Artistic Staff Bios

S hakespeare OC  Team

John Walcutt has been a professional actor, director, writer and producer, since graduating with his MFA from The Professional Actor Training Program at USC. His long list of credits as an actor stretch from his very first season at SOC (then called The Grove Shakespeare Festival) in 1982, and span nearly 200 film and TV projects as well as most of America’s great regional theaters, LA, and New York. 

John received The Golden Ace Award for Director of The Best Feature Comedy for the film The Alpha Geek at The Las Vegas Film Festival, Best Director Award and Best Feature from The Indie Fest Awards for directing Termite: The Walls Have Eyes, and his feature film Nicky’s Birthday Camera (which he wrote and produced) has won dozens of film festival prizes. He produced Sex and a Girl for Lifetime TV, starring Robert Hays, Ellen Green and Danny Masterson.

John received a Screen Actors Guild Award for his ensemble acting work in Little Miss Sunshine, and is most known for films such as Titanic, Mulan, and a very long list of television roles. He is currently a Professor of Film Studies at Miracosta College in Oceanside, and is the Director of The Acting Conservatory at The Orange County School of The Arts.

He was named by The Orange County Register as ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN ARTS AND CULTURE for 2014.

John Walcutt

CEO, Artistic Producing Director

Tess Lina Murphy is an accomplished theater and film actress, working in theaters in Los Angeles, New York, and at regional theatres across the country. Internationally she had the honor of working with Sir Peter Hall and John Barton on the world premiere of Tantalus, a co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. Film and TV credits include: Danika with Marisa Tomei, How to Get Away with Murder, Revenge, House, Mental, CSI, CSI: Miami, NCIS, and Las Vegas.


She is a graduate of Juilliard, and is a teaching artist at the Orange County School of the Arts.

Tess Lina Murphy

Associate Artistic Director

Duck Soon Walcutt grew up in South Korea and lives in Garden Grove. She is a professional yoga teacher, and worked for years at Hanmi Bank. She is currently President of The Korean Social Club of Orange County, and is very active in her church, The Church of Latter-Day Saints.

Duck Soon currently teaches at the Orange County School of the Arts. 

Duck Soon Walcutt

CFO, Director of Audience Development

James Berrier is a published novelist (The Burning Lake) and English teacher, who has taught English at Vanguard University and Coastline College, and also at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove the last twenty-one years.

He earned his master’s degree in English in 1984, was a Fellow in the UCI Writing Project in 1991, and participated in the UCLA Shakespeare Symposium in 1994. He has also directed community theater and several high-school productions in Orange County. He currently resides in Mission Viejo with his lovely wife Trena and their four beautiful children.

James Berrier

Artistic Associate

Bo Foxworth’s SOC credits include MacBeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure, the title role in Hamlet, The Vagabond in 2014’s production of The Tavern, and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. He is a member of The Antaeus Theater Company, and he received an Ovation nomination for Best Lead Actor in 2013.  Bo has worked in numerous prestigious theaters in New York and regionally. Bo has numerous film and television credits, most recently as Robert McNamara in the upcoming prestige HBO biopic All the Way, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, directed by Emmy winner Jay Roach.


He is a graduate of UCLA and received his Masters at Yale School of Drama.He teaches Acting Shakespeare with the at-risk youths of Aggeler High School in Chatsworth and is an original company member of Will and Company.

Bo Foxworth

Artistic Associate

Eugene Godwin is a licensed, practicing Attorney at Law. He is a director of our board and he currently holds the corporate officer position of secretary. On our stage, he has played roles such as Governor Lamson in The Tavern, Tom Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Sir William Stanley in Richard III.

Elsewhere, he has starred in Deathtrap at the Long Beach Playhouse, and played the Future President of the United States in the audio drama The 2038 State of the Union for the podcast Earbud Theater, for which he was nominated for an Audio Verse Award.

Eugene Godwin, Esq.

Artistic Associate

Dianne Manaster attended Case Western Reserve University and Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Since arriving in Southern California, she has performed with the Pacific Symphony, Opera Pacific, Pacific Chorale, and the L.A. Philharmonic. She has had a private oboe teaching studio for over 20 years.

Dianne is an actor for Pacific Symphony’s Family Musical Mornings, and has also worked with Chance Theater, Long Beach Playhouse, and Theatricum Botanicum, becoming a company member of Theaticum Botanicumin 2010. She joined Shakespeare Orange County in 2014, appearing in The Tavern, and again in SOC’s 2015 production of Romeo & Juliet.

Dianne Manaster

Artistic Associate

Elyse Mirto is a Detroit native who has lived and worked professionally in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. She has also starred in many tv and film productions. Producing credits include the original play The King’s Speech in the West End, Becoming Dr. Ruth Off Broadway, Nat Cassidy’s The Eternal Husband NY International Fringe Fest, and the award winning short films “Solo Forever” and “What Future”.


She received her BFA from Western Michigan University, and trained at the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain and the Meisner Academy.

Elyse Mirto

Artistic Associate