faculty

Mitchell Thomas, M.F.A.

Professor and Chair of Theatre Arts
(805) 565-6187

Office Location

Porter Hall 111A

Specialization(s)

Acting, Physical Theatre, Voice, Shakespeare, Clown, Actor Movement, Devised Theatre

 

Biography/Details

Mitchell Thomas is an award-winning actor, director, and professor of acting, voice, and movement at Westmont. In addition to his work with Westmont students, he continues to act professionally on the local, national, and international stage. Recent international acting projects with the Lit Moon Theatre Company include Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard in Bitola, Macedonia at the National Theatre of Macedonia, and a Hamlet that travelled to the Metamorphosis Festival in Bialystok, Poland, the National Theatre of Macedonia and the National Theatre of China in Beijing. Mitchell also produced and performed Wallace Shawn’s solo show The Fever in London, England. Other recent solo work includes the Will Eno Pulitzer-nominated play, Thom Pain (based on nothing) at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art as part of their contemporary collections programming.

Indy award winning local performances include Gustav in the Ensemble Theatre production of Strindberg’s Creditors and the Troll King in Lit Moon’s production of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt. Mitchell also played the title role in the world premiere of Naomi Iizuka’s Nils Holgersson and the Wild Geese, and was chosen to be the first-ever artist in residence with the Ensemble theatre company of Santa Barbara, where he worked as resident actor and associate producer. Other acting credits include Our Town with the Santa Barbara Theatre, The Memory of Water opposite Stephanie Zimbalist with the Ensemble Theatre Company, Othello/Measure4Measure directed by Lilia Abedjieva of the Bulgarian National Theatre, and Queen C and Richard II (Indy Award, performance) with the Lit Moon Theatre Company.  In Los Angeles, Mitchell worked with South Coast Repertory Theatre, A Noise Within, the Pasadena Playhouse, Circle X, and the Blank Theatre Company, as well as the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Idaho Repertory Theatre, Interplayers, and PCPA Theaterfest. Mitchell is a member of AEA (Actors Equity Association) and SAG (Screen Actors Guild), the professional performing unions for Theatre and Film/TV.

As a director, Mitchell was the winner of the 2008 Arlin G. Meyer Prize for his innovative direction of Erik Ehn’s The Saint Plays, and served as the chair of the committee for the selection of the 2018 prizewinner.  Mitchell also received a 2019 Indy award for his direction of Pride and Prejudice, a 2013 Indy Award for his site-specific direction of Sophocles’ Electra as well as for his 2010 direction of Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano at Westmont. Mitchell specializes in devised theatre and working with playwrights to develop new work. Since 2005, Mitchell has created or commissioned over 40 original full-length and short works, including Ablaze, Big Tent Love, Rogue, The Car Play Project, The Earthquake Predictor Rides the Bus, Don’t Be Fooled by Me, Fortune’s Fool: stop the violence or I’ll kill you, Muéveme. Muévete., GLIMPSE: beyond, Celluloid, Thirsty, Nomophobia, and The Mars Girls.  He was also proud to produce a co-production of Tim Crouch’s devastating play, England, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, where he has also directed and produced multiple staged readings, performances, and alternative programming.  Mitchell is also the faculty advisor for the film studies minor at Westmont.  You can check out a web series he co-wrote and stars in at ashestoashestheseries.com.

Mitchell received his M.F.A. from the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of Washington and has taught acting workshops in Poland, Macedonia, England and the United States. He continues to actively study the art form, including a 2012 residency at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies to explore the song culture of Greek drama, and residencies with the Actor’s Center in NYC in 2008 and 2010 to work with master teachers Chris Bayes (Yale), Ron Van Lieu (Yale), and Slava Dolgachev (Moscow Art Theatre) in clowning, Commedia Dell'Arte, and the plays of Anton Chekhov. Mitchell has extensive experience in the Alexander Technique, Suzuki Training, Linklater and Fitzmaurice Voice work, Stage Combat, Viewpoints, Skinner Releasing, Low Flying Trapeze, Improvisation, and many of the more traditional acting techniques. Mitchell is grateful to call Santa Barbara home, where he lives with his wife, the Reverend Sarah Thomas, and his three daughters, Madeleine, Zoe, and Gwyneth.