The Drama Studio's staff are professional artists and educators whose mission to validate the youth experience enhances every class, rehearsal and project.
Amelia Hays-Rivest, Director of Conservatory
Amelia has been an integral part of the Drama Studio since 1991. She has taught acting and movement for the Loon and Heron Theatre in Boston, Providence Hospital, the University of Hartford’s Summer Place, and the New England Dance Conservatory. She graduated from Smith College with a BA in education. She has directed In the Beginning, Beyond the Ridge and developed and directed many original productions including Sea and Sky, Kristin's Rainbow, Dream Tamer, and Katie's Campaign. At Trinity United Methodist Church, she choreographs for the Dance Choir and the annual Boar’s Head Festival.
Mat Bussler, Associate Director
Mat Bussler graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a BA in Acting and Theatre Production and studied at BADA in London. He worked as an actor, playwright, director, stage manager, and sound designer in New York City and Massachusetts. At The Drama Studio he appeared in Twelfth Night as Malvolio, Torilla Rita as Games, Antigone as King Creon, Present Company Excluded as Herr Knott, Sara Crewe as Captain Crewe, and Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom as Doug. He directed the fall touring show Watermelon Island and the Winter Shorts Not Like the Movies and Moment of Silence; He co-directed the COWFest productions The Rumor, In Prism, and Vicaries and assistant directed Hamlet. He has been teaching at the Drama Studio since 2011.
Steve Hays, Founder
Steve was Producing Director of Stage West from its inception in 1967 until 1984. He has directed Doors, Ozma of Oz, Wiley and the Hairy Man, Mother Hicks, The Secret Garden, Ordinary People, Ramona Quimby, The Birds, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Anne of Green Gables, The Italian Straw Hat, The Tempest, Very Good Eddie, and The Boy Friend for the Drama Studio. He is also a playwright and musician, with four of his plays, The Snow Queen, The Little Match Girl, Me and Ruth, and Sara Crewe having premiered at the Drama Studio.
Administrative Staff, Designers and Faculty
Doug Foresta, Faculty
Doug has taught playwriting at the Drama Studio since 2002, assisting in the development of over 30 plays by adolescents and adults. He studied writing and theatre at Gotham Writers Workshop, privately with J. Dakota Powell, and at Pulse Ensemble Theatre and Hunter College. Doug's plays have been read and produced at the Harold Clurman Theatre (NYC), Pulse Ensemble Theatre (NYC), Micheal Howard Studios (NYC) and The Drama Studio (MA). He is the 2008 recipient of an artists grant from Springfield Cultural Council and a 2009 finalist for a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship for new theatre works. He is currently completing a full length play about the plight of Jews in a small town in Roth Germany in the 1930's. He is the producer and host of a self-help show for creative people on Blog Talk Radio and is the proud father of Samuel Foresta.
Dan Morbyrne, Faculty
Dan has been teaching at The Drama Studio since 2005. He directs many of the productions, runs the touring program, provides most of the sound design and all of the fight choreography. Dan has taught theatre at numerous high schools and colleges throughout New England, and has directed with many Massachusetts-based companies as well as Off Broadway. As an actor Dan has performed in the Pioneer Valley as well as in Boston, New York, London, and Edinburgh. His directing credits at The Studio include Present Company Excluded, Tortilla Rita, The Shel Game, Blanca Flor, Anansi and the Sky God, Ascension Day, The Devil You Know, and Antigone.
Janet Richards, Registrar
Janet has been at the Drama Studio for 16 years and plays the part of Grandma to every child that walks through the door. She has worked with various companies as Office Manager and Bookkeeper, finally retiring from the Jahn Foundry in 2000 to focus on her Drama Studio involvement and living life happily.
Jane Schneeloch, Office Manager
Jane came to the Drama Studio after she retired from teaching English at East Hartford High School for 35 years. She received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English at Westfield State College. She has led writing groups for senior citizens, incarcerated women, and adolescents. Her poetry has been published in several journals, and she has written two collections: Climbing to the Moon and Turning Over Leaves. She has been a part of Doug Foresta’s playwriting classes, and her plays In Hiding and The Test were produced as part of the Drama Studio’s 2008 and 2013 Winter Shorts Festivals, respectively.