Staff and Teachers

Robert Shampain is Founder and Executive Director of the 31-year-old BAYFEST Youth Theatre program. He has taught and directed theatre training programs with major companies around the US and UK for over 30 years, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Jacques d’Amboise’s National Dance Institute in New York, National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, Boston University, Catholic University of America, University of Southern California, Clwyd Youth Theatre, Tyne Youth Theatre and Seattle Children’s Theatre among many others. He has worked as a professional stage actor and director around the US and UK, as well as having acted in many TV and film projects. He sits on several Educational Equity teams in Seattle.

Etienne Cakpo is director and lead choreographer of Gansango Dance Company. Cakpo is an award-winning professional dancer, choreographer and musician from Benin, West Africa. He teaches and performs traditional African dance from Benin as well as contemporary African dance styles and has been building his dance repertoire for over thirty years. Skilled in both traditional and modern dance styles, Cakpo lives to dance. He teaches African dance classes at Open Flight Studio in Seattle and performs locally, nationally, and internationally. Cakpo was the Kawasaki Guest Artist at the UW Department of Dance for the 2018-2019 school year, where he continues to teach. He has worked with BAYFEST since 2018.

Keni Cohen is an accomplished director, actor, mime and educator who has worked all around the US and internationally. Most recently he worked with Seattle Children’s Theater (SCT) for nineteen years, where he directed eleven summer season shows and taught hundreds of workshops in public and private schools as part of the SCT Outreach Program.

Sumayya Diop is a dancer, actress, drummer and choreographer who is a specialist in Afro-Carribean dance and other ethnic dance and movement formats. She has taught for Arts Corps, Creative Schools Initiative, The Creative Advantage, Spectrum Dance Theatre, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, Centrum Arts, and at many other schools, community arts organizations and theatre companies. She trained at the Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle Repertory Theatre’s Teaching Artist Training Lab and Seattle Central College. She offers residencies through her company Sumayya Diop Drumming and Dance. She has been working with BAYFEST since 2018

Roger Fernandes is a Native American artist, storyteller, and educator whose work focuses on the Puget Salish tribes of the western Washington region. He is a member of the Lower Elwha S’Klallam Tribe and has a B.A. in Native American Studies from The Evergreen State College and a Master’s Degree in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University. He is an accomplished Coast Salish artist creating art and designs and teaching about this cultural art style. As a storyteller, he shares traditional myths, legends, and tales of tribes from tribes across the region. In sharing these stories he gives philosophical insights to the beliefs and customs of the Native people. Native people call their stories ‘teachings’, as they are the fundamental way of teaching children. He believes deeply that all stories speak the same human language and teach the same lessons. He teaches at the University of Washington and does frequent collaborations with other artists and groups, including BAYFEST, with whom he has worked since 2017.

James Howard trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and has been a professional actor for 18 years. He made his stage debut in “The Duchess of Malfi” for the Royal National Theatre in 2002. James has also worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Donmar Warehouse in the West End, and currently in the London original production of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” at the Palace Theatre, playing Draco Malfoy. He was a member of the BAYFEST Summer Youth Ensemble in 1995, and became a member of the BAYFEST summer program teaching staff in 2020.

Aishé Keita – Seattle, Washington: Aishé is a teaching artist, actress and storyteller. She is based in Seattle but has been on stages throughout the US. She was last seen at The Guthrie Theater in “Familar“ and then followed that performance with the world premier performance of “Reparations“, by Darren Canady at Langston Hughes performing center. Aishé received her degree from Cornish College of the Arts and since has been back as professor for the first year BFA acting program . Aishé is very excited to have been working over the past year with BAYFEST and with students on celebrating their personal magic.

