Nightingale in Arcadia and Horatio in Hamlet. Justin has also been seen on "Law and Order: SVU" and in the film The Express, and is an alumnus of Teach for America. In his free time, he loves watching baseball, learning about aviation and listening to country music.

Ismael Lara, Jr., Directing Resident
Ismael is a director, teacher, and community organizer from Southeast Texas. Directing credits include And All the Dead Lie Down by Harrison David Rivers (Convergence-Continuum, workshop), Aunt Leaf (Cleveland Play House- Theatre Academy), The Mint Play (Cleveland Public Theatre), The Story of Mr. Not So Well (Playwrights Local), The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale (San Francisco Shakespeare Festival- teen productions) and the Texas premiere of Clown Bar (Texas A&M Corpus Christi). Assistant Director credits include The Family Claxon (Cleveland Public Theatre, World Premiere), Oreo. Carrot. Danger. (FaultLine Theatre Company, San Francisco, World Premiere), The Heidi Chronicles, Passion Play and Julius Caesar (TAMUCC). Ismael is also part of the 2018/19 SDCF Observership Class.

Victoria LowellWardrobe Resident
Victoria grew up in Southern California and is a recent graduate of the London College of Fashion with a BA in Costume for Performance. She has worked at Santa Cruz Shakespeare, The New York Theatre Workshop and Chautauqua Theatre Company, in both the costume and wardrobe departments. Her specialties include corsetry and leatherwork. Most recently she designed an all-male adaptation of Twelfth Night for her senior project. When Tori is not at work she can be found at the local coffee shop, drag bar, or hair salon experimenting with color.

Jessica Ma, Acting Resident
Jessica is so excited to be a part of Milwaukee Rep’s 2018 Emerging Professional Residency program! Originally from Dallas, Jessica is a recent graduate of Southern Methodist University with a BFA in Acting. Recent productions include Crystal in Bethany, Mrs. Oxenham in The Hot l Baltimore and Gloria/Mother Teresa in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Jessica is also a solo-performance artist with her most recent work entitled Lotus Blossoms Don’t Cry: Lamentations of an Asian Savage. In her free time, she enjoys writing, listening to music and hiking.

Kira NeighborsStage Management Fellow
Kira is looking forward to returning to Milwaukee Rep as the new Stage Management Fellow after completing a wonderful season as a Stage Management Resident. Before making her way to Milwaukee, Kira attended the University of South Carolina where she studied Theatre with a focus in Stage Management. Favorite past productions include Our Town and Souvenir (Milwaukee Rep) and Outlaw Song (University of South Carolina).

Nima Rakhshanifar, Acting Resident
Nima is an actor in Milwaukee Rep’s Emerging Professional Residency. Other credits include Ensemble, in Freaky Friday; John Proctor (understudy) in The Crucible, Jehanin The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Pacific Conservatory Theatre, California (since 2017)); Dick Daldry in In the Next Room or the vibrator play and Coriolanus in Coriolanus (PCPA Conservatory). Other theater credits include Link Larkin in Hairspray (South Bay Musical Theatre) and Ensemble in Evita (Sunnyvale Community Players). Nima trained at PCPA in Santa Maria, CA with a special interest in circus and Contact Improv. Playing instruments such as zarb and daf, Nima started performing at the age of four in the Iranian Youth Orchestra. Nima is from San Jose, California.

Isabella Reeder, Acting Resident
Isabella is delighted to be a part of Milwaukee Rep’s EPR program! She recently completed her training at the University of Utah’s Actor Training Program, where she had the great opportunity to work as an intern at one of Salt Lake’s major regional theatre companies, Pioneer Theatre Company. Additionally, Isabella was also fortunate enough to have spent a year abroad studying acting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she enjoyed an (over)abundance of fried foods at the local chippies and learned to always count on a lovely rainy day. Recent credits include Twelfth Night and King Charles III (Pioneer Theatre), The Final Debate (Plan-B Theatre Company) and Love’s Labour’s Lost (University of Utah). Many thanks to family and friends for all their love and support!

Hannah Shay, Acting Resident
Hannah is a recent graduate of UW-Parkside, where she earned a BA in Theatre Arts with a concentration in acting. Some of her favorite credits there include A Streetcar a Named Desire (Blanche DuBois), Macbeth (Lady Macbeth) and Angels in America (Rabbi, Hannah, Ethel, and Henry). Before graduation, she had the opportunity to intern with Renaissance Theaterworks in Top Girls (understudy, Marlene) and The Shakespeare Project of Chicago in their presentation of Much Ado about Nothing (Margaret). She has trained with the Society of American Fight Directors, passing with recommendation in Rapier & Dagger, Unarmed and Smallsword. Hannah feels incredibly honored and grateful to be given this opportunity to work with Milwaukee Rep as an EPR, and she’d like to thank the many talented artists and mentors over the years whose skill and collaborative efforts challenged, humbled and inspired her.

Amelia StrahanCostume Construction Resident
Amelia recently graduated from Marquette University with a BA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Costume Design and a minor in Studio Arts through the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. While at Marquette, Amelia costume designed several productions including Student Body by Frank Winters and On the Verge by Eric Overmeyer, for which she received a KCACTF certificate of merit. Outside of Marquette she has designed costumes for productions with Windfall Theatre and Summit Players Theatre—both Milwaukee based theatre companies. Amelia is thrilled to join Milwaukee Rep for the 2018/19 season!

Michael J. Wu, Acting Resident
Michael is a professionally trained actor who has been working passionately for five years and continues to drive for excellence in his artistry. He has studied at the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts under the direction of Roger DeLaurier, along with attendance at masterclasses with Derrick Lee Weeden, Faith Prince, Natasha Hause and Vincent Rodriguez III. His credits include shows such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mamma Mia!, Twelfth Night, Freaky Friday: The Musical, The Crucible and Superior Donuts. He has recently closed the show Coriolanus as Tullus Aufidius, where he also assisted the fight choreographer, Peter Hadres. Michael is an Air Force veteran, loves animals, and is a lover, not a fighter. (But he is also a fighter, so don’t get any ideas.) He is excited to be in Milwaukee this year.