All of our acting instructors here at Vancouver Young Actors School are working professionals in their fields. They bring with them years of experience and credits that have aired on networks such as NBC, Disney, SciFi, UPN and more.
Here at Vancouver Young Actors School you can be assured that our coaches will be able to pass on real-world experience that is invaluable to any actor in training.
Paloma Kwiatkowski is a Leo Award winning Canadian actress who made her film debut as ‘Thalia Grace’ in the Percy Jackson franchise. She is known for her role as ‘Cody Brennan’ in A&E’s Bates Motel and her TV work spans a number of shows such as Debris, Supernatural, Travelers and the CBC limited series, Unspeakable. Her Film career has led her to work on projects like Riot Girls, Multiverse, Sitting on the Edge of Marlene, and a supporting role opposite Johnny Depp in The Professor. Paloma comes from an improv background, having both competed and coached teams in the Canadian Improv Games. She is thrilled to share all her combined experience and knowledge with young emerging actors.
Son of a visual artist, David Stevens and writer, Diane Stevens (née. Ried), Tom was always encouraged to nurture his creativity and began playing music and writing songs at a young age. He first began acting in high school plays and received positive responses, but succumbed to nerves before his audition to theatre school and gave up acting for several years. After a period of working jobs in the service sector, including as a janitor, Stevens felt unfulfilled and turned back to acting. He was admitted to the Theatre program at Douglas College in 2007 and graduated in 2009.
Vienna is an actor and musician from Vancouver, BC. A modern-day Renaissance woman, she's lived, worked, and trained all over the globe from Canada, the US, and the UK. After graduating from the New York Film Academy's Acting for Film program she went on to pursue a more traditional education and graduated with a degree in business administration. As a mixed-race Asian artist, she is passionate about promoting diversity, equality, and Asian culture in the arts. Vienna also teaches jiujitsu and is a certified instructor for the Gracie Women Empowered self-defence program.
Keara Barnes is a multiple award-winning actor/writer, a leo-nominated film producer and emerging director from Vancouver, B.C. She holds a BFA in Theatre from the University of Victoria and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York.
Recent film credits include DC Legends of Tomorrow, the feature films Dead to me and Stakeout, and the short films The Stepmom and Livefeed. Recent stage credits include Good night Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet (Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre), Mom’s the Word (Theatre Northwest), and Screwball Comedy (RCT Company).
Keara is also the writer and performer behind two one-woman shows, Almost a Stepmom & TravelTheatrics, which have toured across Western Canada for four years to critical acclaim, sold-out runs, and media coverage by Global TV, CBC and The Vancouver Sun.
Beverley Elliott is a multi-talented actor and singer located here in Vancouver. She has performed extensively both on-screen and off, having been a member of the British Columbia Theatre, The Arts Club Theatre Company and The Touchstone Theatre. Furthermore, her notable on-screen credits are a who's who of Vancouver productions. These include 21 Jump Street, Unforgiven, The X-Files, Highlander, The Outer Limits, The Chris Isaac Show, Psych and many more. Currently starring as Granny on ABC's Once Upon a Time, Beverley brings with her over twenty-five years of experience. As a result, students of all levels will find something new to learn in any one of Beverley's fun, exciting and informative classes.
Sean Depner has been working in the Vancouver film industry for just shy of a decade. An alumni of Vancouver Acting School’s films and voice over intensive himself, he has gone on to become a classically trained actor graduating from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) in London UK and training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) in New York US. He’s best known for his on-screen work on Riverdale and Deadly Class, and his voice over credits include Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Shaq’s Garage. Sean loves working in Vancouver and is thrilled to have the opportunity to share his enthusiasm and expertise with passionate young actors.
At the beginning of his career David cut his teeth on commercials, independents and numerous short films. One of them being 1999’s “Shoes Off” which won the Best Short Film International Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival. David continues to enjoy and contribute to the
independent film scene and in fact finds it some of his most rewarding work to date.
Over the years David has worked opposite Keanu Reeves and Jennifer
Connelly on “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, William H. Macy in the award winning film “Door to Door” and most recently with Aubrey Plaza on the reboot of “Childs Play”.
Previous television work includes “Dead Like Me”, “The L Word” “X-Files”
“Supernatural” “Fringe” and every third Movie of the Week over the past 10 years.
David has had recurring roles on “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce” “Rogue” “Motive” “Intruders” and “Dirk Gently Holistic Detective”.
Also a writer David worked on writing and helping with the creation of the web series “Parked” as well as writing a variety of short films. One of them being “Stalled” which went on to play in 23 film festivals worldwide.
