Professional Arts Lab University of California, Santa Barbara
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Distinguished Guest Artists and Projects

The Professional Artists Lab offers actors, directors, writers, producers and other artists opportunities to immerse themselves in creative work. Visits and residencies are conducted both on campus and off-site (e.g., in Los Angeles, New York, London, etc.), in an effort to accommodate the schedules and needs of active professionals. In addition to developing projects, during their time with the Lab many artists choose to offer performances, presentations, master classes, and/or workshops to students and the public.

The Lab is privileged to have welcomed the following Distinguished Guest Artists (in alphabetical order):

The Acting Company Acting Company members Jessica Bates, Kevin Kraft and Jamie St. Peter offered master classes at the Lab. [Lab Activities]
Actors from the London Stage (AFTLS) As Guest Artists of the Lab, British actors Andrew Dennis, Gemma Larke, George Mayfield, Paul McCleary and Julia Watson spoke to a group of 200 students about their work with the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and on London's West End, as well as in British film and TV. [Lab Activities]
Pilar Alessandra Pilar Alessandra, former Senior Story Analyst for DreamWorks, ImageMovers and Radar Pictures, gave a workshop on story analysis and script coverage.
Bruce Alexander Bruce Alexander and Jane Arden, two British actors who have worked frequently with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and on London's West End, were in residency at the Lab. [Lab Activities]
Libby Appel During her Regents Lectureship at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Libby Appel was also a Guest Artist at the Lab. [Lab Activities]
Jane Arden Jane Arden and Bruce Alexander, two British actors who have worked frequently with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and on London's West End, were in residency at the Lab. [Lab Activities]
Gareth Armstrong Gareth Armstrong, Royal Shakespeare Company alumnus and star of BBC radio, visited the Lab. [Lab Activities]
Randall Arney Randall Arney and Stephen Eich, currently Artistic and Managing Directors of the Geffen Playhouse – and previously of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company – spoke to 200 students at the Lab about their enduring artistic collaboration. [Lab Activities]
Richard Benjamin The multi-talented couple, actor/director Richard Benjamin and actor Paula Prentiss, were Guest Artists of the Lab. [Lab Activities]
Eric Bross Eric Bross and his writing partner Tom Cudworth visited the Lab to talk about their film work with Adrian Brody and others. [Lab Activities]
Arvin Brown Arvin Brown, former Artistic Director of the Tony Award-winning Long Wharf Theatre, and acclaimed director of theatre, opera, television and film, was a Guest Artist of the Lab.
Steven Cosson Steven Cosson, founding Artistic Director of the New York-based theatre company The Civilians, paid a visit to the Lab. [Lab Activities]
Cruel Clarissa This new play by Susan Roether Zsigmond went through the Lab’s development process, which consisted of a workshop and reading directed by Lab Director Nancy Kawalek at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. Radiant actor Caroline Goodall played the title role. [Lab Activities]
Creative Instructions from My Crummy Life Actor/writer Margaret Kemp took her one-woman show, Creative Instructions from My Crummy Life through a three-month development process at the Lab. The solo piece now tours throughout the U.S.
Joe Dante Director/writer/producer Joe Dante (protégé of Roger Corman and tapped by Steven Spielberg to direct Gremlins) and partner Elizabeth Stanley, producer/manager and former DGA executive, were Guest Artists of the Lab.
Caroline Devlin While at the Lab, up-and-coming British actor/director/writer Caroline Devlin offered instruction in all three of these disciplines. [Lab Activities]
Ron Dexter Award-winning commercial director Ron Dexter engaged in his favorite activity while at the Lab: cinematography. [Lab Activities]
Stephen Eich Stephen Eich and Randall Arney, currently Managing and Artistic Directors of the Geffen Playhouse – and previously of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company – spoke to 200 students at the Lab about their enduring artistic collaboration. [Lab Activities]
Claudio Fäh Claudio Fäh spoke to a packed house about being a young filmmaker in Hollywood.
Charmian Gradwell British actor Charmian Gradwell, who's played London's National Theatre and West End, visited the Lab. [Lab Activities]
D. W. Harper D. W. Harper, independent filmmaker and co-founder of CLC Films, refined his screenplay for Dreamland during a three-month residency at the Lab, before heading off to begin shooting it at the Sundance Filmmakers Lab.
Glenne Headly

Stage, film and television actor Glenne Headly, one of the original members of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, was a Guest Artist of the Lab. [Lab Activities]

