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Graduate Ensemble

Class of 2024

Josh Bates

is a Southern California native who received his BFA in Acting from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Sic ‘Em Bears. He was recently seen in CWRU/CPH’s The Liar, Everybody and Passage and has spent time working as a professional musician in the New York area. He’d like to thank his family and friends for putting up with this ridiculous life of his. Glory to God!

Madeline Calais

Born and raised in Houston, TX, Madeline received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (summa cum laude) in Acting from the University of Houston's School of Theatre & Dance. Following undergrad, Madeline performed in theatres across the country with the American Shakespeare Center's national touring troupe based out of Staunton, Virginia, for two years. Madeline had the immense pleasure of appearing in two world premieres this past summer which include 10CHILDREN’s Watching Butterflies (written by Eric Schmiedl) and Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival’s Hamlet 50/50 (adapted by Vanessa Morosco & Peter Simon Hilton). Other notable companies Madeline has worked with include the Illinois Shakespeare Festival and Red Bull Theater in New York City.

Ellen Grace Diehl

is an actor, teacher, and choreographer. Previous MFA credits: Cliton (The Liar), Love (Everybody). Other credits: Louise (Gypsy), Gigi (Gigi), Sophie (Mamma Mia), Sandy (Grease), and Ariel (The Little Mermaid). Much love always to family our wonderful cohort! @ellengracediehl

Victoria Alev Duffy

(she/her) is elated to be a part of The Tempest. A proud New Jersey native, she spent her childhood summers studying theatre at the Paper Mill Playhouse and New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Victoria received her BA from Fordham University where she performed in The Most Massive Woman Wins, Machinal, Eurydice, God of Carnage, DIMES: A New Musical, and more. Past CPH/CWRU credits include Watching Butterflies, The Liar, Everybody and Passage. Victoria has a passion for exploring theatre through a non-American lens, and has spent her past summers intensively studying devising techniques and experimental theatre in Berlin and Shakespeare in London. Thank you to Eleanor and everyone else involved with The Tempest. Instagram: @vickduff

Dylan Ireland

is 24 years old, coming from High Point, North Carolina. Ireland is excited to enter his third and final year of graduate school. Before acting, Ireland was a musician, and football player. Those communities instilled foundational qualities of self-improvement, and discipline that blend seamlessly with his new journey as an actor. Ireland has plans to move to New York City post-graduation to continue his acting career. In his spare time, he plays the saxophone and is an avid comic reader. Ireland gives glory to God, his family, and his friends both here in Cleveland and back home.

Shunté Lofton

is a graduate of the University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance and is thrilled to be on this next journey. Her previous Cleveland credits include: F (Passage), Death (Everybody), and Lucrece (The Liar). She’s had the privilege of growing up all over the world and comes to Cleveland from Houston. She is thankful to God and to her family for their continued support. A lover of the classics, she has performed her way through over half of Shakespeare’s canon. Some of her favorite credits include: Ophelia (Hamlet) and Princess of France (Love’s Labour’s Lost) with the American Shakespeare Center and Constance (King John) with Colorado Shakespeare Festival. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Gavin Michaels

is from wonderfully rainy Seattle, Washington. His stage credits include Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Orlando in As You Like It (BPA), Ferdinand in The Tempest, Hamlet in Hamlet (Kentwood Players), and Dorante in The Liar (CWRU). He has also worked with John Leguizamo at the Guthrie Theatre to workshop his new play, Our Hood, as well as play Borrachio in a workshop of Tanta Bulla, y pa que? a bilingual adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. His film credits include the school-shooter Derek in the short film Diabolos, Carl in the sci-fi drama The House, and Danny in the quirky comedy Danny Doom (Amazon Prime). He earned his undergraduate degree in Political Communication and Rhetoric from the University of Washington. When he’s not on stage you can listen to him playing his signature flavor of pop-punk/emo at local music venues or on your favorite music streaming platform. @_gavinmichaels /

Alfredo Ruiz

has CPH credits in Passage and The Liar, is from Miami, and currently a 3rd year grad actor at the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program. Alfredo recently starred in the award winning short film, ‘Til Death. He was nominated for Best Actor at the Indie Short Fest in LA. He spent the majority of his time in Miami working in immersive regional theatre and releasing critically acclaimed works of indie film. Regional credits include: 7 Deadly Sins (Miami New Drama/Winner of the Drama League Award), Wynwood Stories (Juggerknot Theatre Co.).

