Fall Classes: Meet Three DCPA Teaching Artists

Curtiss Johns.  DCPA Education's 'Macbeth.' Photo by John Moore.
Curtiss Johns participated in a DCPA Education acting master class that culminated with a full staging of ‘Macbeth.’ Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


DCPA Education offers year-round classes for 85,000 students of all ages, from a diverse lineup of experienced educators and professional teaching artists.

This fall, DCPA Education is offering more than 40 adult classes and workshops ranging from stage accents to acting on camera to low-flying trapeze. There are business workshops available as well, including public speech (pictured below right). Classes are geared toward newcomers all the way through an acclaimed master class project for budding professionals that culminates each year in a fully produced play.

“We are so fortunate to have the faculty we have,” said DCPA Head of Acting Instruction Tim McCracken. “They are terrific individuals from this market, who are highly skilled and able to offer so much to students of all levels.”

Today, the DCPA NewsCenter is spotlighting three of those faculty members and the various classes they will be leading this fall. One is the acclaimed Christy Montour-Larson, who directed the DCPA Theatre Company’s Shadowlands, and will helm the world-premiere production of Two Degrees, opening Feb. 3.

“Our teachers have the professional experience in the industry to get you where you want to go,” said McCracken.

Registration deadlines vary by each individual class’ starting date, but most begin the week of Oct. 3. Full class descriptions and a downloadable brochure are available online here. For more information, call 303-446-4892.


“I began teaching Sunday school at age 13, and was our church choral director at 15. I toured Central and South America with our college a cappella choir, followed by a summer studying music and dance in rural Uganda and Uzbekistan. I established my own aerial dance company in 1988 and joined the Denver Center’s National Theatre Conservatory faculty as Head of Movement in 1997.
I was certified in the Skinner Releasing Technique in 1970, making me the oldest living certified teacher of this technique in the world.

  • Hometown: I grew up in rural southern Minnesota
  • Home now: Denver
  • High school: Mabel (Minn.) High School
  • College: Hamline (Minn.) with a BA in Music Performance and Composition, minoring in English Lit
  • Advanced education: University of Washington in Ethnomusicology 
  • Who was your favorite teacher? I am neither scientifically nor mathematically oriented, but Dean Wendlandt taught me high-school geometry, algebra, trigonometry, chemistry and physics in such a clear and comprehensible way. His classes may have planted the seeds that helped me sort through the potential chaos that often is “the arts.”
  • What makes you a good teacher? Possibly because my education was so multi-disciplinary. Possibly because I’ve been doing it for almost 60 years!
  • About DCPA Education: We’re always striving to focus and refine our course offerings to be relevant to actors at all levels of training.

    (with Laurence Curry)

  • Course description: I will first introduce the basics of the Skinner Releasing Technique, a form of kinesthetic training that is essentially non-intellectual, yet image-oriented. When SRT precedes monologue work, the monologues generally improve greatly. It seems less strain, fear, and ego are involved in the presentation — and more clarity, dynamics and confidence are the result.
  • Dates: Oct. 29 through Nov. 19 in the Newman Building
  • When: 1-4 p.m. Saturdays (First two Saturdays taught by Laurence Curry; second two Saturdays by Bob Davidson)
  • Your ideal student? An experienced actor who wants to improve his or her technique and process — although beginners are welcome. Each student must bring in a fully memorized monologue to present at the beginning of the Nov. 12 session, preferably classical.
  • What do you hope your students get out of it? I hope they begin to acquire a deeper sense of technical competence in their approach to acting, and that they learn there’s more than one way to say a line, and that the way we think influences what we say and do.
  • Fun fact: This is essentially process-oriented training — as opposed to product-oriented; so it is virtually impossible to fail. The by-products of this form of experimental training may be plentiful and pleasurable to behold.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated where Bob Davidson received his certification in the Skinner Releasing Technique. We regret the error.


Tia Marlier 3“Over the past 40 years, I have worked as a vocalist singing jazz, pop, rock and a cappella; as a stage actor at Arvada Center and BDT Stage; as an on-camera actor; singing coach; as a church worship leader; as a news announcer, and as a presentation-skills coach. I’m now a voiceover talent agent.”

