Summer Institute : Theater : Faculty

Courses in the Summer Institute Theater program are taught by theater professionals, actors, and specialty artists. The majority of our faculty teach in the degree programs at UArts. Our expert faculty is comprised of seasoned educators and dedicated artists who enjoy the opportunity to share their expertise and collaborate with the next generation of actors, playwrights, directors, and artists.

*Check back for updates about the 2017 Theater faculty. 

Krista Apple
2017 Coordinator
Krista is a Philadelphia-based actor, writer, and teaching artist. Regionally, she has performed at the Wilma Theater (Hamlet; Rapture, Blister, Burn; Our Class; In the Next Room – 2011 Barrymore Award, Best Supporting Actress), the Walnut Street Theatre (Other Desert Cities; Proof), the Arden, Theatre Exile, Interact, the Lantern, and the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, where she is an Artistic Associate. Film/TV credits include Political Animals, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and the_source. As a writer, she contributes to American Theatre magazine and is a former Associate Editor of the Teaching Artist Journal; she has also written and consulted for TDF, the Center for Arts Education, and the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. Krista holds a BA (Drama/English) from Kenyon College, a certificate from the British American Drama Academy, and an MFA (Acting) from Temple University. She teaches regularly with Theatre for a New Audience (NYC) and Northwestern University’ National High School Institute (NHSI/Cherubs), and has served on faculty at Muhlenberg College, Drexel University, and Temple University. She has been recognized by the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts for her work as a teacher and mentor. 

Kati Donovan 
2017 Coordinator
Kati Donovan is an educator, performer, dramaturg and published scholar. A proud graduate of San Diego State University’s MFA in Musical Theatre program, Kati is also an alumnus of Villanova University (MA in Theatre, dramaturgy focus) and the University of the Arts (BFA in Musical Theater). As a musical theater specialist, she has taught undergraduate students in a number of different academic settings, at Franklin and Marshall College, San Diego State University, and the University of the Arts. Supplementing her teaching with a strong scholarly background, Kati has presented papers at the Association of Theatre in Higher Education, American Literature Association, Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium and Music Theater Educators Alliance conferences. Her scholarship has been published in The Eugene O'Neill Review and the international journal Studies in Musical Theatre

Alex Bechtel
Alex Bechtel is an actor, writer, and musician. He earned a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Musical Theater Performance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and performs with local theater groups including 1812 Productions, the Walnut Street Theatre, and Act II Playhouse. Recent credits include This is the Week That Is, The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!, and Here's Tony. Alex is also employed as a pianist, vocal coach and teaching-artist by the University of the Arts, Walnut Street Theater, the Wilma Theatre and The Arden Theatre. 



James Ijames
James Ijames three-time Barrymore Award-winning actor and playwright. His regional theater credits include: Empty Plate at the Cafe du Grand Boeuf, James and the Giant Peach, Romeo and Juliet, Superior Donuts, The Whipping Man, Endgame, Three Sisters (Arden Theatre Company), Angels in America Part 1 and 2 (Wilma Theatre) Grey Gardens, Ruined (Philadelphia Theatre Company), PROM (New Paradise Laboratories), The Threshing Floor, The Importance of Being Earnest (Mauckingbird Theatre Company),One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,Gossamer, and Shipwrecked (People's Light and Theatre Company) Around the World in 80 Days (Delaware Theatre Company). He also appeared in The Gloucester Stage Company’s production of Ponies as Ken for which he received an Independent Reviewer’s of New England Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Play and Wild With Happy at Baltimore Center Stage in June. James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient. He also won two Barrymores for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts and Angels in America and received a 2011 James received an Independence Foundation Fellowship in Performing Arts. James' play The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington was developed at PlayPenn in 2013 and will receive a production with Flashpoint Theatre Company this June. He is a native of Bessemer City, NC. He received a BA in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and an MFA in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. James resides in South Philadelphia.