Jan Christensen

Jan and Gary worked together at American Theatre Arts, many years ago, and she is thrilled to be working with him again at The Playground doing what she loves best, teaching acting to teens and children.

Jan graduated with a B.A. in Theatre, specializing in Creative Drama, and is thesis short of a M.A. in Theatre, specializing in Directing Theatre For Youth, from Cal. State Northridge. While there, she directed a production of Shaw’s SAINT JOAN as a graduate project. Jan also holds a multiple subject K-8 California teaching credential. In addition to ATA, Jan studied acting at the Richard Basehart Theatre.

While a senior in college, Jan took part in a study on the effects of drama in reinforcing curriculum which lead to the creation of the Performing Arts Framework. Immediately upon graduation, Jan was asked to join CSUN’s theatre faculty teaching Creative Drama, Actors and Acting, and Speech and Drama in the Classroom and Community. She was invited to a theatre games and improvisation workshop with Viola Spolin. She also covered a sabbatical leave at Loyola Marymount University for a year teaching Creative Drama.

Jan spent 7 years with Cal. State Northridge’s acclaimed Teen-Age Drama workshop, a six week intensive theatre program teaching classes in acting, improvisation, Creative Drama, Story Theater, and Living Newspaper. She also directed 6 children’s theatre productions.

Jan’s proudest moment was being Artistic Director of the Our Gang Teen Ensemble.  The company ranged in age from 13 – 24 years. Jan taught acting section of the curriculum. Our touring company traveled to middle and high schools performing realistic improvisations based on teen issues suggested by the audience. With the Gang, Jan directed 5 productions and acted in 3.

In Northern California, Jan again sought out a theatre, Sonoma County Repertory Theatre, where she taught acting, improvisation, theatre games, and scene study. She directed 2 productions.

Family issues brought Jan back to L.A., where Jan reconnected with Gary who brought her on board to teach. She is thrilled to have found a home among such a talented group of people.

Jan sets high expectations on her students that is based in a respect for the young actor and love of the craft itself. Her method of making an extrinsic process intrinsic makes her a perfect fit for the Playground.