Bronwen Hughes Director Bronwen Hughes visited the Lab to speak about her inspiring work on Stander, as well as her impressive commercial work. [Lab Activities]
Waris Hussein At the Lab, Emmy and BAFTA Award-winning British director and filmmaker Waris Hussein held the U.S. premiere of his inventive and bittersweet film, The Sixth Happiness. [Lab Activities]
Kathryn Ish A founding member of the legendary San Francisco improvisational troupe The Committee, film, TV and Broadway actress Kathryn Ish brought her expertise to the Lab. Kathryn returned to the Lab on several occasions to perform in Lab readings, including Splitting Infinity, Woman Sawed in Half, The Phenom, Small Town America, and the Santa Barbara Script Competition. [Lab Activities]
Yves Jacques In Los Angeles, French actor Yves Jacques offered the Lab an inside perspective of his fascinating solo performance in the far side of the moon. [Lab Activities]
Peter Judson NYU Film School graduate Peter Judson premiered a rough cut of his film, Nobody Wants Your Film, at the Lab's Emerging Filmmakers Series. The feedback he received at the Lab assisted Peter in the final editing process. [Lab Activities]
Neil Koenigsberg While at the Lab, Neil Koenigsberg spoke openly with students about his experience in producing films and managing the careers of such artists as Jeff Bridges and Ed Harris. [Lab Activities]
Paul Kurta Producer Paul Kurta and writer, director and actor Perry Lang took one of Perry's latest scripts, Woman Sawed in Half, through the development process at the Lab. [Lab Activities]
Perry Lang Writer, director and actor Perry Lang and producer Paul Kurta took one of Perry's latest scripts, Woman Sawed in Half, through the development process at the Lab. Perry also has brought several of his scripts, including One Night in Bangkok, Whiplash, and Blue Belle, through the dramaturgical process at the Lab. [Lab Activities]
Sharon Lawrence Television, stage and film actor Sharon Lawrence – the memorable Sylvia Costas from NYPD Blue – talked extensively with students at the Lab about her career. Sharon returned to the Lab in January 2007 to work with the Lab’s STAGE International Script Competition, playing the lead in a reading of the winning play, Splitting Infinity, at REDCAT in Los Angeles. [Lab Activities] [STAGE Activities]
Barbara Lebow Award-winning playwright Barbara Lebow was a Playwright-in-Residence at the Lab from 2005-2007. During that time, Barbara took her play, The Phenom, through its final stages of development and wrote and developed a new play, Plumfield, Iraq. Plumfield resulted directly out of a grant the Lab and Barbara were awarded from the the Minneapolis Playwrights’ Center's New Plays on Campus Program. [Lab Activities-The Phenom] [Lab Activities-Plumfield, Iraq]
Robert Lepage The Lab came to Los Angeles to talk with international actor, director, writer and filmmaker Robert Lepage about his creative process. [Lab Activities]
Phelim McDermott Actor, director, writer and Artistic Director of Britain's award-winning Improbable Company, Phelim McDermott, offered master classes and discussed future collaborations during his residency at the Lab. [Lab Activities]
John McNaughton John McNaughton visited the Lab to talk about his diverse film projects, as well as what it was like to direct Robert De Niro. [Lab Activities]
Paul Moriarty British stage, film and television actor Paul Moriarty visited the Lab and spoke about acting on stage vs. on film. [Lab Activities]
Ivan Passer Ivan Passer, one of the great Czech film directors associated with his country's "New Wave," was a Guest Artist of the Lab. [Lab Activities]
The Phenom Award-winning playwright Barbara Lebow took her play, The Phenom, through its final stages of development at the Lab. [Lab Activities]
Mary Kay Place As a guest of the Lab, Mary Kay Place met with a group of 150 students to talk about her work as an actor, director, and writer.
Plumfield, Iraq Award-winning playwright Barbara Lebow wrote and developed a new play, Plumfied, Iraq, at the Lab. Plumfield resulted directly out of a grant the Lab and Barbara were awarded from the Minneapolis Playwrights’ Center's New Plays on Campus Program. [Lab Activities]
Paula Prentiss The multi-talented couple, film/television/stage actor Paula Prentiss and actor/director Richard Benjamin, were Guest Artists of the Lab. [Lab Activities]
Primer Prior to its release, TH!NKFilm generously granted special permission to the Lab to screen Primer, winner of the 2004 Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize and Alfred P. Sloan Prize (for films that advance the subjects of science and technology).
Gary Ross Director/writer Gary Ross met with a group of over 200 students at the Lab to talk about his achievements in film, his training in theatre, and the importance of bringing truth and tolerance into one’s work. [Lab Activities]
Bobby Roth Director/writer Bobby Roth came to the Lab to talk about his work in television and film, as well as his passion for making meaningful independent films. [Lab Activities]
Santa Barbara Script Competition The Lab was honored to collaborate with the annual Santa Barbara Script Competition in its inaugural year. Staged readings of excerpts from its four prize-winning screenplays were performed at the Center Stage Theater by professional actors, under the direction of Lab Director Nancy Kawalek. [Lab Activities]
Fiona Shaw Brilliant, award-winning British actor Fiona Shaw offered a standing-room-only master class to Film Studies and Dramatic Arts students in a very special visit to the Lab. [Lab Activities]
Small Town America Directed by Lab Director Nancy Kawalek, veteran actors Nathan Davis, George Gaynes, William Smithers, Don Stewart, and Kathryn Ish headlined a cast of newcomers and students in a staged reading of Small Town America; the Corwin Award-winning screenplay is by Film Studies student Zachary Hart, a remarkable young writer. [Lab Activities]
SoCal Film Group Writer/directors Michael Gilvary and Marshall McAuley, producer Steve Barr, and actors David Russek and Debbie Fan - all members of the SoCal Film Group, a collective of up-and-coming filmmakers - came to the Lab to screen several short films and to talk about their creative process. [Lab Activities]
Penelope Spheeris As a Guest Artist of the Lab, director/writer/producer Penelope Spheeris spoke with students about the enormous range of her work, from films such as Wayne's World to The Decline of Western Civilization (Parts I, II, & III). [Lab Activities]
Elizabeth Stanley Producer/manager and former DGA executive Elizabeth Stanley brought her unique insider's perspective to the Lab when she and director/writer/producer Joe Dante were Guest Artists.
Shaun Toub Actor Shaun Toub visted the Lab to talk with students about his film work in Paul Haggis' Oscar-winning film Crash, as well as his television work in over 100 episodes. [Lab Activities]
Haskell Wexler Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler shot superb footage at the Lab, and enjoyed his visit so much that he wound up teaching a course in the Film Studies department just a few months later. [Lab Activities]
Woman Sawed in Half Writer, director and actor Perry Lang and producer Paul Kurta took one of Perry's latest screenplays, Woman Sawed in Half, through the development process at the Lab. [Lab Activities]
Anthony Zerbe Film, television and stage actor Anthony Zerbe is a regular guest at the Lab, where he shares his passion and artistry. [Lab Activities]
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