He has a Leo award which he keeps next to his bed.
Named Canada’s Sweetheart by Entertainment
Tonight Canada, Meghan has worked with
comedy greats such as Eugene Levy, Colin
Mochrie, Paul Reiser, Martin Short and Ricky
Gervais. She played a pivotal role in Atom
Egoyan’s film Chloe starring Liam Neeson and
Julianne Moore and appeared alongside Daniel
Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in the romantic comedy
The F Word (What If). This winter Meghan will be
reprising her award-winning role as Jane in the
second season of the International Emmy
nominated and Canadian Screen award-winning
CBC web series How To Buy A Baby. Select
acting credits include the Netflix film Special
Correspondents, fan favourite “Beth” in Wynonna
Earp; Blue Mountain State, Lost Girl,CW’s Reign
and Guest Starring as Maya Dunning on the
Kiefer Sutherland lead series Designated
Survivor. Recently Meghan reunited with UnReal
showrunner Stacey Rukeyser to play Caroline in
the viral Netflix show Sex/Life. Meghan will be
next seen in the Super Channel movie, The Way
to The Heart for which she was nominated for
“Best Lead Actress” at the 2022 Leo Awards.
Eduard Witzke is an actor, comedian and improviser living in Vancouver. Having performed stand-up comedy in both Vancouver and Los Angeles, Ed brings with him extensive on stage and on camera credits. Ed studied improvisation at both Instant Theatre in Vancouver and The Groundlings in Los Angeles. Some of Ed's acting credits include featured rolls on Sci Fi's The Troop, and Disney Channel's What's Up Warthogs. Above all, Ed's classes are fun and high in energy, with an emphasis on natural and organic learning. Students in Ed's classes will find something new to learn in every class.
Laura is a Writer, Producer, Actor and Director. She began her professional career in the Film and TV industry almost 15 years ago as an actor and has appeared in numerous TV Shows including Eureka, Almost Human and Arrow as well as films including the indie smash hit It’s A Disaster where she worked alongside Julia Stiles and David Cross. Furthermore, Laura was nominated for a Leo Award in 2013 for her role in the web series Hitman 101. Upon moving into writing and directing, Laura’s films have been featured in prestigious festivals and events including Crazy 8’s and The Austin Film Festival. Additionally, her film Goodnight Kiss was nominated for 8 Leo Awards.
Andy Thompson (www.andythompson.ca) was born in Chilliwack, BC. After graduating from Sardis Senior Secondary School in 1987, he attended Fraser Valley College (now the University of the Fraser Valley). In 1993, he obtained his diploma in acting from Studio 58 in Vancouver.
For over two decades, Thompson has worked in film and television, with dozens of credits to his name. Notable work includes performances in Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, Guillermo del Toro’s Antlers, The Chronicles of Riddick, Supernatural, Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Riverdale, Van Helsing, The X-Files, several Hallmark movies, as well as a recurring role in Greg Daniels’ hit comedy Upload.
Thompson is also a theatre producer, director, and playwright with over a decade of experience teaching acting. He has been nominated for 18 Vancouver Jessie and Ovation theatre awards, winning three. He is the creator of several acclaimed plays, including The Zombie Syndrome theatre series.
Brittney Wilson began acting at the age of six and has built up an impressive list of credits. Starting in commercials, Brittney quickly moved on to the film and television world, landing her first speaking role in Disney's So Weird at the age of seven. She's since gone on to land leading roles in several television series,
including E4/Hulu's Gap Year, Discovery Kid's Dinosapien, Nickelodeon's Romeo!, and recurring roles on shows such as A&E's Bates Motel, the CW's Life Unexpected and DirecTV's Rogue, to name a few. In addition to her series credits, she's appeared in 30+ feature films and movies of the week and also has an impressive voiceover resumé. With 25 years of working in film as an actress under her belt, Brittney has successfully begun to expand her career as a director, writer and producer and is an important partner at Beyond Boundary Productions.
Jeff Todd is an actor, writer and voice-over artist located here in Vancouver. He is involved in numerous projects, both on-screen and off. He is a member of multiple theatre groups, for which he has been featured in several on-stage productions. Jeff trained in and graduated from the Acting for Film, Television and Voice-Over Intensive at Vancouver Acting School. As a result, he has garnered acting and voice-over credits in productions such as Rogue and Tenkai Nights. Furthermore, he was the voice of Razar, Bladvic, Crawley and Lennox, among others in Lego's animated TV Series, Legends of Chima. Above all, Jeff brings to all of his classes, a positive energy and tenacious enthusiasm that will have everyone looking at voice-over acting in a whole new way.