  • Hometown: I grew up in Cleveland and Detroit
  • Home now: Littleton
  • High school: I attended the all-girls Mercy High School in Farmington Hills, Mich.
  • College: B.A. in Telecommunications from Michigan State University
  • Web site: tiamarlier.com
  • Who was your favorite teacher? Louise Scudlo, who taught a J.D. Salinger class in high school, recognized and encouraged my writing ability, and she was wildly interesting and mysterious — the epitome of eccentricity!
  • What makes you a good teacher? I am a great encourager, and I love to bring out the potential in people.
  • About DCPA Education: The DCPA provides a fun, safe environment where adults of all ages can explore their creative sides. You will learn new skills and gain insight into the performing arts, while getting to explore and grow.


  • Course description: Is your voice your favorite asset? Step up to the mic and learn the basics of the radio and television voiceover industry. Analyze and activate commercial copy, learn to take direction and increase your versatility. Learn about demos, agents, auditions and the voiceover market to get going with your career. You’ll even get to work in a professional recording studio during your final class.
  • Dates: Oct. 8-Nov. 12
  • When: First five Saturdays from 1-3:30 p.m. in the Newman Building. The final class will be held at a professional recording studio where students will experience a real voiceover recording session.
  • Your ideal student? … is interested in using their voice, and has either some acting background, or a willingness to explore acting – which is an important voiceover skill.
  • What do you hope your students get out of it? I hope my students enjoy learning how to make words on a page come alive through their voices.
  • Fun fact: It’s harder than you think to do voice over. And yet when you do it right, it’s effortless!



Christy Montour-Larson is a multiple award-winning director, recently named Top Director by Westword Magazine, 5280 Magazine and CBS4 Denver. Christy is looking forward to directing Two Degrees for the DCPA Theatre Company and Constellations at Curious Theatre, both in early 2017. She studied Meisner Technique from Bill Esper and Maggie Flanagin and has taught Acting and Directing at Metropolitan State University of Denver for more than 15 years. 

  • Hometown: Minneapolis
  • Home now: Denver
  • High school: Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope, Minn.
  • College: BFA in Theatre from the University of Minnesota-Duluth
  • Advanced education: MFA in Directing from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Jersey
  • Who was your favorite teacher? I have been blessed to have had several inspiring teachers in my life. The great ones include my high-school drama teacher Gretchen Heath, who taught me to believe in myself; and Maggie Flanagin and Amy Saltz from Rutgers, who taught me to reach for the highest artistic standards
  • What makes you a good teacher? I pride myself on creating a space where students feel safe and have permission to take risks. I strive to be demanding without being unkind. I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. 
  • About DCPA Education: The DCPA makes the whole classroom experience unforgettable and inspiring. The DCPA gives you a spark of life and equipment for living. For when you study theatre, you are crafting deeper skills in how to live more authentically — not only on stage, but off-stage as well.


  • Course description: Through the Meisner acting technique, students will discover they are never done learning the craft. Rooted in the work of master acting teacher Sanford Meisner, this class uses a series of exercises that build upon each other to create a useful set of new skills to master truthful human behavior.
  • Dates: Oct. 5-Nov. 9
  • When: 6:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesdays in the Newman Building
  • Your ideal student? Maybe someone who is beginning his or her studies as an actor.  You are passionate and hungry to find a way to use all of yourself to express those deep feelings. Maybe someone who has studied acting and has noticed there are moments when something has “clicked,” but it seems to be hit-or-miss. You wish you had something solid that you could build on and grow with. Maybe someone who has acted some but so often you feel you have lost touch with your own creative center.
  • What do you hope your students get out of it? To experience themselves as much greater and more powerful than they were previously aware. That they can be totally available and receptive to their acting partners. That they are courageous and ready to take risks.
  • Fun fact: When I first read Meisner on Acting, it changed the course of my professional life.

DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous leads a class for local business professionals. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

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