Cyrus Khambatta is the founder of Khambatta Dance Company in Seattle. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts in Dance and Theatre, his choreographic works have been presented all over the US and around the world. He received California’s Damen New Choreography award and was selected for the 2004 National Dance Project/New England Foundation for the Arts Regional Dance Development Initiative as well as a 2006 Artistic Leadership program through Dance USA funded by Paul G. Allen Foundation. His work with KDC has been supported by numerous funding and government agencies in the U.S. and abroad, including the National Endowment for the Arts and The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. He is also the Artistic Director of the Seattle International Dance Festival, Beyond the Threshold which partners with Cornish College of the Arts and other organizations to present over 100 national, international and local artists each year. He first taught with BAYFEST in 1999.

Fern Naomi Renville is a Native American storyteller performer and director who has worked with Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre and began working with BAYFEST in 2019.

 Richie Stone is a dancer and actor, and a graduate of Cornish College for the Arts. He has performed with Seattle Children’s Theatre, The Village Theatre and Seattle Musical Theatre, among others. He is a black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do and is certified in Stage Combat styles: Unarmed, Broadsword, & Single Sword. He first worked with BAYFEST in 2018.


Gina Angelique Founding Artistic Director of Eveoke Dance Theatre in San Diego, California.                   

SethSeth Barrish is Artistic Director of the acclaimed Barrow Group Theatre Company and School in New York City. His work as an actor and Director has been seen in New York and regional theatres around the US, and he has also acted in numerous TV productions.


Jean Taylor is a Master Teaching Artist with Lincoln Center Institute. She also taught for many years at the  Berkeley Carroll School and Stella Adler Conservatory, and is a certified Alexander Technique teacher. Her work as an actress and clown performer has taken all over the US.

Dean Byfield was founder of The Engine Room Theatre Company in London. He was Assistant Director of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, and his teaching, performing and directing work has taken him all over the UK and Europe.

Sam Gold trained as an actor and physical performer at Pomona College in California. Combining classical theatre training with a background in Corporeal Mime, Sam has performed his solo work and taught physical theatre at home and abroad in schools, workshops, and international festivals. Selected as a 2011-2012 Watson Fellow, Sam traveled the world studying the connections between puppets and people in performance.

Bobby Eyerman is a Seattle-based Hip Hop and breakdance teacher and performer who has won numerous breakdance ‘battles.’  He teaches weekly classes at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in West Seattle.

Molly Kenny is the Founder of Rubicon Dance Cardiff, South Wales. She worked for many years as Movement Specialist with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Dave-Quicksall-thumbDavid Quicksall received a BA in Theater at the University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to receive an MFA in acting at UCLA. In Seattle, David has worked in the professional theater as an actor, director, and writer for ACT, the 5th Avenue, Intiman, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company, and Book-It Repertory Theatre. This last winter, David directed his original adaptation of Frankenstein for Book-It Repertory Theatre.  He will be directing The Two Gentlemen of Verona this summer for the Seattle Shakespeare Company.  Over the last 13 years, David has worked as a teacher and artist mentor for Arts Impact, an organization that trains classroom teachers to infuse the arts into their curriculum.

GideonDr. Gideon Rappaport is an award-winning Shakespeare, literature and humanities teacher and lecturer who taught at La Jolla Country Day School  and The Bishop’s School, both in La Jolla, California). He has worked as Dramaturge for the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and California Shakespeare Festival, among other theatres, and has taught and guest-lectured at colleges and universities around the country.  He has authored several books on Shakespeare as well.

David Robinson is a painter, storyteller, and theatre artist living in Seattle, Washington. His travels and work have taken him all over the world.

Mary Rochon Eggers designed costumes for BAYFEST’s The Winter’s Tale, in La Jolla, CA. As a multi-award winning Costume Designer, Mary has focused her career on story telling through fabric, color and silhouette. She has been a visiting artist with the NW Children’s Theater in Portland, OR and many other esteemed companies like The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse and Artist’s Repertory. Mary holds an MFA in Design from the University of California, San Diego and a BFA in Fashion Design from the Art Institute, Chicago.  She also works as a Technical Apparel Designer for Hanna Andersson.

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