Staff Bios

Orion Couling

Orion Couling grew up in the historical Michigan port Saulte Ste. Marie and has dedicated himself to theater, the sword and social change since deciding to be a Jedi at age 5!  He has a degree with honors from Northern Michigan University, and as a stuntman has studied and taught stage combat in Hawaii and China.  He has worked as an educator and interpreter at Old Mill Creek, Fort Mackinaw, The Michigan Renaissance Faire, and The Tall Ship Royaliste, Red Witch, Argus and The Windy.

On the stage his favorite roles have been “Tony” in Westside Story, “Danny” in Haywire and “Booth” in Assassins. Recently you might’ve seen his work in the Red Twist production of View from a Bridge, as his fight direction “packed an impressive punch.”

He is invested in bringing theater to marginalized communities.  Orion received the Commitment to Excellence Award from Ups For Downs for his work directing children with Down Syndrome.

As a playwright and adapter, his production of Treasure Island sold out  at Lake Superior Theatre in Marquette, MI. Also his work on Spirit Ship and Haunted Harbors on the Windy broke fall box office records.  His love of researching a misty area of history and staging it for a historical society or venue brings this year’s Tall Ship Windy premier Real Pirates of the Inland Seas.

Orion  teaches studio classes in the Chicago area and fight directs with independent films, local stage productions and Tall Ships.  He is the director of a growing theater program for the Chicago homeschooling community, and  he is the Artistic Director ,Associate Teacher for Dueling Arts.

Rick Olson

Rick is thrilled to be back working with E.D.G.E. again after touring with them in the Summer of 2007. While a student at Northern Michigan University, Rick began working with children in the arts at young authors conferences and in various summer shows. After graduating, he took to the road and has performed in touring childrens’ theater at Theatre West Virginia and The Children’s Theatre of California over the course of 4 school years playing roles such as The Dragon in “the Near-Sighted Knight and the Far-Sighted Dragon”, Brutus in “That’s History!” and Tom in “Schoolhouse Rock Live 2”. While touring, Rick was fortunate enough to also teach young artists at the Theatre West Virginia Professional Training Academy where he has taught classes in Staged Combat, Advanced Acting, Intermediate Acting, and Musical Theatre. Directing credits include an all-childrens production of “The Lottery” and “Class Action.” It has been and honor and a privilege to work with the talented young artists at E.D.G.E. this year and hopes you enjoy their craft.

David Zizic

David Zizic is the new Educational Outreach Director for Oak Park Festival Theatre. Recent performing credits include: Tenor in Phantom at Theatre at the Center, Harlequin in Triumph of Love and Assistant Stage Manager in Enter the Guardsman at Illinois Theatre Center. David is a four year ensemble member with Imagination Theatre in Chicago and completed two “Theatre Therapy” sessions with the company as a teaching artist. Recent Directing and/or Musical Directing credits are: State Fair and Into the Woods at the Woodstock Opera House, Into the Woods and High School Musical and Beauty and the Beast at Virtuoso Performing Arts andYou’re a Good Man Charlie Brown with ArtCraft Theatre. David is currently Director of Music and Theatre at Virtuoso Performing Arts School in Glenview.

 

 Miquela A. Cruz 

Miq

Miquela Cruz is a native Chicagoan who has been teaching improv and directing musicals at Harand Theater Camp for over a decade and performing in the fan favorite Original Improv Gladiators for 18 seasons. She is an ensemble member with Corn Productions and A Reasonable Facsimile Theater Company (ARFTCo) as well as a pirate on the Tall Ship Windy. A writer, director and performer she believes that improvisational acting can not only improve your performances on stage but it can also improve your whole life. (Give and Take, Say Yes, Listening, etc) Her overall theatrical philosophy can be summed up in three words – “Always choose love.”

 

Gaby Labotka

Gaby7Gaby Labotka is an actor, director, storyteller, and choreographer living and working in the city of Chicago.  She has performed, played, and worked with some great Chicago storefront theatre companies including The House Theatre of Chicago, Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company, Redmoon, Collaboraction, The Living Canvas, The Unrehearsed Shakespeare Company, Wayward Productions, The Right Brain Project, Nothing Without a Company, and E.D.G.E.  Her work has been featured in Nothing Special Productions’ FIGHT NIGHTs, Abbie Hoffman Died for our Sins Festivals, and Hobo Robo V. Gaby graduated from Illinois State University with degrees in Acting and Directing and with the honor of Exceptional Merit in the Arts.  She recently attended the Pig Iron Advanced Performer Training Summer Program in Philadelphia, and is recognized as an Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors.  In her free time, Gaby likes to draw, read, craft, dance, clown-around, nerd-out, and learn new movement and stage combat styles.  Keep Smiling! https://www.facebook.com/GabyLabotka.Theatre

Lexi Saunders

LexiSaundersHeadshotLexi Saunders is an actor, director and teaching artist from Los Angeles who moved to the windy city two years ago. She was lucky to be brought into the EDGE Theatre family when she was cast as Lady MonBeth in MacSith earlier this year and has enjoyed working with EDGE since. As an actor and director, Lexi has trained and worked with Steppenwolf West, La Jolla Playhouse, Walkabout Theater Company, Pride Films and Plays, Women’s Theatre Alliance, Theatre Y, The Lost Geneva Project, and Company 157. She has held teaching assistant and actor coaching positions for elementary to college-age students at UC San Diego in Voice and Classical Text, at Camp Bravo performing arts summer camp in Acting, Movement, and Ensemble Building, at Dana Middle School Drama Department, and at the Drama Teachers Association of Southern California Theatre Festival. Lexi loved her time as a research and therapy assistant in early childhood intervention at the UCSD Autism Research Lab, studying under nationally renowned researcher Laura Shreibman. Her passion for children and philanthropy also brought her to The Make-A-Wish Foundation, where she is a volunteer, wish granter, and worked in Development & Community Partnerships. Lexi holds her B.A. in Theatre and B.S. in Behavioral Psychology from the University of California, San Diego.

 

Dawn Haley

Dawn HeadshotDawn Haley has been active in the education of children for over 10 years.  She has been homeschooling for four years.  She holds Bachelor Degrees in both Political Science and History.  She also has a Master’s Degrree in Political Science and has earned her Law Degree as well.  She believes that real education is learning to ask the right questions.

 

 

 

Meeja Hahn

Meeja Meeja Hahn joined  E.D.G.E. as a  teacher in the fall of 2015 after spending several years working with the company in both Youth Classes in 2011 and later as an actor with the professional branch of the company in 2013.  She has since done costume and makeup design for several shows in both parts of the company.  She studied Photography and FX Makeup at Marwen Art Academy for two years.  Meeja’s classes include FX Stage Makeup and Costume design. She hopes to continue to teach young actors these two fundamental design skills.  When she is not teaching she enjoys cosplaying, designing clothing, and caring for animals.

 

 

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