Shelby Wyminga was born purple due to near asphyxiation and couldn't cry for the first several moments of her life. Thankfully, she soon managed to catch her breath and hasn't shut up since. She eventually embraced the inevitable and completed her BFA in Acting through the School of the Arts, Media, and Culture at TWU where she studied Visual Art alongside her theatrical pursuits. Primarily an actor, Shelby has enjoyed the freedom to dabble in many areas of theatre creation, developing skills as a scenic painter, costume designer, and playwright.
Recent acting credits include Jo March in Little Women-audio play (Far From The Tree), Marta Reddy in Cariboo Magi (Far From The Tree), Henry and The Dauphin in Henry V (Stone's Throw), various roles in A Prayer For Owen Meany (Ensemble Theatre), Tour Guide in The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe (Pacific Theatre), Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (Shadows and Dreams), Gloria in It's A Glorious, Wonderful Life (Morrow's Lark), and various roles in Still The Kettle Sings (Plan Z Theatre).
Maria Herrera was trained at Vancouver film school, and is best known for Transplant(2022), Fatherhood (2021) & Pet Sematary (2019). She is also an accomplished voice over artist, now available on Audible “Abbee Normal Paranormal Investigations.”
Katrina Salisbury is a local voice actress, born and raised in Langley, B.C. After graduating high school, Katrina decided to pursue a career in acting. Since then, she has recurred on a number of animes, cartoons, and video games, including Tobot, Kiznaiver, Tooth and Tail, and My Little Pony.
Scott Patey is a professional actor, improvisor & host with over 15 years experience in the entertainment industry. He has amassed 60+ Film & Television credits on his acting resume appearing in TV Series such as: Netflix’s Lucifer, Amazon Prime’s Upload and Apple+’s Musical Hit Schmigadoon. As well as Feature Films like Monster Trucks and Paramount Pictures Sonic The Hedgehog & Sonic The Hedgehog 2. He’s been a professional Improvisor for over a decade and this art form has provided Scott with great opportunities like being a Guest Entertainer with Princess Cruise Lines. He has been seen on multiple stages in Canada and the United States and as a Host/MC/Improvisor he’s done events for companies such as: Plenty Of Fish, Telus, EA Games, CIBC, Flight Centre, Hermes, The Vancouver Canucks and Yelp!.
Stephanie Webster grew up in a small town in Saskatchewan where she was always characterized as the “class clown.” Making her friends, family, and teachers laugh brought her great joy and getting kicked out of class was totally worth it.
After high school she pursued Tree-planting as a means to pay for her education, and she successfully graduated with an English Literature & Arts & Culture degree from the University of Regina.
Her itch to perform kept growing and
she came to terms with her desire to be an Actor/Comedian. After the big move to Vancouver, she hasn’t looked back. Since then, she’s been training, performing, and producing. She wrote, produced, and acted in two sketches that premiered at the Just for Laugh’s Northwest Festival. She’s gone on to produce numerous theatrical and independent projects including the 2021 UBCP Awards.
She’s trained at the Groundlings in Los Angeles and performs in countless Improv shows in Vancouver. You can find her at the Improv Centre where she’s been performing weekly since 2017.
Kurt Long has made entertainment his business since attending Emerson College (1991-1995) where he majored in Mass Communications: Theater & Television Production. At Emerson, he starred in a number of EIV productions and received an EVVY award for "Undergrads," a show he conceived, wrote, and produced. After college, Kurt worked at "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” as a production/writer’s assistant. Learning from the writing staff, he wrote monologue and sketch submissions, occasionally selling jokes to Mr. Leno and starred in over 30 Tonight Show sketches While in Los Angeles, Kurt trained at the Groundling’s Theater, UCB Theatre and Improv Olympic. Working steadily for the past two decades, Kurt has glided easily from lead parts in film and television to recurring character roles, as well as hosting programs for GSN, Food Network and Fox. He has appeared in over 100 commercials that include lead roles in numerous national campaigns. Kurt appeared as “Johnny Nimbus” on Disney Channel’s “Liv & Maddie”, becoming a fan-favourite over four seasons. Soon after it’s conclusion, he and his wife and two children relocated to Vancouver, B.C., where he’s nabbed recurring roles on “Nancy Drew” (CW) and the HULU series “WOKE”. In his off-time, Kurt wrote/produced/hosted podcasts “Dudes of Future/Past” (with Joey Bragg) and “I Don’t Speak Canadian” - which documents his life as a new Canadian. He also spends time training/coaching young actors in the Vancouver area.