Class of 2026

Madalyn Baker

is an actor, illustrator, and musician originally hailing from Northern California. She earned her BA in Theatre from Fordham University, and has spent the last 9 years living and creating in New York City. In addition to being an actor, she writes music, and has her own illustrative art brand called Maddle Baddle. She draws everything from silly cartoons to her own custom deck of playing cards! To learn more about Madalyn, you can check out her work at, or @madmaddybaker.

Byron Johnson

is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the son of Trudy Johnson and the late Byron Johnson. He also has a sister named Destiny. Byron is a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, where he was a collegiate football player and team captain. He enjoys playing sports, being outside, hanging with his family and friends, along with eating good food. Byron also writes poetry in his spare time and hopes to learn the piano and guitar. His acting credits include a Guest Star Recurring Role on SHOWTIME’S American Rust, along with roles on NBC’s Young Rock, and Walker on CW.

Brendan Lowry

is originally from Colorado Springs, CO. He has just finished his BFA in Musical Theatre from Colorado Mesa University, where he had the privilege of working on his dream role and show of Floyd Collins as the titular character in his final semester there. Other credits include Sky Masterson (Guys and Dolls) and Judas Iscariot/John the Baptist (Godspell). He is ecstatic at the opportunity to join the CWRU/CPH program and looks forward to being a part of the class of 2026. He'd like to thank the village of family, friends, and teachers it took to get him to this point. @bkylowry

Christina McSheffrey

(she/her) has spent the last few years in Phoenix, Arizona, where she got her B.A. in Theatre at Grand Canyon University. She has been seen performing in companies across the state, including Southwest Shakespeare Company and Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival. Some of her favorite roles include Adriana in Comedy of Errors and Miranda in The Tempest. She also has an extensive background in improv comedy, where she trained at The Second City in Hollywood. She went back to teach improv at GCU and has taught theatre and voice at Childsplay Theater, The Phoenix Theatre Company, and Phoenix Conservatory of Music.

Calder Meis

is thrilled to be starting this new journey. REGIONAL: 35 MM: A Musical Exhibition (Ben), Grease (Sonny), Joseph...Dreamcoat (Joseph u/s). Other favorite credits include The Last Night of Ballyhoo (Peachy Weil), Abigail/1702 (John Brown), and Footloose (Ren). He received a BFA in Theatre Performance from Baylor University. He would like to thank his girlfriend, Payton, for being his rock in this life. “Cleveland, this is for you!” -LeBron James

Brianna Miller

grew up in Gilbert, Arizona but considers the Midwest a home-away-from-home. She graduated from Earlham College in 2021 with a Bachelor's in Theatre Arts. Since then she has been a part of the acting ensemble at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for their mainstage productions and outdoor tours--yes, in the height of cicada season. Some of her favorite roles include Camae in The Mountaintop (Uptown Performing Arts Center), Matt/Mr. Burns in Mr. Burns; a post-electric play(Earlham College), and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth (Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Park Tour)

Meredith Nelson

is an actor, director, and educator from Denver, Colorado. She received her undergraduate degree from The University of Evansville and is thrilled to be pursuing her master's with CWRU/Cleveland Playhouse. Some favorite roles she's played include Prospera in The Tempest, Betty 1 in Collective Rage, and Julie in Miss Julie. She and her husband are delighted to make Cleveland their new home for the next three years!

Adam Ortega

was born and raised in Plantation Florida. He went to The University of Michigan where he earned his BFA in Acting. After graduating, he lived in New York City and performed Off-Broadway in Drunk Shakespeare. He's very excited to be moving to Cleveland to pursue his master's degree with CWRU/CPH.

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