Professor of Theatre Arts
Phone: (805) 565-6187
Office Location: Porter Hall 111A
Acting, Physical Theatre, Voice,
Speech, Actor Movement
Mitchell Thomas is an award-winning actor, director, and teaches acting, voice, and movement at Westmont. In addition to his work with Westmont students, he continues to act professionally on the local, national, and international stage. Recent international acting projects include Lopahkin in the Lit Moon Theatre production of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard in Bitola, Macedonia at the National Theatre of Macedonia, and as Polonius/Laertes/Gravedigger in the Lit Moon Hamlet that travelled to Macedonia and Beijing, China to appear at the National Theatre of China. Mitchell also produced and performed Wallace Shawn’s one-man show The Fever in London, England. Other recent work includes the Pulitzer-nominated one-man play, Thom Pain (based on nothing) at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art as part of their contemporary collections programming.
Recent Indy award winning local performances include Gustav in the Ensemble Theatre production of Strindberg’s Creditors and the Troll King in Lit Moon’s production of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt. Mitchell also played the title role in the world premiere of Naomi Iizuka’s Nils Holgersson and the Wild Geese with the Lit Moon Theatre Company, and was chosen to be the first-ever artist in residence with the Ensemble theatre company of Santa Barbara, where he worked as resident actor and associate producer. Other acting credits include Our Town with the Santa Barbara Theatre, The Memory of Water opposite Stephanie Zimbalist with the Ensemble Theatre Company, Othello/Measure4Measure directed by Lilia Abedjieva of the Bulgarian National Theatre, and Queen C and Richard II (Indy Award, performance) with the Lit Moon Theatre Company, and performances at South Coast Repertory Theatre, A Noise Within, the Pasadena Playhouse, Circle X, Blank Theatre Company, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Idaho Repertory Theatre, Interplayers, and PCPA Theaterfest. Mitchell is also a member of AEA (Actors Equity Association) and SAG (Screen Actors Guild), the professional performing unions for Theatre and Film/TV.
As a director, Mitchell was the winner of the 2008 Arlin G. Meyer Prize for his innovative direction of Erik Ehn’s The Saint Plays. Mitchell also received a 2013 Indy Award for his site-specific direction of Sophocles’ Electra as well as for his 2010 direction of Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano at Westmont. Mitchell specializes in devised theatre and working with playwrights to develop new work. Since 2005, Mitchell has created or commissioned over 30 original full-length and short works, including Ablaze, Big Tent Love, Rogue, The Car Play Project, The Earthquake Predictor Rides the Bus, Don’t Be Fooled by Me, Fortune’s Fool: stop the violence or I’ll kill you, Muéveme. Muévete., GLIMPSE: beyond, Celluloid and Thirsty. He was also proud to produce a co-production of Tim Crouch’s devastating play, England, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, where he has also directed and produced multiple staged readings, performances, and alternative programming.
Mitchell received his M.F.A. from the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of Washington and has taught acting workshops in Poland, Macedonia, England and the United States. He continues to actively study the art form, including a 2012 residency at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies to explore the song culture of Greek drama, and residencies with the Actor’s Center in NYC in 2008 and 2010 to work with master teachers Chris Bayes (Yale), Ron Van Lieu (Yale), and Slava Dolgachev (Moscow Art Theatre) in clowning, Commedia Dell'Arte, and the plays of Anton Chekhov. Mitchell has extensive experience in the Alexander Technique, Suzuki Training, Linklater and Fitzmaurice Voice work, Stage Combat, Viewpoints, Skinner Releasing, Low Flying Trapeze, Improvisation, and many of the more traditional acting techniques. Mitchell is grateful to call Santa Barbara home, where he lives with his wife, Sarah, and his three daughters, Madeleine, Zoe, and Gwyneth.